Resolve “ImportError: Attempted Relative Import with No Known Parent Package”

As a Python programmer, You might have some idea about packages and modules. In this article, We will understand the error “ImportError: attempted relative import with no known parent package” and the efficient way to resolve it

To fix “ImportError: Attempted Relative Import with No Known Parent Package,” ensure proper package structure, include files, and run as a package or use absolute imports.

What is ‘ImportError: Attempted Relative Import with No Known Parent Package’?

ImportError: attempted relative import with no known parent package error message means the Python interpreter tries to use a relative import statement but the interpreter cannot determine the parent package.

Relative imports are used to import modules or packages that are in the same package or subpackage as the current module. This helps us to organize code within a package structure and give us a better way to reference other modules or packages within the same package.

Before proceeding further, Let’s understand, What is Relative and Absolute Import in python

Absolute Imports

Let’s consider, our Python package structure below, So that it would be helpful for you to compare the examples

Python package structure

In absolute import, We refer modules or packages using the full path from the project’s root directory. It is basically to provide a complete location of the module or package that you want to import. It is mostly used when you are trying to import packages from external libraries or from different projects


import my_package.subpackage.module

Let’s compare the screenshot with the example, my_package.subpackage.module is the full path to the module you wanted to import. Basically, it is a straight forward method by providing the compare path of the package or modules

Relative Imports

Let’s use the same example screenshot shared above, to understand Relative Imports in Python

Relative import, Will refers to importing modules or packages based on their location relative to the current module. It is denoted by a dot(.) followed by a module or package name. The number of dots represents the level of the parent package.

Single (.) for the current directory and (..) is one step higher in the package hierarchy


from .subpackage import module

dot (.) signifies that the import is relative to the current package. The subpackage is a subpackage within the same package as the current module and module is the module you want to import from that subpackage.

How to Replicate the Issue

To replicate the ImportError: attempted relative import with no known parent package error, follow these steps:

ImportError: attempted relative import with no known parent package

For this example, I am using pycharm IDE, you can use the same steps for running the Python in the terminal as well

  1. Create a new directory called my_package on your pycharm IDE.
  2. Inside the my_package directory, create two files: and subpackage
  3. Open and add the following code:
from .subpackage import module
  1. Inside the subpackage directory, create a file
  2. Open and add the below code:
def say_hello():
    print("Hello from subpackage")
  1. Navigate to the my_package -> -> Run (From Pycharm IDE) – This will replicate the issue
ImportError: attempted relative import with no known parent package

How to Resolve the Issue

To resolve the ImportError: attempted relative import with no known parent package error, We can try the below methods


Create a file and add all the packages that you need to keep it as global packages, Which means, you can access any packages from any other packages


from setuptools import setup, find_packages setup(name = 'package_two', packages = find_packages())

As I am using pycharm IDE to run these examples, To create a file will be a little different

Use this link to find the step-by-step guide to creating files

Once have installed the, Your package will be available globally So that you can directly import as below

from subpackage import module
Using method

Verify the Package Structure

Make sure that your package structure is set up correctly. Each package directory should contain a file, which signifies that the directory is a Python package. Verify that the package structure looks like this:


If you are not seeing the file, You can directly create a empty file under the directories with exact same name

Check Import Statements

If you are using relative imports ensure the syntax is valid and the (.) specified properly. Also keep in mind, relative imports should only be used within packages. If you try to use them outside of a package or when running a script as a standalone module, you may encounter the “ImportError: attempted relative import with no known parent package” error.

from .subpackage import module

Execute the Script from the Correct Directory

Make sure you are running the script from the appropriate directory. Relative imports depend on the current working directory. Navigate to the parent directory of my_package and execute the script below

Execute the Script from the Correct Directory

If you are using the terminal to execute the program, Make sure to navigate to the parent package and run the Python code

Use Absolute Imports

If you are attempting to run a script as a standalone module (not as part of a package), relative imports will not work. In such cases, consider one of the following options:

  • Restructure Your Code: Modify your code to form a proper package structure. Create a file in the directory containing your script and organize your code into appropriate subdirectories.
  • Use Absolute Imports: Instead of using relative import statements, specify the full package path when importing modules or packages. For example:
from my_package.subpackage import module

By using absolute imports, you avoid the need for relative import statements altogether.

Use Absolute Imports


The ImportError: attempted relative import with no known parent package error occurs when you use a relative import statement without a well-defined parent package structure. By ensuring a proper package structure, using correct import statements, and executing the script from the correct directory, you can resolve this error and effectively utilize relative imports within your Python projects.

Good Luck with your Learning !!

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