I use anaconda as a way to handle virtual environments. This means I have multiple version of python installed. I experience that the wrong python version starts when I run python from the shell.


Which python
type -a python
 python is /anaconda3/envs/dash-two/bin/python
 python is /usr/bin/python

Inspired by this post I have tried hash -t python and looked at the output of alias

  • Which is the "right" and which is the "wrong" python /anaconda3/envs/dash-two/bin/python or /usr/bin/python? – Philip Couling Feb 14 '19 at 13:15
  • I want /anaconda3/envs/dash-two/bin/python – haugstve Feb 14 '19 at 22:37
  • I solved the problem: My .bash_profile script had these two lines: export PATH="$PATH:~/bin" export PATH="/opt/local/bin:/opt/local/sbin:$PATH" When calling .bash_profile more than once it would keep adding to the path. The built in terminal in VS Code copies you path and runs the the .bash_profile script so starting it has the same effect as running .bash_profile twice. The problem was that all since all lines referred to the old $PATH variable it would just keep growing. Adding this export PATH=/usr/local/bin:/usr/bin:/bin:/usr/sbin at the start solved it. – haugstve Feb 14 '19 at 23:25

This is controlled in the "PATH" environment variable.

PATH is a list of directories to search in order for the command you've typed. It's a single string seperated by colons. Eg: anything I've placed in my home directory (/home/philip/bin) will be used instead of anything in /usr/bin/ because my PATH is set to:

echo $PATH

To temporarily change your path you can set it with "export". Eg:

export PATH=/usr/local/bin:/usr/bin:/bin:/usr/games:/home/philip/bin

To set this permanently you will need to set it in your profile. This can be done by putting a line similar to the one above (with your re-ordered path) into a file in your home directory called .profile. If that doesn't exist, just created it and add the line.


It seems you want to use virtual environments but have not activated one. To do that (assuming you have the basic venv stuff installed — works better for python3)

$ mkdir pytry
$ python3 -m virtualenv pytry

Now you should have a virtual env directory in pytry. cd into pytry and you should see for example

$ ls
bin  include  lib  local  share

Now run

source bin/activate

Note run above from the virtual env directory (in our case pytry)

Now you should find that your prompt should have changed from (say) $ to (pytry) $

And which python will tell you your python executable

If you want a different executable then at the time of creation of the venv you need to run instead of

python3 -m virtualenv pytry


python3 -m virtualenv -p other_python_executable pytry

In general this will show help

$ python3 -m virtualenv -h
  • It may be that they have an activate script in their /anaconda3/envs/dash-two/bin directory? – Kusalananda Feb 14 '19 at 22:54

It looks like Anaconda is stomping on your PATH (i.e. promoting the path of its own python interpreter in front of the path to the default system interpreter). There are a couple of ways to deal with this:

  1. Create the Anaconda instance with the correct version of python:

    conda create -n myenv python=3.4
  2. Override the PATH environment variable once you've loaded the anaconda instance.

    export PATH=/usr/bin:$PATH
  3. Or place the preferred path in the first line of the script file, set the the file as executable and run it as a shell script. The first line of the script would look something like this:


    You would set the file executable with the 'chmod' command:

    > chmod 700 file.py

    Then run from the command line as:

    > file.py

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.