Installing Python

The first step into programming is to get Python installed on your computer. You will need two things

  • Python itself
  • a text editor

Which to install, depends on your operating system.

On Ubuntu Linux

By default, Python is already installed. In this tutorial however, we will use Python3 whenever possible. You can install it from a terminal window with:

sudo apt-get install python3
sudo apt-get install ipython3

To check whether everything worked, type:


As a text editor, it is fine to start with gedit. Please make sure to change tabs to spaces via Edit -> Preferences -> Editor -> tick 'Insert spaces instead of tabs'.

On Windows

A convenient way to install Python, an editor and many additional packages in one go is Anaconda, a Python distribution with many pre-installed packages for scientific applications.

After installing, you will need to launch the Spyder editor from the Start menu.

Other Python environments

  • Python 3 - the standard Python installation
  • Canopy - another Python instllation for scientific purposes.
  • Idle - a standard editor installed with Python by default.
  • Sublime Text - a very powerful text editor for all operating systems
  • Notepad++ - a powerful text editor for Windows. Please do not use the standard Notepad. It won't get you anywhere.
  • PyCharm - a professional Python development environment capable of handling large projects. You won't need most of the functionality for a long time, but it is a well-written editor.
  • vim - a console-based text editor for Unix systems. The tool of choice for many system administrators.


Question 1

Which text editors are installed on your system?

Question 2

Which Python version are you running?

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