Error: Can’t find python executable “Python”, you can set the PYTHON env variable

An intriguing puzzle that could come up for you is the enigmatic message “Error: Can’t find python executable “Python”, you can set the PYTHON env variable; you can set the Python environment (env) variable.” This seemingly insignificant hiccup could throw off your workflow, leaving you perplexed and searching for answers. 

Along this path, we shall discuss this blunder, explore its complexity, understand its causes, and acquire information that will help in unraveling this puzzle.

What is “Error: Can’t find python executable “Python”, you can set the PYTHON env variable”?

Usually, this error happens as a result of an unsuccessful search for a Python interpreter in the System’s PATH by calling Python script or another executing tool. Such an error indicates that it cannot find the Python executable in the path, a system variable indicating where the operating System looks for the execution points. 

In encountering “Error: Can’t find python executable “Python”, you can set the PYTHON env variable,” the System is indirectly saying, “I am unable to identify this vital tool that you require, and so your task cannot proceed,” halting the execution process.

Example for Error: Can’t find python executable “Python”, you can set the PYTHON env variable:

Let’s illustrate this Error: Can’t find python executable “Python”, you can set the PYTHON env variable with a scenario where a Python script named ‘’ is being executed:

#Attempting to run the Python script

This seemingly innocuous command, an attempt to execute the ‘’ script, might unexpectedly unleash the ominous message: “Error: Can’t find python executable “Python”, you can set the PYTHON env variable”

The unassuming nature of the command masks the underlying complexity, revealing a common hurdle in the Python execution journey.

Why does this Error: Can’t find python executable “Python”, you can set the PYTHON env variable occur?

The “Error: Can’t find python executable “Python”, you can set the PYTHON env variable, is multi-faceted and makes matters even more complicated than they already are in software development.

Absence of Python Installation

The fundamental trigger for the “Error: Absence of Python in the system leads to can’t find Python executable ‘python.” The System has no Python interpreter, which forms the basis for carrying out any script required to run.

Multiple Python Versions in the Mix

Complexity is added to Python’s version problem by creating and maintaining multiple Python versions on a system. This confusion may trap the System into discovering which Python executable to employ, resulting in such an error.

Uncertainty without Explicit Python Executable Specifications

The problem deepens as well because of omitting the explicit specifies of the Python executable file in the command or scripts. The additional difficulty in the smooth running of the System comes from this ambiguity regarding which Python version is under consideration.

How do you resolve this Error: Can’t Find Python Executable’ Python'”?

Install Python

The foundational step is to ensure Python is installed on your system. Head to the official Python website, select the appropriate version, and follow the installation instructions. This lays the groundwork for a functional Python environment.

Specify Python Version

In cases where multiple Python versions coexist on your System, avoid ambiguity by explicitly specifying the desired version.

Specifying Python version

It is also essential to be precise in cases where more than one Python version exists in your System. Use python3 in place of ‘python’ as per your requirements.

Sometimes this error can also be resolved by downgrading the Python version to lower than Python version 3 like Python version 2.7. You can use the following code to downgrade the Python version.

#This code will show the current Python version
python --version

#Install the required Python version and provide path to the environment
virtualenv \path\to\env -p \path\to\python_install.exe

#Activate the environment

Set Python Environment Variable

Set the Python environment to guide your System to the right Python executable. This is important if you have a non-traditional directory where Python was installed. 

export PATH=/path/to/your/python:$PATH

Therefore, edit the shell profile file (for instance, .bashrc or .zshrc) and add the path to the Python executable.

Check System PATH

Confirm that your System’s PATH includes the directory containing the Python executable.

export PATH=/path/to/your/python:$PATH

Modify the PATH variable in your shell profile file to ensure the seamless discovery of the Python executable.

Check Script or Tool Requirements

Examine the specific requirements of your Python script or tool. Consult the documentation to identify any additional configurations or dependencies needed for a successful execution. Some scripts may require certain environment variables or specific module installations.


Why am I getting this error even though Python is installed?

One possible reason could be that the PATH for executing Python has not been created or is located elsewhere. Ensure that the ‘python’ directory is part of the PATH.

I have multiple Python versions installed; how do I specify which one to use?

Make sure you indicate which Python version you will use in your command. For instance, one should write ‘python3’ rather than ‘python’ since they aim to utilize Python 3.

Can I set the Python environment variable permanently?

You can definitely add the export command to your shell profile file (e.g., .bashrc or .zshrc) To make the change persistent across sessions.


In the intricate tapestry of Python development, the Error: Can’t Find Python Executable’ python’ can cause trouble. It is necessary to realize that the problem lies in not knowing where it came from and how to make it behave. Use them as weapons while tackling these troubleshooting waters, and let your Python scripts run without errors since that time.


  2. .bashrc
  3. .zshrc

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