A common error you may encounter when using Python is modulenotfounderror: no module named ‘tensorflow’. This error occurs when Python cannot detect the Tensorflow library in your current environment. This tutorial goes through the exact steps to troubleshoot this error for the Windows, Mac and Linux operating systems.

ModuleNotFoundError: no module named ‘tensorflow’

What is ModuleNotFoundError?

The ModuleNotFoundError occurs when the module you want to use is not present in your Python environment. There are several causes of the modulenotfounderror:

The module’s name is incorrect, in which case you have to check the name of the module you tried to import. Let’s try to import the re module with a double e to see what happens:

import ree
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
ModuleNotFoundError                       Traceback (most recent call last)
1 import ree

ModuleNotFoundError: No module named 'ree'

To solve this error, ensure the module name is correct. Let’s look at the revised code:

import re

print(re.__version__)
2.2.1

You may want to import a local module file, but the module is not in the same directory. Let’s look at an example package with a script and a local module to import. Let’s look at the following steps to perform from your terminal:

mkdir example_package

cd example_package

mkdir folder_1

cd folder_1

vi module.py

Note that we use Vim to create the module.py file in this example. You can use your preferred file editor, such as Emacs or Atom. In module.py, we will import the re module and define a simple function that prints the re version:

import re

def print_re_version():

    print(re.__version__)

Close the module.py, then complete the following commands from your terminal:

cd ../

vi script.py

Inside script.py, we will try to import the module we created.

import module

if __name__ == '__main__':

    mod.print_re_version()

Let’s run python script.py from the terminal to see what happens:

Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "script.py", line 1, in module
    import module
ModuleNotFoundError: No module named 'module'

To solve this error, we need to point to the correct path to module.py, which is inside folder_1. Let’s look at the revised code:

import folder_1.module as mod

if __name__ == '__main__':

    mod.print_re_version()

When we run python script.py, we will get the following result:

2.2.1

Lastly, you can encounter the modulenotfounderror when you import a module that is not present in your Python environment.

What is Tensorflow?

Tensorflow is an open-source library for machine learning and deep learning, written in C++, Python, and CUDA. Tensorflow does not come automatically with Python. The easiest way to install Tensorflow is to use the package manager for Python called pip. The following installation instructions are for the major Python version 3 and the latest version of Tensorflow, Tensorflow 2.

How to Install Tensorflow on Windows Operating System

To install Tensorflow 2 on Windows, you need Python version 3.7+ and Windows 7 or later.

You need to download and install Python on your PC. Ensure you select the install launcher for all users and Add Python to PATH checkboxes. The latter ensures the interpreter is in the execution path. Pip is automatically on Windows for Python versions 2.7.9+ and 3.4+.

You can install pip on Windows by downloading the installation package, opening the command line and launching the installer. You can install pip via the CMD prompt by running the following command.

python get-pip.py

You may need to run the command prompt as administrator. Check whether the installation has been successful by typing:

pip --version

To install TensorFlow with pip, run the following command from the command prompt:

# Requires the latest pip
pip3 install --upgrade pip

# Current stable release for CPU and GPU
pip3 install tensorflow

How to Install Tensorflow on Mac Operating System

Open a terminal by pressing command (⌘) + Space Bar to open the Spotlight search. Type in terminal and press enter.

To get pip, first ensure you have installed Python3. You can install Python3 by using the Homebrew package manager:

/usr/bin/ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Homebrew/install/master/install)"

export PATH="/usr/local/opt/python/libexec/bin:$PATH"

# if you are on macOS 10.12 (Sierra) use `export PATH="/usr/local/bin:/usr/local/sbin:$PATH"`

brew update

brew install python  # Python 3

You can check your Python version with the following command:

python3 --version
Python 3.8.8

Download pip by running the following curl command:

curl https://bootstrap.pypa.io/get-pip.py -o get-pip.py

The curl command allows you to specify a direct download link, and using the -o option sets the name of the downloaded file.

Install pip by running:

python3 get-pip.py

From the terminal, use the pip3 command to install TensorFlow:

# Requires the latest pip
pip3 install --upgrade pip

# Current stable release for CPU and GPU
pip3 install tensorflow

How to Install Tensorflow on Linux Operating Systems

All major Linux distributions have Python installed by default. However, you will need to install pip. You can install pip from the terminal, but the installation instructions depend on the Linux distribution you are using. You will need root privileges to install pip. Open a terminal and use the commands relevant to your Linux distribution to install pip.

Installing pip for Ubuntu, Debian, and Linux Mint

sudo apt install python-pip3

Installing pip for CentOS 8 (and newer), Fedora, and Red Hat

sudo dnf install python-pip3

Installing pip for CentOS 6 and 7, and older versions of Red Hat

sudo yum install epel-release

sudo yum install python-pip3

Installing pip for Arch Linux and Manjaro

sudo pacman -S python-pip

Installing pip for OpenSUSE

sudo zypper python3-pip

Once you have installed pip, you can install TensorFlow using:

# Requires the latest pip
pip3 install --upgrade pip

# Current stable release for CPU and GPU
pip3 install tensorflow

Check Tensorflow Version

Once you have successfully installed TensorFlow, you can use two methods to check the version of TensorFlow. First, you can use pip from your terminal:

pip show tensorflow
Name: tensorflow
Version: 2.3.1
Summary: TensorFlow is an open source machine learning framework for everyone.
Home-page: https://www.tensorflow.org/
Author: Google Inc.
Author-email: [email protected]
License: Apache 2.0
Location: /Users/Yusufu.Shehu/opt/anaconda3/lib/python3.8/site-packages
Requires: opt-einsum, absl-py, google-pasta, gast, tensorflow-estimator, grpcio, keras-preprocessing, h5py, termcolor, numpy, astunparse, protobuf, wheel, wrapt, tensorboard, six
Required-by: 

Second, within your python program, you can import TensorFlow and reference and then __version__ attribute:

import tensorflow as tf

print(tf.__version__)
2.3.1

Installing Tensorflow Using Anaconda

Anaconda is a distribution of Python and R for scientific computing and data science. You can install Anaconda by going to the installation instructions, and Anaconda provides a complete list of packages available in the distribution across all operating systems. The following operating system versions support TensorFlow with the Anaconda distribution:

  • 64-bit Windows 7 or later,
  • 64-bit Ubuntu Linux 14.04 or later,
  • 64-bit CentOS Linux 6 or later,
  • macOS 10.10 or later.

To install TensorFlow in your conda virtual environment, follow these steps

  1. Download and install Anaconda or the smaller Miniconda
  2. On Windows open the Start menu and open an Anaconda Command Prompt. On macOS or Linux open a terminal window. Use the default bash shell on macOS or Linux.
  3. Choose a name for your TensorFlow environment, such as “tf”.
  4. You can either install the CPU-only release of TensorFlow with the following commands
conda create -n tf tensorflow

conda activate tf

Or install the GPU release of TensorFlow on Linux or Windows

conda create -n tf-gpu tensorflow-gpu

conda activate tf-gpu

You may want the nightly build of TensorFlow. However, the nightly builds are unstable and typically for advanced users. You can install nightly builds using pip:

pip install tf-nightly

Summary

Congratulations on reading to the end of this tutorial. The modulenotfounderror occurs if you misspell the module name, incorrectly point to the module path or do not have the module installed in your Python environment. If you do not have the module installed in your Python environment, you can use pip to install the package. You must ensure you have pip installed on your system. You can also install Tensorflow on Anaconda.

For further reading on installing data science and machine learning libraries, you can go to the articles:

Go to the online courses page on Python to learn more about Python for data science and machine learning.

Have fun and happy researching!