Installing Anaconda

We’re going to install Python by installing something called Anaconda. Anaconda is a Python distribution that includes many other convenient packages, such as Jupyter Notebooks and JupyterLab. It also helps to keep your Python environment clean and well-managed.

Step 1

Go to the Anaconda installation page, find your operating system, and follow the instructions.

Anaconda will ask whether you want to add Anaconda to your PATH environment variable. Your PATH variable is like an invisible traveling directory. It contains a list of file paths that you can easily access from any place on your computer. By adding Anaconda to your PATH, you will be able to launch JupyterLab from the command line. For more information about the PATH, see The Launch School’s explanation.

Step 3

Open Anaconda Navigator. You can find it by searching through your applications.


Step 4

Launch Jupyter Lab.

Command Line Option

If Anaconda is added to your PATH, you should be able to launch JupyterLab from the command line (without Anaconda Navigator).

%jupyter lab

Installing Atom

Though we’re mostly going to be programming in Jupyter notebooks, we’re also going to install a text editor called Atom, where you can also write Python code.

Step 1

Go to Atom’s home page, click download (it should know which OS you’re using), and follow the instructions.

Step 2 (Optional)

If you want to be able to launch Atom from the command line, as well, you can click “Atom” in the menu bar and then click “Install Shell Commands.”