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Python – Copy Directory Structure Without Files

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  • Last Updated : 27 Dec, 2021
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In this article, we will discuss how to copy the directory structure with files using Python. For example, consider this directory tree:

We have a folder named “base” and inside have we have one folder named “Structure”. “Structure” has some folders inside which also contain some files. Now we have to copy all the folders of “Structure” to a folder named “copied_structure” such that files are not copied.

In this article, we will discuss various ways to do it.

  • Using shutil.copytree()
  • Using os.walk()

Method 1: Using shutil.copytree()

Using the shutil.copytree() method of shutil library we can achieve this task. shutil.copytree() method recursively copies an entire directory tree rooted at source (src) to the destination directory. The destination directory, named by (dst) must not already exist. It will be created during copying. It takes an optional argument which is “ignore”.  If “ignore” is given, it must be a callable that will receive as its arguments the directory being visited by copytree(), and a list of its contents, as returned by os.listdir(). For better understanding let’s implement this method by writing code.
The code to copy only directory structure of “Structure” without file to “copied_structure” will be:


# importing the shutil module
import shutil
# importing the os module
import os
# defining the function to ignore the files
# if present in any folder
def ignore_files(dir, files):
    return [f for f in files if os.path.isfile(os.path.join(dir, f))]
# calling the shutil.copytree() method and
# passing the src,dst,and ignore parameter

After running above the code we will find that a new folder named “copied_structure” is made which contains the same folder structure as the “Structure” folder but does not have any file present in the “Structure” folder.

Method 2: Using os.walk()

We can also achieve the above task by using the os.walk() method of os module. We will do this by walking to every directory of the source directory and getting the folder names and their relative path from the source directory and then by this relative path, we will make a copy of them in the destination directory using os.mkdir(). The code for this implementation is: 


# importing the os module
import os
# defining a function for the task
def create_dirtree_without_files(src, dst):
      # getting the absolute path of the source
    # directory
    src = os.path.abspath(src)
    # making a variable having the index till which
    # src string has directory and a path separator
    src_prefix = len(src) + len(os.path.sep)
    # making the destination directory
    # doing os walk in source directory
    for root, dirs, files in os.walk(src):
        for dirname in dirs:
            # here dst has destination directory,
            # root[src_prefix:] gives us relative
            # path from source directory
            # and dirname has folder names
            dirpath = os.path.join(dst, root[src_prefix:], dirname)
            # making the path which we made by
            # joining all of the above three
# calling the above function

After running this code we will find that a folder named “copied_structure” is made which has the same directory structure as “Structure” but has no file in it. 


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