Running a Python Script: A Step-by-Step Guide

Running a Python Script: A Step-by-Step Guide

Python remains one of the most popular programming languages in the world, known for its simplicity and versatility. Whether you’re a seasoned developer or a beginner, running a Python script can seem daunting at first. However, the process is straightforward once you understand the basics. This step-by-step guide will walk you through everything you need to know about running Python scripts across different operating systems.

Step 1: Install Python

Before running any Python script, you need to ensure Python is installed on your computer. As of my last knowledge update in April 2023, Python 3.9 or later versions are recommended for most users. Here’s how to check if Python is installed and how to install it if it isn’t:

  • Windows: Type “cmd” in the Start menu, open Command Prompt, and type “python” or “python –version”. If Python is installed, you’ll see the version number. If not, you can download it from the official Python website.
  • MacOS: Open the Terminal and type “python3 –version”. MacOS usually comes with Python pre-installed, but it might not be the latest version. Consider installing the latest version from the official site or via Homebrew.
  • Linux: Most Linux distributions come with Python pre-installed. Open the Terminal and type “python3 –version” to check. If needed, install or update Python using your distribution’s package manager.

For detailed installation instructions and download links, visit the official Python website.

Step 2: Write Your Python Script

Python scripts are simply text files saved with a .py extension. You can write Python code using a text editor like Notepad or an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) like PyCharm or Visual Studio Code, which provide more features for coding.

Step 3: Open Your Command Line Interface

The Command Line Interface (CLI) allows you to run scripts and interact with your computer’s operating system through text commands. Depending on your OS, this could be Command Prompt for Windows, Terminal for MacOS, or the shell in Linux.

Step 4: Navigate to Your Script’s Directory

Before running your script, you need to navigate to the directory (folder) where your script is located using the CLI. Use the ‘cd’ command followed by the path to the directory. For example:

cd path/to/your/script

Step 5: Run Your Python Script

Now that you’re in the directory containing your script, you can run it by typing the following command:


Remember to replace “” with the actual name of your Python script. If you’re using Python 3 and have both Python 2 and Python 3 installed, you might need to use ‘python3’ instead of ‘python’ in the command.

Additional Tips and Tricks

  • Running scripts with arguments: You can pass arguments to your script from the CLI by appending them after the script name, separated by spaces. Access these arguments through the sys.argv list in Python.
  • Automating scripts: Consider scheduling your scripts to run automatically at specific times or intervals. This can be achieved with Task Scheduler on Windows, cron jobs on Linux, or Automator and cron on MacOS.
  • Using virtual environments: Virtual environments let you manage dependencies for different projects separately, avoiding conflicts between package versions. You can create a virtual environment using the ‘venv’ module in Python.

Useful Resources

To deepen your understanding of running Python scripts and Python programming in general, here are some helpful resources:

  • The Official Python Documentation: The best place to start learning Python, offering tutorials and guides for beginners and advanced programmers.
  • Real Python: Offers comprehensive Python tutorials and articles for programmers of all skill levels.
  • Automate the Boring Stuff with Python: A great resource for beginners to learn how to automate everyday tasks using Python.
  • Stack Overflow: An invaluable resource for finding solutions to coding problems and engaging with the programming community.


Running a Python script is a fundamental skill for any Python programmer. By following the steps outlined in this guide, from installation to execution, you can start experimenting with Python scripts and developing your programming skills. Whether you’re automating tasks, analyzing data, or creating web applications, understanding how to run Python scripts efficiently is the first step towards mastering Python programming.

For distinct use cases:

  • Beginners just starting with Python should focus on mastering the basics of script writing and execution. Automate simple daily tasks to get a feel for the power of Python.
  • Data analysts can harness Python scripts for data processing, cleaning, and visualization tasks, integrating libraries like Pandas and Matplotlib in their workflows.
  • Web developers could use Python scripts to manage back-end services, automate testing, and deploy applications seamlessly using frameworks like Django or Flask.

Embark on your Python programming journey with confidence, and remember, practice makes perfect. Don’t hesitate to explore and manipulate scripts to suit your needs, and always seek resources and community support when you encounter challenges.


How do I check if Python is installed on my computer?

Open your command line interface (CLI) and type “python –version” or “python3 –version”. If Python is installed, the version number will be displayed.

Can I run Python scripts from any text editor?

Yes, you can write Python scripts in any text editor, but running them requires using the command line interface or an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) that supports Python.

What is the difference between Python 2 and Python 3?

Python 3 is the latest version of Python, offering improved features and syntax over Python 2. Python 2 is no longer officially supported as of January 1, 2020.

How do I pass arguments to a Python script?

Arguments can be passed to a Python script from the command line by appending them after the script’s name. These arguments can then be accessed using sys.argv in your Python script.

What are virtual environments and why should I use them?

Virtual environments are isolated environments for Python projects, allowing you to manage dependencies separately for each project. They prevent conflicts between package versions and make it easier to manage multiple projects on the same machine.

We hope this guide has provided you with a clear pathway to running Python scripts and encouraged you to explore Python further. If you have any corrections, questions, or experiences you’d like to share, don’t hesitate to engage with us in the comments section. Your feedback and inquiry are highly valued as they help improve this resource and assist fellow readers.