Python in Jupyter

From CommunityData
Revision as of 02:55, 15 January 2020 by Jtmorgan (talk | contribs)

We are going to practice writing and running Python programs (often called "scripts").


  • Download a sample notebook
  • Make sure the notebook is in your desktop (this keeps things simple)
  • Open the notebook in jupyter tab in browser.
  • Notebook itself should encourage them to run some cells.
  • Terminal navigation instructions below should be updated to work for MacOS and Windows
  • terminal navigation on Windows and terminal navigation on Mac instructions should be checked/updated, too.

Download and start your text editor


  1. Launch Anaconda Navigator
  2. Find the "VSCode" application in the Anaconda Navigator window. If it is not yet installed, click "Install" (this may take a few minutes)
  3. Launch the VSCode text editor.

Write and save a short Python script

  1. Click "New file" to start a new, blank text file.
  2. Add the following line to your new text file:
print("Hello World!")
  1. Save the script as in your Desktop directory. The .py extension indicates that this file contains Python code.

Run the script

  1. Start a new terminal prompt. See the terminal navigation on Windows or terminal navigation on Mac instructions for the steps to do this. Recall that on Windows a terminal prompt will look like C:\ and a Python prompt will look like >>>. Make sure you are at a terminal prompt and not a Python prompt; if you are at a Python prompt, you can type exit() on a line by itself and then press enter to exit Python and return to a terminal prompt.
  2. Navigate to your Desktop directory from a PowerShell terminal prompt, using the ls and cd commands. See the terminal navigation on Windows instructions for a refresher on using these commands. Don't hesitate to get help from a mentor on this step if you need it -- it's a new way of navigating around your computer, so it may be unintuitive at first!
  3. Once you are in your Desktop directory, you'll see in the output of ls.
  4. Type

and press enter. Doing this will cause Python to execute the contents of that script -- it should print "Hello World!" to the screen. What you've done here is run the Python application with an argument -- the name of a file, in this case "". Python knows that when you give it a file name as an argument, it should execute the contents of the provided file. You get the same result as if you typed

print("Hello World!")

at a Python prompt and press enter.


You created and ran your first Python script!

  • When you run the python command by itself, you start a Python prompt. You can execute Python code interactively at that prompt.
  • When you run the python command with a file name as an argument, Python executes the Python code in that file.