How To Use The OS Module In Python?

The os module in Python is a powerful library that provides a way to interact with the operating system.

Whether you need to manipulate file paths, execute system commands, or access environment variables, the os module offers a wide range of functions for system-related operations.

In this article, we'll explore the key features of the os module and demonstrate how to use its functions effectively.

Importing the os Module:

To get started, you need to import the os module in your Python script or interactive session.

import os

Now, let's dive into some of the most commonly used functions provided by the os module.

1. Working with File Paths:


The os.path.join() function is used to join one or more path components intelligently.

This is particularly useful for constructing file paths in a system-independent manner.

import os

path = os.path.join("folder", "subfolder", "file.txt")
print("Joined Path:", path)


The os.path.abspath() function returns the absolute version of a path. It resolves any symbolic links and returns an absolute path.

import os

relative_path = "folder/file.txt"
absolute_path = os.path.abspath(relative_path)
print("Absolute Path:", absolute_path)

2. Listing Directory Contents:


The os.listdir() function returns a list containing the names of the entries in a specified directory.

import os

directory_path = "/path/to/directory"
files = os.listdir(directory_path)

print("Files in Directory:", files)

3. File and Directory Operations:


The os.mkdir() function is used to create a new directory. It takes the directory path as an argument.

import os

new_directory = "/path/to/new_directory"
print("New Directory Created:", new_directory)

os.remove() and os.rmdir():

The os.remove() function is used to remove (delete) a file, while the os.rmdir() function is used to remove an empty directory.

import os

file_to_delete = "/path/to/file.txt"
print("File Deleted:", file_to_delete)

empty_directory_to_delete = "/path/to/empty_directory"
print("Empty Directory Deleted:", empty_directory_to_delete)

4. Executing System Commands:


The os.system() function allows you to execute shell commands. It runs the command specified as a string in a subshell.

import os

# Example: List files in the current directory using the 'ls' command on Unix-like systems

5. Environment Variables:


The os.environ dictionary provides a way to access and modify environment variables.

import os

# Get the value of the HOME environment variable
home_directory = os.environ.get("HOME")
print("Home Directory:", home_directory)


The os module in Python is a versatile tool for interacting with the operating system.

Whether you're working with file paths, directories, system commands, or environment variables, the os module provides a wide range of functions to simplify these tasks.

Familiarizing yourself with the functions mentioned in this article will empower you to navigate and manipulate the system in your Python programs.

As always, refer to the official Python documentation for a comprehensive list of functions and detailed information. Happy coding!