In this article, you will learn how to create new directories (which is another name for folders) in Python.

You will also learn how to create a nested directory structure.

To work with directories in Python, you first need to include the os module in your project, which allows you to interact with your operating system.

The os module also lets you use the two methods we will cover in this article:

  • the os.mkdir() method
  • the os.makedirs() method

Let’s get into it!

How To Create A Single Directory Using The os.mkdir() Method in Python

As mentioned earlier, to work with directories in Python, you first need to include the os module.

To do so, add the following line of code to the top of your file:

import os

The code above will allow you to use the os.mkdir() method to create a new single directory.

The os.mkdir() method accepts one argument – the path for the directory.

import os

# specify the path for the directory – make sure to surround it with quotation marks
path = './projects'

# create new single directory

The code above will create a projects directory in the current working directory.

Note that the ./ stands for the current working directory. You can omit this part and only write projects when specifying the path – the result will be the same!

How to Handle Exceptions When Using the os.mkdir Method in Python

But what happens when the directory you are trying to create already exists? A FileExistsError exception is raised:

Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "", line 3, in <module>
FileExistsError: [Errno 17] File exists: './projects'

One way to handle this exception is to check if the file already exists using an if..else block:

import os

path = './projects'

# check whether directory already exists
if not os.path.exists(path):
  print("Folder %s created!" % path)
  print("Folder %s already exists" % path)

In the example above, I first checked whether the ./projects directory already exists using the os.path.exists() method.

If it does, I will get the following output instead of a FileExistsError:

Folder ./projects already exists

If the file doesn't exist, then a new projects folder gets created in the current working directory, and I get the following output:

Folder ./projects created!

Alternatively, you can use a try/except block to handle exceptions:

import os

path = './projects'

    print("Folder %s created!" % path)
except FileExistsError:
    print("Folder %s already exists" % path)

If a projects folder already exists in the current working directory, you will get the following output instead of an error message:

Folder ./projects already exists

How To Create A Directory With Subdirectories Using The os.makedirs() Method in Python

The os.mkdir() method does not let you create a subdirectory. Instead, it lets you create a single directory.

To create a nested directory structure (such as a directory inside another directory), use the os.makedirs() method.

The os.makedirs() accepts one argument – the entire folder path you want to create.

import os

# define the name of the directory with its subdirectories
path = './projects/games/game01'


In the example above, I created a projects directory in the current working directory.

Inside projects, I created another directory, games. And inside games, I created yet another directory, games01.


And there you have it! You now know how to create a single directory and a directory with subdirectories in Python.

To learn more about Python, check out freeCodeCamp's Python for beginners course.

Thanks for reading, and happy coding!