Python Programming: How to Create Directories that Don’t Exist

Creating directories in Python is a straightforward process, especially when they don’t exist. It involves using built-in modules to check for the existence of a directory and then creating it if necessary. Let’s dive in on how to do just that!

Python Programming: Creating Directories When They Don’t Exist Tutorial

Before we jump into the nitty-gritty, it’s important to understand that we’ll be using Python’s os module to handle directory operations. By following these steps, you’ll be able to check for a directory’s existence and create it if it’s not already there.

Step 1: Import the os module

The first thing you need to do is import the os module.

Importing the os module gives you access to operating system-dependent functionality. This includes functions for creating and removing a directory (or directories), fetching its contents, changing and identifying the current directory, etc.

Step 2: Define the directory path

Next, define the path of the directory you want to create.

It’s important to define the directory path correctly. You could use an absolute path that specifies the entire path or a relative path that specifies the directory in relation to the current directory.

Step 3: Check if the directory exists

Using the os.path.exists() method, check if the directory already exists.

If the directory exists, the method will return True; otherwise, it will return False. This step prevents you from trying to create a directory that’s already there, which could cause an error in your program.

Step 4: Create the directory if it doesn’t exist

If the directory doesn’t exist, use the os.makedirs() method to create it.

The os.makedirs() method will create the directory at the specified path. It also allows you to set the mode of the new directory. If you don’t specify any mode, the default mode is used.

After you have followed these steps, the new directory will be created in the specified path if it wasn’t already there. This is a useful operation when you’re working with file systems and need to ensure the proper file structure for your project.

Tips for Python Programming: Creating Directories

  • Always use exception handling when creating directories to handle potential errors.
  • Use the os.path.isdir() method to check if the path is an existing directory as opposed to any kind of file.
  • When using os.makedirs(), you can set the exist_ok parameter to True to prevent an error if the directory already exists.
  • Be mindful of user permissions when creating directories, especially in a multi-user environment.
  • Keep your directory paths in variables for easy reuse and better readability of your code.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between os.mkdir() and os.makedirs()?

os.mkdir() is used to create a single directory, while os.makedirs() can be used to create multiple directories (a directory tree) at once.

Do I need to import any module to work with directories in Python?

Yes, you need to import the os module to work with directories in Python.

Can I create a directory with specific permissions?

Yes, you can set the permissions for the new directory by using the mode parameter in os.makedirs().

What happens if I try to create a directory that already exists?

If you try to create a directory that already exists without setting the exist_ok parameter to True, Python will raise a FileExistsError.

Is it possible to create a directory in a different drive or partition?

Yes, as long as you have the correct path and the necessary permissions, you can create directories in any accessible drive or partition.


  1. Import the os module
  2. Define the directory path
  3. Check if the directory exists
  4. Create the directory if it doesn’t exist


In conclusion, creating directories that don’t exist in Python is a common task that can be accomplished with a few lines of code. By using the os module and its functions, you can easily check for a directory’s existence and create it if needed. Remember to handle exceptions and permissions correctly to avoid running into errors. Whether you’re organizing files, setting up new project structures, or simply ensuring your data is neatly stored, mastering directory creation in Python is a valuable skill. Keep experimenting with the code, and don’t hesitate to explore the extensive Python documentation for more in-depth knowledge on the os module and its capabilities.