Python with Spyder setup instructions

ONLY do this if you're on your own machine, not on the lab machines! (It's already been done on the lab machines.)

Installing Python on your machine: Anaconda Python 3

While some sort of an editor is used for writing Python programs, all programs must be run (or "executed") by the computer. In order for the computer to be able to understand what your written code means, it needs to be able to understand the Python language.

In this class, we will be using Python 3, specifically the Anaconda distribution of Python 3.6.

To install it on your computer:

  • Go to

  • Choose whichever of Mac or Windows you have (or Linux if applicable)

  • Click the download button for the Graphical Installer for Python 3.6 version. (The Graphical Installer and the Command-Line installer install exactly the same thing, but the Graphical Installer is much easier to use.)

  • Open the downloaded file, and click Agree/Continue to do the install

    • Note: If you see a checkbox in the install dialog asking something like, "Do you want to modify PATH so anaconda is on it" be sure you do check that box. However, the last time we looked, this box is automatically checked and the question isn't even asked in doing a default install.

Further work to get editor, programming environment, etc., on your machine (None)

Congratulations! You're done, because the integrated editor and way to run Python that we will use in our class, Spyder (Python tool makers love "py" for "pi" word play), is automatically installed as part of the Anaconda distribution of Python.

Spyder (Scientific Python Development Environment) is an integrated development environment useful for writing, running, and debugging code.

Starting Spyder, Editing Code, Running Python Files

There are two primary ways to access the tools and open Spyder:

  1. (On Windows only:) The Anaconda folder from the Start menu.
  2. The Anaconda Navigator shortcut icon. It should open the Anaconda Navigator. Click the blue “Launch” button by “spyder” to launch Spyder.
Spyder may take a while to start up; don't be surprised if you have to wait a minute or two.

Spyder Overview

Starting Spyder presents you with a large window split into three smaller windows, one on the left, and two on the right. We will be working with two of the three windows:

  1. Code Editor that lets you create and edit existing Python source files on the left
  2. IPython interpreter pane, which gives you access to the Python interactive mode, on the lower right.
Topic revision: r2 - 2017-08-25 - 18:39:43 - Main.sloan
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