How should you use Sys Module?

The sys module is a built-in module in Python that provides access to system-specific parameters and functions. It allows you to interact with the Python runtime environment and provides various utilities for system-related operations. Let’s explore the key features of the sys module along with some examples.

To begin, you need to import the sys module before using it in your Python script:

import sys

Now, let’s dive into the different functionalities and attributes provided by the sys module:

1. System-specific parameters:

The sys module provides several attributes that give you information about the Python runtime and the underlying system. Some of the commonly used attributes include:

  • sys.version: Returns the version of Python you are using.
  • sys.executable: Returns the path of the Python interpreter.
  • sys.platform: Returns the platform on which Python is running (e.g., “win32”, “linux2”, “darwin” for Windows, Linux, and macOS, respectively).
  • sys.path: A list of directories where Python looks for modules.


import sys

print("Python version:", sys.version)
print("Python interpreter path:", sys.executable)
print("Platform:", sys.platform)
print("Module search path:", sys.path)

2. Command-line arguments:

The sys.argv attribute provides access to the command-line arguments passed to your Python script. It is a list where the first element is the script name, followed by the arguments.


Consider the following script named “”:

import sys

# Accessing command-line arguments
script_name = sys.argv[0]
arg1 = sys.argv[1]
arg2 = sys.argv[2]

print("Script name:", script_name)
print("Argument 1:", arg1)
print("Argument 2:", arg2)

If you run this script from the command line like this:

python hello world

The output will be:

Script name:
Argument 1: hello
Argument 2: world

Note: Remember that sys.argv contains strings, even if the passed arguments were numbers. You may need to convert them to the appropriate data types if needed.

3. Standard I/O streams:

The sys module provides three file-like objects: sys.stdin, sys.stdout, and sys.stderr, which represent the standard input, standard output, and standard error streams, respectively.


import sys

# Reading input from the user
name = input("Enter your name: ")
print("Hello, " + name)

# Redirecting output to a file
with open("output.txt", "w") as f:
    sys.stdout = f
    print("This will be written to the file")

# Restoring the standard output
sys.stdout = sys.__stdout__
print("This will be printed to the console")

In the above example, the user is prompted to enter their name, and the output is printed to the console. Then, the output is redirected to a file named “output.txt” by assigning sys.stdout to the file object. Finally, the standard output is restored to the console.

4. System exit:

The sys.exit() function allows you to exit your Python script with a specific exit code. By convention, an exit code of 0 indicates successful termination, while a non-zero value indicates an error or abnormal termination.


import sys

answer = input("Do you want to continue? (y/n) ")

if answer.lower() == "n":
    sys.exit(0)  # Exit with a code of 0 (successful termination)

# Continue with the rest of the script

In this example, if the user enters ‘n’, the script will exit with a code of 0, indicating successful termination. If any other input is provided, the script will continue executing the remaining code.

Tips and Tricks:

Here are some additional tips and tricks when working with the sys module:

  1. Modifying the module search path: You can add additional directories to the module search path using sys.path.append(). This can be helpful if you have modules in custom locations that you want to import.python
import sys


Getting the size of an object: You can use the sys.getsizeof() function to get the size of an object in bytes. This can be useful for memory optimization and understanding the memory footprint of your code.

import sys

my_list = [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]
size = sys.getsizeof(my_list)

print("Size of my_list:", size, "bytes")


Size of my_list: 104 bytes

Flushing the output: By default, the standard output (sys.stdout) is buffered, which means the output may not be immediately displayed on the console. You can force the immediate display of output using sys.stdout.flush().

import sys
import time


time.sleep(2)  # Delay for 2 seconds



  1. Hello <2 second delay> World

These are just a few examples and tips to get you started with the sys module. It offers many more functionalities and attributes for interacting with the system and the Python runtime environment. I encourage you to explore the official Python documentation for more details: sys – System-specific parameters and functions

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