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Running a Python File: Effortlessly Execute Your Code

How to Run Your Python Scripts and Code

A Python script or program is a file containing executable Python code. Being able to run Python scripts and code is one of the most important skills for a Python developer. Running your code allows you to test it, debug any issues, and accomplish tasks effectively.

In this tutorial, we will explore various techniques for running Python scripts and code. The method you choose will depend on your environment, platform, needs, and skill level.


To get the most out of this tutorial, you should have a basic understanding of your operating system’s command line or terminal, as well as your file manager. Familiarity with a Python-friendly IDE or code editor and the standard Python REPL (Read-Eval-Print Loop) is also beneficial.

Table of Contents

  • What Scripts and Modules Are
  • How to Run Python Scripts from the Command Line
    • Using the python command
    • Using the script’s filename directly
    • Running modules with the -m option
  • How to Run Python Code Interactively
    • Getting to know the Python interpreter
    • Running Python code interactively
  • How to Run Scripts from Python Code
    • Taking advantage of import statements
    • Using the importlib standard-library module
    • Leveraging the power of the built-in exec() function
  • How to Run Python Scripts on IDEs and Code Editors
  • How to Run Python Scripts from a File Manager
  • Conclusion

What Scripts and Modules Are

In computing, a script refers to a text file that contains a logical sequence of orders that you can run to accomplish a specific task. These orders are typically written in a scripting language, which is a programming language designed to manipulate, customize, and automate tasks.

Scripting languages are interpreted at runtime, meaning they are not compiled. Therefore, scripts are run by an interpreter that executes the instructions in the script.

Python modules, on the other hand, are files that contain reusable Python code. They are meant to be imported and used by other scripts or modules. Modules enable code reuse and organization.

How to Run Python Scripts from the Command Line

When running Python scripts from the command line, you have a few options:

Using the python Command

The most common way to run a Python script is by using the python command followed by the filename. For example:

Terminal window

This method works on most operating systems and allows you to execute Python code without any additional setup.

Using the Script’s Filename Directly

In some cases, you can run a Python script by simply typing its filename directly. However, this method relies on the operating system recognizing the file as executable and having its interpreter specified correctly.

Terminal window

Running Modules with the -m Option

You can also run Python modules directly using the -m option followed by the module name. This method is useful when the module provides a command-line interface.

Terminal window
python -m module_name

How to Run Python Code Interactively

Python’s interactive mode allows you to execute Python code and immediately see the results. The interactive mode is accessible through the Python interpreter or in specific environments like Jupyter notebooks.

Getting to Know the Python Interpreter

The Python interpreter is a program that reads and executes Python code. To access the Python interpreter, open a command line or terminal and type python or python3 depending on your setup.

You can then enter Python commands and execute them line by line. This mode is particularly useful for testing and experimenting with code snippets.

Running Python Code Interactively

Once in the Python interpreter, you can execute code interactively. As you type each line of code, the interpreter immediately evaluates and displays the result.

For example:

>>> 2 + 2
>>> print("Hello, World!")
Hello, World!

To exit the interactive mode, type exit() or press Ctrl + D on UNIX-based systems.

How to Run Scripts from Python Code

Python provides several ways to run scripts from other Python code.

Taking Advantage of Import Statements

The most common way to run a script from another Python program is to import it as a module using the import statement. This approach allows you to access the functions, classes, or variables defined in the script.

import script

Using the importlib Standard-Library Module

The importlib module provides a more dynamic way to import and run scripts at runtime. With importlib, you can load a module by its name stored in a string variable.

import importlib
module_name = "script"
module = importlib.import_module(module_name)

Leveraging the Power of the Built-in exec() Function

The exec() function provides the capability to execute Python code stored in a string. This function is useful when you need to dynamically run code.

code = """
print("Hello, World!")

How to Run Python Scripts on IDEs and Code Editors

Most modern IDEs and code editors support running Python scripts within the editor itself. Typically, they provide a “Run” or “Execute” command that executes the current file using the configured Python interpreter.

Refer to your IDE or code editor’s documentation for instructions on how to run Python scripts within the environment.

How to Run Python Scripts from a File Manager

Another way to run Python scripts is by executing them directly from your operating system’s file manager. This method is convenient when you want to run a script by double-clicking on its icon.

To enable this functionality, you need to associate the .py extension with the Python interpreter on your system.


In this tutorial, we have explored various techniques for running Python scripts and code. By understanding these methods, you can execute your Python code in different environments, platforms, and situations. As a Python developer, running your code effectively is essential for testing, debugging, and accomplishing tasks efficiently.

Remember, the method you choose for running Python scripts will depend on your specific requirements and skill level. Experiment with different approaches to find the one that works best for you.

Keep practicing and running your Python scripts regularly to improve your skills as a developer. Happy coding!