cannot import name force_text from django.utils.encoding – Python Error

Django is a very popular Python web framework used for developing web applications. However, while using Django you might encounter the “ImportError: cannot import name ‘force_text’ from ‘django.utils.encoding‘ ” error.

Result: Failure Exception: 
ImportError: cannot import name 'force_text' from 'django.utils.encoding'

In this article, we will discuss the possible causes of this error and also discuss different solutions to fix this error in Django.

Understand the “Cannot import name force_text from django.utils.encoding” error

This error occurs when you try to import force_text function in Django version 4. The force_text function is deprecated in Django 4.

So, when you upgrade Django to version 4 and your third-party package is still using force_text function in your code, then this import error occurs.

Reasons for “cannot import name force_text from django.utils.encoding” Django error

Here are some possible reasons that can give you the error when you upgrade your Django to version 4.

  1. Incompatibility issues between the version of Django and the third-party packages used in the project.
  2. The ‘django.utils.encoding‘ modules is not installed in your project.
  3. Conflicting versions of the same packages used in the project.

So now we know what might cause the “cannot import name force_text from django.utils.encoding” error in Django. We can try the following solutions given below to fix it.

Solution 1: Change the import statement to force_str

Since the force_text is deprecated in Django version 4, you have to use the force_str function instead of it.

So to fix the error just replace force_text with force_str within your code.

from django.utils.encoding import force_str

Note: You can check which version of Django you are using in your project by using this code:

pip show django

pip3 show django

Once you replace all the force_text with force_str you won’t see the error anymore.

Solution 2 : Update the outdated third-party packages

One of the reasons why you might encounter the “cannot import name force_text from django.utils.encoding” error is that you are using outdated third-party packages in your project.

And since many packages in Django still uses force_text function in their code, you need to upgrade the packages to be compatible with Django 4.

Some of the common packages that use the force_text function are:

  1. graphene-django
  2. django-smart-selects
  3. django-elasticsearch-dsl

To upgrade a package in python you have to use the --upgrade option along with the pip install command.

pip install graphene-django --upgrade

pip install django-smart-selects --upgrade

pip install django-elasticsearch-dsl --upgrade

If there are other packages that uses force_text, upgrade those too. Once all packages are updated, it wont show the error anymore.

Solution 3: Downgrade to Django version 3

Now, this is the last option you should choose if the above two solution does not fix the ‘cannot import force_text‘ error.

Downgrade Django to version 3 that contains force_text method in django.utils.encoding.

To downgrade your Django version , use the following command:

pip install "Django<4.0" --force-reinstall

pip3 install "Django<4.0" --force-reinstall

This command will install Django v3.2.17 which is the lower version of 4. And since the force_text is not deprecated in this version, so you won’t get any error.


In this article, we have learned how to fix the “cannot import name ‘force_text’ from ‘django.utils.encoding” error in the Python Django web framework.

This error occurs because in Django 4, the force_text function is deprecated and we have to use force_str instead of it.

We have also discussed other causes and solutions that can resolve this python error.

Hope this will help you resolve the error and help in the development of your Django web application.

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