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Python | __import__() function

  • Difficulty Level : Medium
  • Last Updated : 29 Oct, 2018

While writing a code, there might be a need for some specific modules. So we import those modules by using a single line code in Python.

But what if the name of the module needed is known to us only during runtime? How can we import that module? One can use the Python’s inbuilt __import__() function. It helps to import modules in runtime also.

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Syntax: __import__(name, globals, locals, fromlist, level)

name : Name of the module to be imported
globals and locals : Interpret names
formlist : Objects or submodules to be imported (as a list)
level : Specifies whether to use absolute or relative imports. Default is -1(absolute and relative).

Example #1 :

# importing numpy module
# it is equivalent to "import numpy"
np = __import__('numpy', globals(), locals(), [], 0)
# array from numpy
a = np.array([1, 2, 3])
# prints the type

Output :

<class 'numpy.ndarray'>

Example #2 :
Both the following statements has same meaning and does the same work.

# from numpy import complex as comp, array as arr
np = __import__('numpy', globals(), locals(), ['complex', 'array'], 0)
comp = np.complex
arr = np.array

Application :
__import__() is not really necessary in everyday Python programming. Its direct use is rare. But sometimes, when there is a need of importing modules during the runtime, this function comes quite handy.

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