What is Python IDLE?

The Python IDLE is where you’ll enter your code, similar to a word-processor. The official application name is IDLE (Python GUI), and is available for free installation on this website: http://python.org/downloads/.

Interactive Shell

Upon first opening IDLE, the Interactive Shell window (above) will pop up. Interactive shell always has the >>> prompt. Here, you can type instructions for the computer, and the Python interpreter will then run your instructions.


There is no “run” button to be pressed, as the interpreter automatically executes any code you type in. Therefore, the interactive shell is only good for running code one line at a time. If you want to write entire programs, you will need to use the file editor.

File Editor
To start a new file, go to File > New File from the interactive shell window. Similar to Notepad or TextEdit, file editor is where you can type in your code and run entire programs at once. Capture
In order to run code, you must first save the file (Python files are saved with a .py extension). To run, go to Run > Run Module or hit F5. The program itself runs in the interactive shell window.