Including files in source distributions with MANIFEST.in

When building a source distribution for your package, by default only a minimal set of files are included. You may find yourself wanting to include extra files in the source distribution, such as an authors/contributors file, a docs/ directory, or a directory of data files used for testing purposes. There may even be extra files that you need to include; for example, if your setup.py computes your project’s long_description by reading from both a README and a changelog file, you’ll need to include both those files in the sdist so that people that build or install from the sdist get the correct results.

Adding & removing files to & from the source distribution is done by writing a MANIFEST.in file at the project root.

How files are included in an sdist

The following files are included in a source distribution by default:

  • all Python source files implied by the py_modules and packages setup() arguments

  • all C source files mentioned in the ext_modules or libraries setup() arguments

  • scripts specified by the scripts setup() argument

  • all files specified by the package_data and data_files setup() arguments

  • the file specified by the license_file option in setup.cfg (setuptools 40.8.0+)

  • all files specified by the license_files option in setup.cfg (setuptools 42.0.0+)

  • all files matching the pattern test/test*.py

  • setup.py (or whatever you called your setup script)

  • setup.cfg

  • README

  • README.txt

  • README.rst (Python 3.7+ or setuptools 0.6.27+)

  • README.md (setuptools 36.4.0+)

  • pyproject.toml (setuptools 43.0.0+)

  • MANIFEST.in

After adding the above files to the sdist, the commands in MANIFEST.in (if such a file exists) are executed in order to add and remove further files to & from the sdist. Default files can even be removed from the sdist with the appropriate MANIFEST.in command.

After processing the MANIFEST.in file, setuptools removes the build/ directory as well as any directories named RCS, CVS, or .svn from the sdist, and it adds a PKG-INFO file and an *.egg-info directory. This behavior cannot be changed with MANIFEST.in.

MANIFEST.in commands

A MANIFEST.in file consists of commands, one per line, instructing setuptools to add or remove some set of files from the sdist. The commands are:

Command

Description

include pat1 pat2 ...

Add all files matching any of the listed patterns (Files must be given as paths relative to the root of the project)

exclude pat1 pat2 ...

Remove all files matching any of the listed patterns (Files must be given as paths relative to the root of the project)

recursive-include dir-pattern pat1 pat2 ...

Add all files under directories matching dir-pattern that match any of the listed patterns

recursive-exclude dir-pattern pat1 pat2 ...

Remove all files under directories matching dir-pattern that match any of the listed patterns

global-include pat1 pat2 ...

Add all files anywhere in the source tree matching any of the listed patterns

global-exclude pat1 pat2 ...

Remove all files anywhere in the source tree matching any of the listed patterns

graft dir-pattern

Add all files under directories matching dir-pattern

prune dir-pattern

Remove all files under directories matching dir-pattern

The patterns here are glob-style patterns: * matches zero or more regular filename characters (on Unix, everything except forward slash; on Windows, everything except backslash and colon); ? matches a single regular filename character, and [chars] matches any one of the characters between the square brackets (which may contain character ranges, e.g., [a-z] or [a-fA-F0-9]). Setuptools also has undocumented support for ** matching zero or more characters including forward slash, backslash, and colon.

Directory patterns are relative to the root of the project directory; e.g., graft example* will include a directory named examples in the project root but will not include docs/examples/.

File & directory names in MANIFEST.in should be /-separated; setuptools will automatically convert the slashes to the local platform’s appropriate directory separator.

Commands are processed in the order they appear in the MANIFEST.in file. For example, given the commands:

graft tests
global-exclude *.py[cod]

the contents of the directory tree tests will first be added to the sdist, and then after that all files in the sdist with a .pyc, .pyo, or .pyd extension will be removed from the sdist. If the commands were in the opposite order, then *.pyc files etc. would be only be removed from what was already in the sdist before adding tests, and if tests happened to contain any *.pyc files, they would end up included in the sdist because the exclusion happened before they were included.