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Load Environment Variables from File in Python


In this quick tutorial we will demonstrate how to load additional environment variables from file into your python application.

It loads key value pairs from a file and append it to its current runtime environment variables, so your current environment is unaffected.


We will make use of the package python-dotenv so we will need to install the python package with pip:

python3 -m pip install python-dotenv

The env file

I will create the .env in my current working directory with the content:


The application

This is a basic demonstration of a python application which loads the additional environment variables from file, then we will use json.dumps(.., indent=2) so that we can get a pretty print of all our environment variables:

import os
import json
from dotenv import load_dotenv


print(json.dumps(dict(os.environ), indent=2))

When we run the application the output will look something like this:

  "SHELL": "/bin/bash",
  "PWD": "/home/ubuntu/env-vars",
  "LOGNAME": "ubuntu",
  "HOME": "/home/ubuntu",
  "LANG": "C.UTF-8",
  "TERM": "xterm-256color",
  "USER": "ubuntu",
  "LC_CTYPE": "C.UTF-8",
  "PATH": "/usr/local/sbin:/usr/local/bin:/usr/sbin:/usr/bin:/sbin:/bin:/usr/games:/usr/local/games:/snap/bin",
  "SSH_TTY": "/dev/pts/0",
  "OLDPWD": "/home/ubuntu",

As we can see our two environment variables was added to the environment. If you would like to access your two environment variables, we can do the following:

import os
from dotenv import load_dotenv



print('Name: {0}, Owner: {1}'.format(APPLICATION_NAME, APPLICATION_OWNER))

And when we run that, the output should be the following:

Name: foo, Owner: bar

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