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 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). If you already have a different version of Python (for example, 2.7) installed with Anaconda, then installing Python 3.7 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. If you have another version of Python installed, but don’t have Anaconda installed, you can follow the instructions below.

We recommend the Anaconda distribution of Python, as it comes with Jupyter Notebooks and many commonly used packages needed in the workshops. Download Anaconda for Python 3.7. The introductory Python workshop uses both the Spyder IDE and Jupyter Notebooks that come with the Anaconda distribution.

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 Notebook

Many workshops use Jupyter Notebooks to run code. If you used the Anaconda distribution of Python, you have Jupyter Notebooks installed. Except for introductory workshops, we assume you know how to use them. See this list of Jupyter Notebook resources for an overview.

To install Jupyter Notebooks separate from Anaconda, see Installing the Jupyter Notebook.

Backup Option: Google Colaboratory

Instead of installing Python on your laptop, Google Colaboratory lets you create and run Jupyter-like Python notebooks online. You can save notebooks to Google Drive and open Jupyter notebooks from Google Drive. See an overview of the system for more details.

This is recommended only as a backup if you’re unable to successfully install Python on your laptop. For the Intro to Programming with Python workshop, you need to have Anaconda installed on your laptop.


The Anaconda distribution of Python come with the Spyder IDE (Integrated Development Environment) for writing scripts and running code. When we explicitly teach an IDE (beginner workshops), we use Spyder. In other workshops, you’re welcome to use any IDE or text editor you’re familiar with. Some of use use PyCharm which has a free community edition.


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.