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Settings Files

Optionally you can store settings in files, dynaconf supports multiple file formats, you are recommended to choose one format but you can also use mixed settings formats across your application.


You are not required to use settings files, if not specified dynaconf can load your data only from environment variables

Supported formats

  • .toml - Default and recommended file format.
  • .yaml|.yml - Recommended for Django applications (see YAML Caveats).
  • .json - Useful to reuse existing or exported settings.
  • .ini - Useful to reuse legacy settings.
  • .py - Not Recommended but supported for backwards compatibility.
  • .env - Useful to automate the loading of environment variables.


Create your settings in the desired format and specify it on settings_files argument on your dynaconf instance or pass it in -f <format> if using dynaconf init command.


Can't find the file format you need for your settings? You can create your custom loader and read any data source. read more on extending dynaconf


To use the .ini or .properties file format you need to install an extra dependency pip install configobj or pip install dynaconf[ini]

Reading settings from files

On files by default dynaconf loads all the existing keys and sections as first level settings.

name = "Bruno"
name: Bruno
{"name": "Bruno"}
name = 'Bruno'
NAME = "Bruno"

⚠️ on .py files dynaconf only read UPPERCASE variables.

Then on your application code: == "Bruno"


The default encoding when loading the settings files is utf-8 and it can be customized via encoding parameter.

Loading setting files

Dynaconf will start looking for each file defined in settings_files from the folder where your entry point python file is located (like Then, it will look at each parent down to the root of the system. For each visited folder, it will also try looking inside a /config folder.

  • If you define root_path, it will look start looking from there, instead. Keep in mind that root_path is relative to cwd, which is from where the python interpreter was called.
  • Absolute paths are recognized and dynaconf will attempt to load them directly.
  • For each file specified in settings_files dynaconf will also try to load an optional name.local.extension. Eg, settings_file="settings.toml" will look for settings.local.toml too.
  • Globs are accepted.

Define it in your settings instance or export the corresponding envvars.

# default
settings = Dynaconf(settings_files=["settings.toml", "*.yaml"])

# using root_path
settings = Dynaconf(
    settings_files=["settings.toml", "*.yaml"]
export ROOT_PATH_FOR_DYNACONF='my/project/root'
export SETTINGS_FILES_FOR_DYNACONF='["settings.toml", "*.yaml"]'


To use python -m module, where the module uses dynaconf you will need to specify your settings.toml path, for example, like this: settings_file="module/config/settings.toml".

Includes and Preloads

If you need, you can specify files to be loaded before or after the settings_files using the options preload and includes. Their loading strategy is more strict, and will use root_path as the basepath for the relative paths provided. If root_path is not defined, includes will also try using the last found settings directory as the basepath.

They can be defined in the Dynaconf instance or in a file:

# in Dynaconf instance
settings = Dynaconf(
    includes=["path/to/file.toml", "or/a/glob/*.yaml"],
    preload=["path/to/file.toml", "or/a/glob/*.yaml"])


# in toml file
dynaconf_include = ["path/to/file.toml"]
key = value
anotherkey = value

Layered environments on files

It is also possible to make dynaconf read the files separated by layered environments so each section or first level key is loaded as a distinct environment.

settings = Dynaconf(environments=True)
name = ""
name = "developer"
name = "admin"
    name: ''
    name: developer
    name: admin
    "default": {
        "name": ""
    "development": {
        "name": "developer"
    "production": {
        "name": "admin"
name = ""
name = "developer"
name = "admin"


You can define a custom environment using the name you want, like [testing] or [anything]

[default] and [global] are the only environments that are special.

Then in your program, you can use environment variables to switch environments.

export ENV_FOR_DYNACONF=development == "developer"

export ENV_FOR_DYNACONF=production == "admin"


On Flask and Django extensions the default behaviour is already the layered environments. Also to switch the environment you use export FLASK_ENV=production or export DJANGO_ENV=production respectively.


It is also possible to switch environments programmatically passing env="development" to Dynaconf class on instantiation.

YAML Caveats


Yaml parser used by dynaconf (ruamel.yaml) reads undefined values as None so

key: ~
key: null

All those 3 keys will be parsed as python's None object.

When using a validator to set a default value for those values you might want to use one of:

Validator("key", default="thing", apply_default_on_none=True)

This way dynaconf will consider the default value even if the setting is None on yaml.

or on yaml you can set the value to @empty

key: "@empty"

NEW in 3.1.9