f2py import Fortran code in Python

Related: simple F2py Fortran examples

Importing Fortran code in Python just like any other Python module is very straightforward, using F2py.


On any operating system, a Fortran compiler and Numpy are required to use F2py. If you don't already have a Fortran compiler, we suggest GNU Gfortran.

  • MacOS / Linux: using Homebrew brew install gcc
  • Linux apt install gfortran or similar


Windows requires a one-time system-wide configuration to use F2py properly. Tell Python to use MinGW by creating file %USERPROFILE%\pydistutils.cfg containing:


Do this from Powershell by copy/paste this line:

echo "[build]`ncompiler=mingw32" | Out-File -Encoding ASCII ~/pydistutils.cfg
  1. install MinGW-W64 to c:\mingw with:

  2. Insert the mingw bin path to your system path permanently: Edit Environment Variables for Your Account → User variables → Path. Add the path to gfortran.exe, such as:


    You will need to manually find that directory one-time on your system. Open a new command prompt and be sure gfortran is found.


Try the lowtran7 code. Following the instructions there, you should get

  1. A lowtran7.cp37-win_amd64.pyd (on Windows) or lowtran7*.so (on Mac/Linux) file
  2. Running python DemoLowtran.py creates a plot of atmospheric loss

Lowtran output

f2py does not allow inline comments for COMMON blocks

f2py does not allow inline comments for COMMON blocks for Fortran 77 .f code. This is because f2py works more strictly to Fortran specifications than most modern compilers.

Inline comments are not Fortran 77 standard, and will make f2py throw an error.

To fix this problem, just make the inline comment a full-line command with ! in column 1.

Fortran90 .f90 files won't throw an f2py error due to inline comments on a line with a COMMON block: goodcomment.f90.

This will manifest itself two different ways, depending on whether you have implicit none or not:

COMMON inline comment error WITH implicit none

Example in badcomment_implicit.f

var2fixfortran: No typespec for argument “x ! bad for fortran77”. getctype: No C-type found in “{}", assuming void. KeyError: ‘void’

Solution: Make inline comment a full-line comment with ! in column 1.

COMMON inline comment error WITHOUT implicit none

Example in badcomment.f

error: expected ‘;’, ‘,’ or ‘)’ before ‘!’ token

Solution: Make inline comment a full-line comment with ! in column 1: goodcomment.f.

Windows troubleshooting

Another solution is to use Windows Subsystem for Linux with Anaconda Python. However, with the techniques below, I've always gotten f2py to work on Windows 7 and Windows 10.

‘f2py’ is not recognized as an internal or external command, operable program or batch file.

Ensure Numpy is installed

conda install numpy

(Windows) create a file <Anaconda Python install directory>/Scripts/f2py.bat with content

python %~dp0/f2py.py %*

Error: No module named ‘numpy.distutils._msvccompiler’ in numpy.distutils; trying from distutils

is fixed by: create file %USERPROFILE%\pydistutils.cfg containing:


error LNK2001: unresolved external symbol _gfortran_st_write error LNK2001: unresolved external symbol _gfortran_st_read

and similar errors are typically from not having told f2py to use gfortran by: create file %USERPROFILE%\pydistutils.cfg containing:


If you don't want to create %userprofile%\pydistutils.cfg as recommended above, you can instead do for each F2py package you install:

python setup.py build_ext --inplace --compiler=mingw32

If you have problems using f2py or other development work on Windows, consider Windows Subsystem for Linux, which runs at full performance within a terminal window on Windows.