Python is a powerful and versatile programming language you can use for many practical programming projects easily and without spending years learning it.
This article shows you the basics of how to run a Python script and the various ways it can be done.
What is a Python Script?
A Python script is a set of instructions written in the Python programming language. Mostly, it’s stored in a file named with the file suffix
.py such as
Specifically, a Python script is a computer program that can be run on any operating system that supports Python.
Developers use Python scripts to automate tasks, such as running tests or processing data. Python scripts are also used to create programs that can be used by anyone, such as games or graphical user interfaces.
How to Run a Python Script
The first step in running a Python script is to make sure you have the correct version of Python installed on your computer. Python is available for free on the official Python website and can be downloaded for Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems.
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Once Python is installed, you can download the Python script you want to run and save it to a folder on your computer. Then, you can open a terminal window (on Windows, this is called Command Prompt) and navigate to the folder where the script is saved.
The next step is to run the script.
To do this, you must enter the command “
python [name of script]” in the terminal window.
- If the script is in the same folder as the terminal window, you can just enter the script’s name.
- If the script is in a different folder, specify the path to the script, such as “
python C:\folder[name of script]”.
Once the command is entered, the Python script will begin running. Congratulations! 🥳
Depending on the script, it may take a few seconds or a few minutes to complete. When it is finished, you should see a message indicating that the script has been completed successfully.
Other Ways to Run a Python Script
If you are using an integrated development environment (IDE) such as PyCharm or Visual Studio Code, you can also run a Python script directly from the IDE. This is often the preferred method if you are working on a project that involves multiple Python scripts.
You can also use an online Python interpreter to run Python scripts. This is a convenient way to quickly test a script without installing Python on your computer. There are several online interpreters available, such as Trinkets, Repl.it, and PyCharm.
Finally, you can also run Python scripts from the command line. This is the same as running a script from a terminal window, but it is often more convenient since you can quickly enter commands without having to navigate to the folder where the script is saved.
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For example, you can see in the following screenshot how I first typed
python to run an interactive Python session in my command line (1) and then typed import code to run a Python script named code.py that resides in the same directory
Python scripts are a powerful and versatile tool for automating tasks and processing data.
Running a Python script is a relatively straightforward process, and it can be done from a terminal window, an IDE, or an online interpreter. With a little practice, you should be able to quickly and easily run a Python script on any operating system.
To start learning Python, follow this guide and join our free email academy that keeps you sharp and skilled as a real-world coder.
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While working as a researcher in distributed systems, Dr. Christian Mayer found his love for teaching computer science students.
To help students reach higher levels of Python success, he founded the programming education website Finxter.com. He’s author of the popular programming book Python One-Liners (NoStarch 2020), coauthor of the Coffee Break Python series of self-published books, computer science enthusiast, freelancer, and owner of one of the top 10 largest Python blogs worldwide.
His passions are writing, reading, and coding. But his greatest passion is to serve aspiring coders through Finxter and help them to boost their skills. You can join his free email academy here.