How to include package data with setuptools/distutils?

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Question :

How to include package data with setuptools/distutils?

When using setuptools, I can not get the installer to pull in any package_data files. Everything I’ve read says that the following is the correct way to do it. Can someone please advise?

      'myapp': ['data/*.txt'],

where myapp/data/ is the location of the data files.

Asked By: cmcginty


Answer #1:

I realize that this is an old question, but for people finding their way here via Google: package_data is a low-down, dirty lie. It is only used when building binary packages (python bdist ...) but not when building source packages (python sdist ...). This is, of course, ridiculous — one would expect that building a source distribution would result in a collection of files that could be sent to someone else to built the binary distribution.

In any case, using will work both for binary and for source distributions.

Answered By: larsks

Answer #2:

I just had this same issue. The solution, was simply to remove include_package_data=True.

After reading here, I realized that include_package_data aims to include files from version control, as opposed to merely “include package data” as the name implies. From the docs:

The data files [of include_package_data] must be under CVS or Subversion control

If you want finer-grained control over what files are included (for example, if
you have documentation files in your package directories and want to exclude
them from installation), then you can also use the package_data keyword.

Taking that argument out fixed it, which is coincidentally why it also worked when you switched to distutils, since it doesn’t take that argument.

Answered By: Joe

Answer #3:

Following @Joe ‘s recommendation to remove the include_package_data=True line also worked for me.

To elaborate a bit more, I have no file. I use Git and not CVS.

Repository takes this kind of shape:

    - .git/
    - myproject
        - some_mod
        - config
            - other_settings.special
            - cool.huh
            - other_settings.xml
        - words

from setuptools import setup, find_packages
import os.path

setup (
    version = "4.19",
    packages = find_packages(),  
    # package_dir={'mypkg': 'src/mypkg'},  # didnt use this.
    package_data = {
        # If any package contains *.txt or *.rst files, include them:
        '': ['*.txt', '*.xml', '*.special', '*.huh'],

    # Oddly enough, include_package_data=True prevented package_data from working.
    # include_package_data=True, # Commented out.
#               ('bitmaps', ['bm/b1.gif', 'bm/b2.gif']),
        ('/opt/local/myproject/etc', ['myproject/config/', 'myproject/config/other_settings.special']),
        ('/opt/local/myproject/etc', [os.path.join('myproject/config', 'cool.huh')]),
        ('/opt/local/myproject/etc', [os.path.join('myproject/config', 'other_settings.xml')]),
        ('/opt/local/myproject/data', [os.path.join('myproject/words', 'word_set.txt')]),

    install_requires=[ 'jsonschema',
        'logging', ],

     entry_points = {
        'console_scripts': [
            # Blah...
        ], },

I run python sdist for a source distrib (haven’t tried binary).

And when inside of a brand new virtual environment, I have a myproject-4.19.tar.gz, file,
and I use

(venv) pip install ~/myproject-4.19.tar.gz

And other than everything getting installed to my virtual environment’s site-packages, those special data files get installed to /opt/local/myproject/data and /opt/local/myproject/etc.

Answered By: HeyWatchThis

Answer #4:

include_package_data=True worked for me.

If you use git, remember to include setuptools-git in install_requires. Far less boring than having a Manifest or including all path in package_data ( in my case it’s a django app with all kind of statics )

( pasted the comment I made, as k3-rnc mentioned it’s actually helpful as is )

Answered By: vincent

Answer #5:

Update: This answer is old and the information is no longer valid. All configs should use import setuptools. I’ve added a more complete answer at

I solved this by switching to distutils. Looks like distribute is deprecated and/or broken.

from distutils.core import setup

      'myapp': ['data/*.txt'],
Answered By: cmcginty

Answer #6:

I had the same problem for a couple of days but even this thread wasn’t able to help me as everything was confusing. So I did my research and found the following solution:

Basically in this case, you should do:

from setuptools import setup

   package_dir={'myapp':'myapp'}, # the one line where all the magic happens
      'myapp': ['data/*.txt'],

The full other stackoverflow answer here

Answered By: moctarjallo

Answer #7:

Ancient question and yet… package management of python really leaves a lot to be desired. So I had the use case of installing using pip locally to a specified directory and was surprised both package_data and data_files paths did not work out. I was not keen on adding yet another file to the repo so I ended up leveraging data_files and option –install-data; something like this

pip install . --install-option="--install-data=$PWD/package" -t package  
Answered By: Mat Baker

Answer #8:

Moving the folder containing the package data into to module folder solved the problem for me.

See this question: ignored on “python install” – no data files installed?

Answered By: exhuma

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