How to fix Python ImportError in PyCharm

An annoying error and how to get rid of it

ImportErrors can be among the most annoying in python for beginners as they can be notoriously difficult to debug. This is in particular the case since many such errors are not a problem with your code, but with your IDE settings. In this article we look at some ImportError problems in Python and how to fix them. I am using PyCharm for this, but similar solution strategies should apply to other IDE (such as VS Code,…) as well.

The Problem

If you have ever gotten this response from your code, you know how annoying it can be:

ImportError: No module named xyz found

This can happen both for python libaries that you want to use (like pandas) or local modules that you are trying to import. Moreover, the problem can either be in your python code or in your IDE. Lets see both cases.

Python reasons for this problem

Libaries not working

First make sure that the python interpreter for the project is the one that you intended to use. In the lower right corner of your PyCharm it should list the interpreter. You can also go File » Settings » Project Interpreter. From there you can also use the GUI to install packages directly.

Local modules not found

It can also happen

IDE reasons for this problem

I had even stranger case where:

from folder1.folder2.folder3.my_python_file import this_function  # worked
from folder1.folder2.folder3.my_python_file import that_function  # didn't work

What helps in this case is to repair the IDE. In PyCharm click File » Repair IDE and follow the steps there. This will lead to a rebuild of the python index which should help PyCharm to see the respective files.

Jannic Alexander Cutura
Jannic Alexander Cutura
Software ∪ Data Engineer

My interests include distributed computing and cloud as well as financial stability and regulation.