Virtualfish comes in-built with a number of plugins.

You can use them by passing their names in as arguments to the virtualfish loader in your, e.g.:

eval (python -m virtualfish auto_activation global_requirements)

Virtualenvwrapper Compatibility Aliases (compat_aliases)

This plugin provides some global commands to make virtualfish behave more like Doug Hellman’s virtualenvwrapper.


  • workon <envname> = vf activate <envname>
  • deactivate = vf deactivate
  • mkvirtualenv [<options>] <envname> = vf new [<options>] <envname>
  • mktmpenv [<options>] = vf tmp [<options>]
  • rmvirtualenv = vf rm <envname>
  • lsvirtualenv = vf ls
  • cdvirtualenv = vf cd
  • cdsitepackages = vf cdpackages
  • add2virtualenv = vf addpath
  • allvirtualenv = vf all
  • setvirtualenvproject = vf connect

Auto-activation (auto_activation)

With this plugin enabled, virtualfish can automatically activate a virtualenv when you are in a certain directory. To configure it to do so, change to the directory, activate the desired virtualenv, and run vf connect.

This will save the name of the virtualenv to the file .venv. Virtualfish will then look for this file every time you cd into the directory (or pushd, or anything else that modifies $PWD).


When this plugin is enabled, ensure any modifications to your $PATH in your happen before virtualfish is loaded.


  • vf connect - Connect the current virtualenv to the current directory, so that it is activated automatically as soon as you enter it (and deactivated as soon as you leave).

Configuration Variables

  • VIRTUALFISH_ACTIVATION_FILE (default: .venv) - the name of the file virtualfish will use for the auto-activation feature. Earlier versions of virtualfish used .vfenv.

State Variables

  • VF_AUTO_ACTIVATED - If the currently-activated virtualenv was activated automatically, set to the directory that triggered the activation. Otherwise unset.

Global Requirements (global_requirements)

Keeps a global requirements.txt file that is applied to every existing and new virtualenv.


  • vf requirements - Edit the global requirements file in your $EDITOR. Applies the requirements to all virtualenvs on exit.

Projects (projects)

This plugin adds project management capabilities, including automatic directory switching upon virtual environment activation. Typically a project directory contains files — such as source code managed by a version control system — that are often stored separately from the virtual environment.

The following example will create a new project, with a matching virtual environment, both named YourProject:

vf project YourProject

The above command performs the following tasks:

  1. creates new empty project directory in PROJECT_HOME (if there is no existing YourProject directory within) and changes the current working directory to it
  2. creates new virtual environment named YourProject and activates it

To work on an existing project, use the vf workon <name> command to activate the specified virtual environment and change the current working directory to the project of the same name. For cases in which the project name differs from the target virtualenv name, you can manually specify which virtualenv should be activated for a given project by creating a .venv file inside the project root containing the name of the corresponding virtualenv.


  • vf project <name> - Create a new project and matching virtual environment with the specified name. This name must be the last parameter (i.e., after -p python3 or any other arguments destined for the virtualenv command). If VIRTUALFISH_COMPAT_ALIASES is set, mkproject is aliased to this command.
  • vf workon <name> - Search for a project and/or virtualenv matching the specified name. If found, this activates the appropriate virtualenv and switches to the respective project directory. If VIRTUALFISH_COMPAT_ALIASES is set, workon is aliased to this command.
  • vf lsprojects - List projects available in $PROJECT_HOME (see below)
  • vf cdproject - Search for a project matching the name of the currently activated virtualenv. If found, this switches to the respective project directory. If VIRTUALFISH_COMPAT_ALIASES is set, cdproject is aliased to this command.

Configuration Variables

  • PROJECT_HOME (default: ~/projects/) - Where to create new projects and where to look for existing projects.