Setting up Python

Downloading Python

If you are using Python in Computer Science lessons then your school should already have it downloaded and installed on the school computers.

It is a good idea to download it on a home computer too so you can practice outside of lessons. Python is free and can be downloaded from the official website. You should download the most up-to-date version of Python 3 (currently Python 3.8.0).

Save the file and then run it to start installing.

Using Python

When you run the Python application it will open the shell. This window will display the outputs of any program you have created.


Do not type into the shell.

Click on the File tab then New File to open the editor.

Python Shell - This displays the outputs of your program. Do not write directly into the shell.

Python Editor - All code is written into the editor.

When you want to test a program press the F5 key (or click the Run tab then Run Module).


The first time you test a program it will prompt you to save the file. Make sure you save it somewhere you will remember - it is a good idea to create a folder named 'Python' where you can save all your practice programs. 

The next page looks at actually creating a program but above is a demonstration of how code has been typed into the editor and then when run (F5 key) it is displayed in the shell.

You never need to save the shell window. The editor saves automatically every time you run the program.

Opening a Saved Program

When you want to re-open and edit a file you have created previously double-clicking on it won't work.

Right click on the file and select Edit with IDLE.

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