How to Get Started With Python?

In this tutorial, you will learn to install and run Python on your computer. Once we do that, we will also write our first Python program.

Python is a cross-platform programming language, meaning, it runs on multiple platforms like Windows, MacOS, Linux and has even been ported to the Java and .NET virtual machines. It is free and open source.

Even though most of today’s Linux and Mac have Python preinstalled in it, the version might be out-of-date. So, it is always a good idea to install the most current version.


The Easiest Way to Run Python

The easiest way to run Python is by using Thonny IDE

The Thonny IDE comes with the latest version of Python bundled in it. So you don't have to install Python separately.

Follow the following steps to run Python on your computer.

  1. Download Thonny IDE.
  2. Run the installer to install Thonny on your computer.
  3. Go to File > New. Then save the file with .py extension. For example, hello.py, example.py etc.
    You can give any name to the file. However, the file name should end with .py
  4. Write Python code in the file and save it.
    Run Python on your computer
  5. Then Go to Run > Run current script or simply click F5 to run it.

Install Python Separately

If you don't want to use Thonny, here's how you can install and run Python on your computer.

  1. Download the latest version of Python.
  2. Run the installer file and follow the steps to install Python
    During the install process, check Add Python to environment variables. This will add Python to environment variables and you are able to run Python from any part of the computer.
    Also, you can choose the path where Python is installed.
    Install Python on your computer

Once you finish the installation process, you can run Python.


1. Run Python in Immediate mode

Once Python is installed, typing python in the command line will invoke the interpreter in immediate mode. We can directly type in Python code and press enter to get the output.

Try typing in 1 + 1 and press enter. We get 2 as the output. This prompt can be used as a calculator. To exit this mode type quit() and press enter.

Run Python in Immediate mode


2. Run Python in the Integrated Development Environment (IDE)

We can use any text editing software to write a Python script file.

We just need to save it with the .py extension. But using an IDE can make our life a lot easier. IDE is a piece of software that provides useful features like code hinting, syntax highlighting and checking, file explorers etc. to the programmer for application development.

By the way, when you install Python, an IDE named IDLE is also installed. You can use it to run Python on your computer. It's a decent IDE for beginners.

When you open IDLE, an interactive Python Shell is opened.

Python IDLE
Now you can create a new file and save it with .py extension. For example, hello.py

Write Python code in the file, save it. To run the file go to Run > Run Module or simply click F5.

Run Python program in IDLE


Your first Python Program

Now that we have Python up and running, we can write our first Python program.

Let's create a very simple program called "Hello World!".  A "Hello, World!" is a simple program that outputs Hello, World! on the screen. Since it's a very simple program, it's often used to introduce a new programming language to a newbie.

Type the following code in any text editor or an IDE and save it as helloWorld.py

print("Hello world!")

Then, run the file. You will get the following output.

Hello world!

Congratulations! You just wrote your first program in Python.

As we can see, it was pretty easy. This is the beauty of Python programming language.