How to Run a Python Script

If you’re new to programming, running Python scripts may seem like a daunting task. However, knowing how to run a python script is crucial if you want to work with Python. Running a Python script is simply a matter of executing a file containing Python code. In this article, we’ll go over the basics of how to run a Python script, whether you’re using a code editor, IDE, or a file manager.

Python is a popular programming language that’s used in a wide range of industries, from web development to scientific computing. Running a Python script is the process of executing the code written in a Python file. Python scripts can be run in a variety of ways, including from the command line, a code editor, or an integrated development environment (IDE). Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced programmer, learning how to run a Python script is an essential skill that will help you in your programming journey. In the next few paragraphs, we’ll explore some of the most common ways to run a Python script.

Setting Up Your Environment

Before you can run Python scripts, you need to set up your development environment. This involves installing Python, choosing an IDE or text editor, and setting up virtual environments.

Installing Python

To get started, you need to install Python on your computer. You can download the latest version of Python from the official website at Once the download is complete, run the installer and follow the prompts to install Python on your computer.

If you’re using a Mac, Python is already installed on your system. However, it may not be the latest version, so you may want to download and install the latest version from the official website.

If you’re using Windows, you can also install Python from the Microsoft Store or using the Windows Subsystem for Linux.

Choosing an IDE or Text Editor

Once you have Python installed, you need an IDE or text editor to write and run your Python code. There are many options available, but some popular choices include Visual Studio Code, PyCharm, and Sublime Text.

Visual Studio Code is a free and open-source IDE that supports many programming languages, including Python. It has a built-in terminal and debugger, making it easy to write, test, and debug your Python code.

PyCharm is a powerful IDE specifically designed for Python development. It has many advanced features, including code completion, refactoring, and debugging.

Sublime Text is a lightweight and customizable text editor that supports many programming languages, including Python. It has a simple and intuitive interface, making it easy to write and edit your Python code.

Setting Up Virtual Environments

Virtual environments allow you to create isolated environments for your Python projects, each with its own set of dependencies. This makes it easier to manage dependencies and avoid conflicts between different projects.

To set up a virtual environment, you can use the built-in venv module or a third-party tool like Anaconda. To create a virtual environment using venv, open a terminal or command prompt and navigate to your project directory. Then, run the following command:

python -m venv env

This will create a new virtual environment in a directory called “env”. To activate the virtual environment, run the following command:

source env/bin/activate

If you’re using Windows, the command is slightly different:


Once the virtual environment is activated, you can install any required dependencies using pip. When you’re done working on your project, you can deactivate the virtual environment by running the following command:


By following these steps, you can set up a development environment for your Python projects and start writing and running Python scripts.

How to Run a Python Script

Running a Python script is a fundamental skill for any Python programmer. In this section, we will walk you through the steps to create, write, and run a Python script.

Creating a Python File

To create a Python file, you can use any text editor such as Notepad, Sublime Text, or PyCharm. Open the text editor of your choice and create a new file with the .py extension. For example, you can name the file “”.

Writing Your Python Script

Now that you have created a Python file, you can start writing your Python script. The first line of your Python script should be the shebang line that tells the operating system which interpreter to use. For example, on Unix-based systems, the shebang line should be:

#!/usr/bin/env python3

After the shebang line, you can start writing your Python code. For example, you can write a simple “Hello, World!” program as follows:

print("Hello, World!")

Running Your Python Script

To run your Python script, you can use the command prompt or terminal. Open the command prompt or terminal and navigate to the directory where your Python file is located. For example, if your Python file is located in the Documents folder, you can navigate to the Documents folder using the following command:

cd Documents

Once you are in the directory where your Python file is located, you can run your Python script using the following command:


This command will execute the Python interpreter and run your Python script. If everything goes well, you should see the output “Hello, World!” printed on the command prompt or terminal.

If you are using Python on Windows, the command to run your Python script is slightly different. You can use the following command instead:


Congratulations! You have successfully created, written, and run a Python script. You can now use this knowledge to create more complex Python programs and scripts.

In summary, to run a Python script, you need to create a Python file, write your Python script, and run your Python script using the command prompt or terminal. Make sure to include the shebang line and use the correct command to run your Python script on your operating system.

Working with Functions and Loops

Understanding Functions

Functions are an essential part of programming in Python. They are reusable blocks of code that perform a specific task. Functions help to break down complex programs into smaller, more manageable pieces.

In Python, you can define a function using the def keyword followed by the function name and any arguments that the function takes. For example, the following code defines a function that takes two arguments and returns their sum:

def add_numbers(a, b):
    return a + b

Once you have defined a function, you can call it from anywhere in your code. For example, you can call the add_numbers function like this:

result = add_numbers(2, 3)
print(result)  # Output: 5

Using Loops

Loops are another fundamental concept in programming. They allow you to repeat a block of code multiple times, which can be useful for performing tasks such as iterating over a list or performing a calculation on a range of values.

Python provides two types of loops: for loops and while loops. A for loop is used to iterate over a sequence of values, such as a list or a range of numbers. Here is an example that uses a for loop to print the numbers from 1 to 10:

for i in range(1, 11):

A while loop is used to repeat a block of code while a certain condition is true. Here is an example that uses a while loop to print the numbers from 1 to 10:

i = 1
while i <= 10:
    i += 1

Loops can also be nested inside one another to perform more complex tasks. For example, you can use nested loops to iterate over a two-dimensional list:

matrix = [[1, 2, 3], [4, 5, 6], [7, 8, 9]]

for row in matrix:
    for element in row:

Python’s high-level programming language makes it easy to work with functions and loops. By breaking down complex tasks into smaller, more manageable pieces, you can write more efficient and maintainable code.

Debugging and Troubleshooting

When working with Python scripts, it’s common to encounter errors and bugs. Debugging and troubleshooting are essential skills that every developer should master. This section will cover how to use debugging tools and troubleshoot common errors.

Using Debugging Tools

Python provides several debugging tools that can help you identify and fix errors in your scripts. One of the most popular tools is the Python debugger (pdb). You can launch a Python program through pdb via python -m pdb Once launched, you can issue commands such as b to set a breakpoint, c to continue debugging until you hit a breakpoint, and s to step through the code.

Another useful tool is the PyCharm debugger, which provides a graphical interface for debugging Python code. PyCharm allows you to set breakpoints, step through code, and inspect variables. It also provides useful features such as code completion and syntax highlighting.

Troubleshooting Common Errors

When running Python scripts, you may encounter common errors such as syntax errors, name errors, and type errors. Syntax errors occur when the code violates the rules of the Python language. Name errors occur when a variable is not defined or referenced before it is assigned a value. Type errors occur when you try to perform an operation on a variable of the wrong type.

To troubleshoot these errors, you can use the Python interpreter to test small code snippets. You can also use the exit() function to exit the interpreter. If you’re running Python scripts on Windows, you may encounter python.exe and pythonw.exe errors. These errors occur when the shebang line is not properly set or when you try to run a script with the wrong interpreter.

Finally, if you need to stop a running script, you can use the ctrl+z command to send a signal to the operating system to stop the process.

In summary, debugging and troubleshooting are essential skills for any Python developer. By using debugging tools and troubleshooting common errors, you can identify and fix issues in your code more quickly and effectively.

Advanced Topics

If you’re comfortable with the basics of running Python scripts, you may want to dive into some more advanced topics. Here are some key areas to explore:

Working with Classes and Objects

Classes and objects are fundamental concepts in object-oriented programming, and Python is no exception. If you’re working on a project that requires complex data structures or behavior, you may want to consider defining your own classes and objects. Here are some important terms to know:

  • Class: A blueprint for creating objects. Classes can define attributes (data) and methods (functions).
  • Object: An instance of a class. Objects can have their own unique attributes and can call their own methods.
  • __init__: A special method that is called when an object is created. This is where you can define the object’s initial attributes.

Here’s an example of a simple class definition:

class Car:
    def __init__(self, make, model, year):
        self.make = make
        self.model = model
        self.year = year

    def get_age(self):
        return 2023 - self.year

This class defines a Car object with attributes for make, model, and year. It also has a method get_age that calculates the age of the car based on the current year.

Using Packages and Libraries

Python has a robust ecosystem of packages and libraries that can help you accomplish a wide range of tasks. If you’re working on a project that requires functionality beyond what’s available in the standard Python library, you may want to search for and install a package or library that can help. Here are some key terms to know:

  • Package: A collection of modules that can be installed and imported together.
  • Library: A collection of packages and modules that can be installed and imported together.
  • Virtualenv: A tool for creating isolated Python environments for different projects.

Some popular packages and libraries include numpy for scientific computing, pandas for data analysis, and requests for making HTTP requests. To install a package or library, you can use the pip package manager:

pip install <package-name>

Configuring Python Environments

If you’re working on multiple Python projects, you may want to configure your development environment to ensure that each project has its own isolated dependencies and settings. Here are some key terms to know:

  • Workspace: The directory where you keep all your code and project files.
  • .py extension: The file extension used for Python scripts.
  • Select interpreter: The Python interpreter that VS Code uses to run your code.
  • .vscode/settings.json: A file where you can configure VS Code settings for your workspace.
  • IntelliSense: VS Code’s code completion and documentation feature.
  • Linting: Checking your code for errors and style issues.
  • Code snippets: Shortcuts for commonly-used code patterns.

One way to configure your Python environment is to use a tool like virtualenv to create isolated environments for each project. You can also configure your VS Code workspace settings to specify which Python interpreter to use, enable IntelliSense and linting, and add code snippets. Here’s an example settings.json file:

    "python.pythonPath": "/path/to/virtualenv/bin/python",
    "python.linting.pylintEnabled": true,
    "python.linting.pylintArgs": [
    "python.autoComplete.addBrackets": true,
    "python.autoComplete.showAdvancedMembers": true,
    "python.autoComplete.addArguments": true,
    "python.analysis.autoSearchPaths": true,
    "python.analysis.extraPaths": [
    "python.analysis.disabled": [
    "python.analysis.typeCheckingMode": "off",
    "python.analysis.memory.keepLibraryAst": true,
    "python.analysis.memory.keepLibraryIntermediateValues": true

This file specifies the path to the virtualenv Python interpreter, enables pylint with some custom arguments, and configures various VS Code settings for code completion and analysis.

Key Takeaways

Running a Python script can seem daunting at first, but with a little bit of practice, it can become second nature. Here are some key takeaways to keep in mind when working with Python scripts:

  • Choose your method of execution: There are several ways to execute a Python script, including running it interactively, from the command line, or using an integrated development environment (IDE). Choose the method that works best for you and your project needs.
  • Understand your environment: Make sure you have the correct version of Python installed on your computer and that you’re running your script in the appropriate environment. For example, if you’re using a virtual environment, make sure it’s activated before running your script.
  • Include necessary modules and dependencies: If your script relies on external modules or dependencies, make sure they’re installed and included in your script before running it.
  • Use command-line arguments: Command-line arguments allow you to pass information to your script at runtime. This can be useful for customizing your script’s behavior or for passing input data to it.
  • Debug your script: Debugging is an essential part of the development process. Use print statements or a debugger to help you identify and fix any errors in your script.
  • Document your code: Writing clear and concise documentation for your code can save you time and frustration in the long run. Use comments to explain what your code does and how it works.

By keeping these key takeaways in mind, you’ll be well on your way to successfully running your Python scripts. Happy coding!