ModuleNotFoundError: No module named 'nltk' in Python

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Borislav Hadzhiev

Last updated: Apr 20, 2022

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ModuleNotFoundError: No module named 'nltk' in Python #

The Python "ModuleNotFoundError: No module named 'nltk'" occurs when we forget to install the nltk module before importing it or install it in an incorrect environment. To solve the error, install the module by running the pip install nltk command.

no module named nltk

Open your terminal in your project's root directory and install the nltk module.

shell
# 👇️ in a virtual environment or using Python 2 pip install nltk # 👇️ for python 3 (could also be pip3.10 depending on your version) pip3 install nltk # 👇️ if you get permissions error sudo pip3 install nltk # 👇️ if you don't have pip in your PATH environment variable python -m pip install nltk # 👇️ for python 3 (could also be pip3.10 depending on your version) python3 -m pip install nltk # 👇️ for Anaconda conda install -c anaconda nltk

After you install the nltk package, try importing it like:

main.py
import nltk print(nltk.__version__) nltk.download() sentence = """At eight o'clock on Thursday morning Arthur didn't feel very good.""" tokens = nltk.word_tokenize(sentence) print(tokens)

The Python error "ModuleNotFoundError: No module named 'nltk'" occurs for multiple reasons:

  1. Not having the nltk package installed by running pip install nltk.
  2. Installing the package in a different Python version than the one you're using.
  3. Installing the package globally and not in your virtual environment.
  4. Your IDE running an incorrect version of Python.
  5. Naming your module nltk.py which would shadow the official module.
  6. Declaring a variable named nltk which would shadow the imported variable.

If the error persists, get your Python version and make sure you are installing the package using the correct Python version.

shell
python --version

get python version

For example, my Python version is 3.10.4, so I would install the nltk package with pip3.10 install nltk.

shell
pip3.10 install nltk # 👇️ if you get permissions error use pip3 (NOT pip3.X) sudo pip3 install nltk

Notice that the version number corresponds to the version of pip I'm using.

If the PATH for pip is not set up on your machine, replace pip with python3 -m pip:

shell
# 👇️ make sure to use your version of Python, e.g. 3.10 python3 -m pip install nltk

If the "No module named 'nltk'" error persists, try restarting your IDE and development server / script.

You can check if you have the nltk package installed by running the pip show nltk command.

shell
# 👇️ check if you have nltk installed pip3 show nltk # 👇️ if you don't have pip setup in PATH python3 -m pip show nltk

The pip show nltk command will either state that the package is not installed or show a bunch of information about the package, including the location where the package is installed.

If the package is not installed, make sure your IDE is using the correct version of Python.

If you have multiple Python versions installed on your machine, you might have installed the nltk package using the incorrect version or your IDE might be setup to use a different version.

For example, In VSCode, you can press CTRL + Shift + P or ( + Shift + P on Mac) to open the command palette.

Then type "Python select interpreter" in the field.

python select interpreter

Then select the correct python version from the drop down menu.

select correct python version

Your IDE should be using the same version of Python (including the virtual environment) that you are using to install packages from your terminal.

If you are using a virtual environment, make sure you are installing nltk in your virtual environment and not globally.

You can try creating a virtual environment if you don't already have one.

shell
# 👇️ use correct version of Python when creating VENV python3 -m venv venv # 👇️ activate on Unix or MacOS source venv/bin/activate # 👇️ activate on Windows (cmd.exe) venv\Scripts\activate.bat # 👇️ activate on Windows (PowerShell) venv\Scripts\Activate.ps1 # 👇️ install nltk in virtual environment pip install nltk

Your virtual environment will use the version of Python that was used to create it.

If the error persists, make sure you haven't named a module in your project as nltk.py because that would shadow the original nltk module.

You also shouldn't be declaring a variable named nltk as that would also shadow the original module.

If the error is not resolved, try to uninstall the nltk package and then install it.

shell
# 👇️ check if you have nltk installed pip3 show nltk # 👇️ if you don't have pip setup in PATH python3 -m pip show nltk # 👇️ uninstall nltk pip3 uninstall nltk # 👇️ if you don't have pip setup in PATH python3 -m pip uninstall nltk # 👇️ install nltk pip3 install nltk # 👇️ if you don't have pip setup in PATH python3 -m pip install nltk

Try restarting your IDE and development server / script.

You can also try to upgrade the version of the nltk package.

shell
pip3 install nltk --upgrade # 👇️ if you don't have pip setup in PATH python3 -m pip install nltk --upgrade
If the error persists, I would suggest watching a quick video on how to use Virtual environments in Python.

This one is for using using virtual environments (VENV) on Windows:

This one is for using using virtual environments (VENV) on MacOS and Linux:

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