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Hari S
Author: Hari S

If __name__ == '__main__' in Python

  • Aug. 23, 2019, 1:32 p.m.
  • 3 minutes read
If __name__ == '__main__' in Python

What does if __name__ == ‘__main__‘in python means?

In python, you must have come accross the following code :-

if __name__ == '__main__':

In this tutorial, we will learn in detail what does the above statement means. As per official documentation:

‘__main__‘ is the name of the scope in which top-level code executes. A module’s __name__ is set equal to ‘__main__‘ when read from standard input, a script, or from an interactive prompt.

It means that if any module/python file is running as the main program, it sets the special__name__ variable to have a value ‘__main__‘

Create a python file ‘’ and type the following code:-


print f'The name of module one is {__name__}' 

If you will run it. You will get the following output:-

The name of module one is __main__

However, if this module is imported in some other file or module, variable __name-- will be set as the name of the first module.

To make it clear, create another python file (module) called ‘’ and import first module in it:-


import module_one

Since, we have imported module_one in, when we will run the second module, it will execute the first module and we will get the following output on running

The name of module one is module_one

Since, now we are directly running, Python will set it’s __name__ as ‘__main__‘


import module_one

print f'The name of module two is {__name__}' 

Output of this module will be:-

The name of module one is module_one
The name of module two is __main__

Hence if __name__ == ‘__main__‘ checks whether the file is being run directly or it has been imported into some other file. The following example will make it more clear:-


print "This will always be printed"

if __name__ == "__main__": 
    print "Module one has been run directly"
    print "Module one has been imported"
# Output
This will always be printed
Module one has been run directly

Now if we just import module_one in and run it, we will get the following output.

import module_one
# Output
This will always be printed
Module one has been imported

We use this if we want to make a certain function run, when a module is run directly and some other function to run if it is imported.

If you have any query, please feel free to ask in comment section.

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