Absolute Paths with Angular and Webpack


When using Angular with TypeScript, we’re always importing files into other files. An import statement might look something like

import { Data } from '../data';

If you are very picky about style, then you might be repulsed at seeing something like the following, when you have deeply nested files

import { Data } from '../../../data';

We are not strictly tied to using this way of relative importing though. In this article, I will briefly explain how we can use absolute file paths for imports, so you that with the following file structure

    + app/
    |  |
    |  `- constants.ts
    + message/
      `- model/
          `- message.ts

in your message.ts file, you can do this

import { DEFAULT_MESSAGE } from 'src/app/constants';

which is IMO is much more preferable than doing

import { DEFAULT_MESSAGE } from '../../app/constants';

To begin, please have a look at this GitHub repo. It is basically just the project from the Angular Webapack docs, with a few modifications.

In the project, you will see the previously mentioned file structure. You may not have this same file structure in your application (for instance you may keep all your app folders inside the app directory), but hopefully after reading this article, you will be able to figure out how to adjust configurations accordingly to fit your application structure.

So to get this working there are two steps we need to take. First we need to make a simple modification to the TypeScript tsconfig.json file, and second we beed to make a small modification to the Webpack webpack.config.js file


The only thing we need to configure for TypeScript is to set the baseUrl property in the compilerOptions

"compilerOptions": {
  "baseUrl": ".",

The baseUrl property is stated in the compilerOptions to be:

Base directory to resolve non-relative module names

So if we don’t use this property, then all of our module imports will be relative. So we can only use the ./ syntax. But now we are saying that “aside from relative paths, look at the . (base) directory. So now if we use

import { DEFAULT_MESSAGE } from 'src/app/constants';

src is in the base directory, so TypeScript will be able to resolve the file using this absolute path.

Or if you wanted, you could even do

"compilerOptions": {
  "baseUrl": "./src",

This would allow you to get rid of the src from the import

import { DEFAULT_MESSAGE } from 'app/constants';


The configuration for Webpack is pretty easy also. What we want to do is modify the resolve.modules. In your project, you might just have

module.exports = {
  resolve: {
    extensions: ['.js', '.ts']

But there are other properties on the resolve that we can configure (see link below for more). For this case we just want to configure the module property to tell Webpack where else to resolve modules from besides just the node_modules

modules: [

Or if you’re going of the project, you can use the `helpers utility.

modules: [

Here we are telling Webpack to use both the root directory and the node_modules. We need to specify the node_modules since we are overriding the default.

One thing to note about the project is that is uses a config directory t store all the configuration files. This is why we need to go a level up ../ to resolve, as it’s being resolved from the location of the configuration file. If you are only using one webpack.config.js file or even multiple that are in the root directory, then we don’t need to go a level up. You can just do

modules: [


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