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New Project#

To start with, create a new project with pdm init:

mkdir my-project && cd my-project
pdm init

You will need to answer a few questions, to help PDM to create a pyproject.toml file for you. For more usages of pdm init, please read Create your project from a template.

Choose a Python interpreter#

At first, you need to choose a Python interpreter from a list of Python versions installed on your machine. The interpreter path will be stored in .pdm-python and used by subsequent commands. You can also change it later with pdm use.

Alternatively, you can specify the Python interpreter path via PDM_PYTHON environment variable. When it is set, the path saved in .pdm-python will be ignored.

Install Python interpreters with PDM#

Added in version 2.13.0

PDM supports installing additional Python interpreters from @indygreg's python-build-standalone with the pdm python install command. For example, to install CPython 3.9.8:

pdm python install 3.9.8

You can view all available Python versions with pdm python install --list.

This will install the Python interpreter into the location specified by python.install_root configuration.

List the currently installed Python interpreters:

pdm python list

Remove an installed Python interpreter:

pdm python remove 3.9.8

Share installations with Rye

PDM installs Python interpreters using the same source as Rye. If you are using Rye at the same time, you can point the python.install_root to the same directory as Rye to share the Python interpreters:

pdm config python.install_root ~/.rye/py

Afterwards you can manage the installations using either rye toolchain or pdm python.

Virtualenv or not#

After you select the Python interpreter, PDM will ask you whether you want to create a virtual environment for the project. If you choose yes, PDM will create a virtual environment in the project root directory, and use it as the Python interpreter for the project.

If the selected Python interpreter is in a virtual environment, PDM will use it as the project environment and install dependencies into it. Otherwise, __pypackages__ will be created in the project root and dependencies will be installed into it.

For the difference between these two approaches, please refer to the corresponding sections in the docs:

Library or Application#

A library and an application differ in many ways. In short, a library is a package that is intended to be installed and used by other projects. In most cases it also needs to be uploaded to PyPI. An application, on the other hand, is one that is directly facing end users and may need to be deployed into some production environments.

In PDM, if you choose to create a library, PDM will add a name, version field to the pyproject.toml file, as well as a [build-system] table for the build backend, which is only useful if your project needs to be built and distributed. So you need to manually add these fields to pyproject.toml if you want to change the project from an application to a library. Also, a library project will be installed into the environment when you run pdm install or pdm sync, unless --no-self is specified.

Set requires-python value#

You need to set an appropriate requires-python value for your project. This is an important property that affects how dependencies are resolved. Basically, each package's requires-python must cover the project's requires-python range. For example, consider the following setup:

  • Project: requires-python = ">=3.9"
  • Package foo: requires-python = ">=3.7,<3.11"

Resolving the dependencies will cause a ResolutionImpossible:

Unable to find a resolution because the following dependencies don't work
on all Python versions defined by the project's `requires-python`

Because the dependency's requires-python is >=3.7,<3.11, it doesn't cover the project's requires-python range of >=3.9. In other words, the project promises to work on Python 3.9, 3.10, 3.11 (and so on), but the dependency doesn't support Python 3.11 (or any higher). Since PDM creates a cross-platform lockfile that should work on all Python versions within the requires-python range, it can't find a valid resolution. To fix this, you need add a maximum version to requires-python, like >=3.9,<3.11.

The value of requires-python is a version specifier as defined in PEP 440. Here are some examples:

requires-python Meaning
>=3.7 Python 3.7 and above
>=3.7,<3.11 Python 3.7, 3.8, 3.9 and 3.10
>=3.6,!=3.8.*,!=3.9.* Python 3.6 and above, except 3.8 and 3.9

Working with older Python versions#

Although PDM run on Python 3.8 and above, you can still have lower Python versions for your working project. But remember, if your project is a library, which needs to be built, published or installed, you make sure the PEP 517 build backend being used supports the lowest Python version you need. For instance, the default backend pdm-backend only works on Python 3.7+, so if you run pdm build on a project with Python 3.6, you will get an error. Most modern build backends have dropped the support for Python 3.6 and lower, so it is highly recommended to upgrade the Python version to 3.7+. Here are the supported Python range for some commonly used build backends, we only list those that support PEP 621 since otherwise PDM can't work with them.

Backend Supported Python Support PEP 621
pdm-backend >=3.7 Yes
setuptools>=60 >=3.7 Experimental
hatchling >=3.7 Yes
flit-core>=3.4 >=3.6 Yes
flit-core>=3.2,<3.4 >=3.4 Yes

Note that if your project is an application (i.e. without the name metadata), the above limitation of backends does not apply. Therefore, if you don't need a build backend you can use any Python version >=2.7.

Import the project from other package managers#

If you are already using other package manager tools like Pipenv or Poetry, it is easy to migrate to PDM. PDM provides import command so that you don't have to initialize the project manually, it now supports:

  1. Pipenv's Pipfile
  2. Poetry's section in pyproject.toml
  3. Flit's section in pyproject.toml
  4. requirements.txt format used by pip
  5. setuptools requires setuptools to be installed in the project environment. You can do this by configuring venv.with_pip to true for venv and pdm add setuptools for __pypackages__)

Also, when you are executing pdm init or pdm install, PDM can auto-detect possible files to import if your PDM project has not been initialized yet.


Converting a will execute the file with the project interpreter. Make sure setuptools is installed with the interpreter and the is trusted.

Working with version control#

You must commit the pyproject.toml file. You should commit the pdm.lock and pdm.toml file. Do not commit the .pdm-python file.

The pyproject.toml file must be committed as it contains the project's build metadata and dependencies needed for PDM. It is also commonly used by other python tools for configuration. Read more about the pyproject.toml file at Pip documentation.

You should be committing the pdm.lock file, by doing so you ensure that all installers are using the same versions of dependencies. To learn how to update dependencies see update existing dependencies.

pdm.toml contains some project-wide configuration and it may be useful to commit it for sharing.

.pdm-python stores the Python path used by the current project and doesn't need to be shared.

Show the current Python environment#

$ pdm info
PDM version:
Python Interpreter:
  /opt/homebrew/opt/[email protected]/bin/python3.9 (3.9)
Project Root:
Project Packages:

# Show environment info
$ pdm info --env
  "implementation_name": "cpython",
  "implementation_version": "3.8.0",
  "os_name": "nt",
  "platform_machine": "AMD64",
  "platform_release": "10",
  "platform_system": "Windows",
  "platform_version": "10.0.18362",
  "python_full_version": "3.8.0",
  "platform_python_implementation": "CPython",
  "python_version": "3.8",
  "sys_platform": "win32"

This command is useful for checking which mode is being used by the project:

Now, you have set up a new PDM project and get a pyproject.toml file. Refer to metadata section about how to write pyproject.toml properly.