Common Directories and File Locations

Jupyter stores different files (i.e. configuration, data, runtime) in a number of different locations. Environment variables may be set to customize for the location of each file type.

Configuration files

Config files are stored by default in the ~/.jupyter directory.


Set this environment variable to use a particular directory, other than the default, for Jupyter config files.

Besides the user config directory mentioned above, Jupyter has a search path of additional locations from which a config file will be loaded. Here’s a table of the locations to be searched, in order of preference:

Unix Windows
/usr/local/etc/jupyter/ /etc/jupyter/ %PROGRAMDATA%\jupyter\

To list the config directories currrently being used you can run the below command from the command line:

jupyter --paths

Data files

Jupyter uses a search path to find installable data files, such as kernelspecs and notebook extensions. When searching for a resource, the code will search the search path starting at the first directory until it finds where the resource is contained.

Each category of file is in a subdirectory of each directory of the search path. For example, kernel specs are in kernels subdirectories.


Set this environment variable to provide extra directories for the data search path. JUPYTER_PATH should contain a series of directories, separated by os.pathsep (; on Windows, : on Unix). Directories given in JUPYTER_PATH are searched before other locations.

Linux (& other free desktops) Mac Windows
~/.local/share/jupyter/ (respects $XDG_DATA_HOME) ~/Library/Jupyter %APPDATA%\jupyter
/usr/local/share/jupyter /usr/share/jupyter %PROGRAMDATA\jupyter

Runtime files

Things like connection files, which are only useful for the lifetime of a particular process, have a runtime directory.

On Linux and other free desktop platforms, these runtime files are stored in $XDG_RUNTIME_DIR/jupyter by default. On other platforms, it’s a runtime/ subdirectory of the user’s data directory (second row of the table above).

An environment variable may also be used to set the runtime directory.


Set this to override where Jupyter stores runtime files.


JUPYTER_CONFIG_DIR for config file location

JUPYTER_PATH for datafile directory locations

JUPYTER_RUNTIME_DIR for runtime file location

See also

The Python API to locate these directories.
The jupyter Command
Locate these directories from the command line.