via pipx

virtualenv is a CLI tool that needs a Python interpreter to run. If you already have a Python 3.5+ interpreter the best is to use pipx to install virtualenv into an isolated environment. This has the added benefit that later you’ll be able to upgrade virtualenv without affecting other parts of the system.

pipx install virtualenv
virtualenv --help

via pip

Alternatively you can install it within the global Python interpreter itself (perhaps as a user package via the --user flag). Be cautious if you are using a python install that is managed by your operating system or another package manager. pip might not coordinate with those tools, and may leave your system in an inconsistent state.

python -m pip --user install virtualenv
python -m virtualenv --help

via zipapp

You can use virtualenv without installing it too. We publish a Python zipapp, you can just download this from and invoke this package with a python interpreter:

python virtualenv.pyz --help

The root level zipapp is always the current latest release. To get the last supported zipapp against a given python minor release use the link, e.g. for the last virtualenv supporting Python 2.7 use

Python and OS Compatibility

virtualenv works with the following Python interpreter implementations:

  • CPython versions 2.7, 3.4, 3.5, 3.6, 3.7, 3.8

  • PyPy 2.7 and 3.4+.

This means virtualenv works on the latest patch version of each of these minor versions. Previous patch versions are supported on a best effort approach. virtualenv works on the following platforms:

  • Unix/Linux,

  • macOS,

  • Windows.