From what directory can you activate a virtual environment?

I have a venv folder in ~/Desktop/Directory/venv.
I use the command source venv/bin/activate to activate the environment.
I can activate the environment from ~/Desktop/Directory and from ~/ but I cannot activate it from Desktop.
I am confused as to where I can activate the environment from.

If the virtualenv is in ~/Desktop/Directory/venv, you can activate it from anywhere, you just have to provide the full path to the activate script in your call to source

For example, running:

source ~/Desktop/Directory/venv/bin/activate

Will likely work from anywhere since it provides the full path to activate

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This is not a question about Python nor virtual environments; it is a question about the command line, paths and the current working directory.

I can activate the environment from ~/Desktop/Directory

Yes, because when that is the current working directory, there is a venv folder in that directory, which contains a bin folder, which contains an activate script; thus the relative path venv/bin/activate means that script.

but I cannot activate it from Desktop.

Yes, because there is not a venv folder in that directory (i.e. on your desktop), so the relative path venv/bin/activate is not valid here. From here, the relative path to the previously mentioned activate script would be Directory/venv/bin/activate.

and from ~/

This tells us that there is a venv folder directly in your home directory - in other words, a separate venv folder (meaning, a separate virtual environment) from the one that is in ~/Desktop/Directory/venv. Using the command source venv/bin/activate while in that directory, will activate that virtual environment.

Alternately, you can use an absolute path to anywhere in the file system. In the Linux shell, ~ will automatically expand into an absolute path to the home directory (typically something like /home/your_user_name), so a command like source ~/Desktop/Directory/venv/bin/activate will run the script located at /home/your_user_name/Desktop/Directory/venv/bin/activate (modified as appropriate to how your system is actually configured). This way will not care what the current working directory is.

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Thanks for the detailed explanation, I never understood relative vs absolute paths.