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Installing Python and Jupyter


Previous Python Users:

If you already have Python 3.x installed on your computer, and you’re comfortable managing your installation, installing new packages, and editing files, you don’t need to install a specific version of Python or a specific IDE. Many workshops do use Jupyter Notebooks though, so you should be familiar with them (see below). See the workshop details for information on additional packages you may need.


New Python Users:

If you don’t have Python installed, follow the instructions below. The version of Python that comes pre-installed with Mac OS X or Linux is not sufficient for the workshops.


Install Python with Anaconda

Python workshops use the current version of Python (currently 3.7 or 3.8). We recommend the Anaconda distribution of Python 3. Anaconda includes Python, Jupyter Notebook, Jupyter Lab, and most of the Python packages used in our workshops. Our Python Fundamentals workshop uses Jupyter Lab, which comes with the Anaconda distribution.


If you have never installed Anaconda before, Download Anaconda for Python 3.


If you already have a different version of Python (for example, 2.7) installed with Anaconda, then installing Python 3 and making it available through Jupyter Notebooks isn’t as simple as installing a new version of Anaconda. See Adding Python 3 to Jupyter Notebook.


When installing Anaconda, you may be asked whether you want to install Visual Studio Code as well. This is up to you. We do not use it explicitly in the workshops.


Jupyter Notebooks

Many workshops use Jupyter Notebooks to run Python code. Jupyter Notebooks are files that combine code with text and code output, so they are very useful for teaching and research. If you have the Anaconda distribution of Python installed, you have both Jupyter Notebook and Jupyter Lab installed. Jupyter Lab is an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) that can open Jupyter Notebooks as well as other features. To install Jupyter separate from Anaconda, see Installing the Jupyter Software.


Jupyter Notebooks can also be opened on the Google Colab website. Colab lets you open Jupyter notebooks that are saved on your computer or straight from a GitHub site. Colab is a good option if you are having difficulty installing Python, Anaconda, or a required package on your computer.


For the Python Fundamentals workshop, you need to have Anaconda installed on your laptop, but for many of the intermediate and advanced Python workshops, you may use Google Colab.



Workshop repositories may contain additional information on packages that should be installed for the workshop. In most cases, necessary packages can be installed during the workshop. Most workshops assume you have the core set of packages installed as part of Anaconda available in your environment.