Skip to content

Run Python Script from Command Line Effortlessly

How to Run Your Python Scripts and Code

A Python script or program is a file that contains executable Python code. Running Python scripts and code is crucial for every Python developer as it allows them to test, debug, and accomplish tasks. In this tutorial, we will explore various techniques for running Python scripts and code in different environments, platforms, and situations.

What Scripts and Modules Are

In computing, a script refers to a text file that contains a logical sequence of instructions to perform a specific task. These instructions are written in a scripting language, which is a programming language designed for task manipulation, customization, and automation.

Scripting languages are usually interpreted at runtime, rather than being compiled. Therefore, scripts are executed by an interpreter that interprets and executes the instructions in the script file.

On the other hand, modules in Python are separate files that contain Python code. They are intended to be imported and used by other scripts or modules. Modules encapsulate functionality and promote code reusability.

How to Run Python Scripts From the Command Line

Running Python scripts from the command line is one of the most common ways to execute Python code. There are several ways to run Python scripts from the command line:

  1. Using the python command:

    • Open the command prompt or terminal.
    • Navigate to the directory where the Python script is located.
    • Use the command python, replacing with the name of the actual script file.
  2. Using the script’s filename directly:

    • Make the script file executable by setting the appropriate file permissions.
    • Run the script by entering its name in the command line.
  3. Running modules with the -m option:

    • Use the command python -m module_name, replacing module_name with the name of the module you want to execute.

How to Run Python Code Interactively

Python provides an interactive mode where you can enter Python code line by line and see the results immediately. To run Python code interactively:

  1. Getting to Know the Python Interpreter:

    • Open the command prompt or terminal.
    • Type python to open the Python interpreter.
    • You can now enter Python code and press Enter to see the output.
  2. Running Python Code Interactively:

    • Open the command prompt or terminal.
    • Type python -i, replacing with the name of the script file you want to run interactively.
    • You can now interact with the code and explore its behavior.

How to Run Scripts From Python Code

Python provides several ways to run scripts from within Python code:

  1. Taking Advantage of Import Statements:

    • Use the import statement to import the script file as a module.
    • Call the functions or access the variables defined in the imported module.
  2. Using the importlib Standard-Library Module:

    • Use the importlib module to dynamically import and execute a script file.
    • This approach offers more flexibility and control over the execution process.
  3. Leveraging the Power of the Built-in exec() Function:

    • Use the exec() function to execute Python code stored in a string.
    • This allows you to dynamically generate and execute scripts within your Python code.

How to Run Python Scripts on IDEs and Code Editors

IDEs (Integrated Development Environments) and code editors provide a convenient way to run Python scripts. Most IDEs and code editors have a Run button or a keyboard shortcut to execute the current script file. Some popular Python-friendly IDEs and code editors include:

  • PyCharm
  • Visual Studio Code
  • Sublime Text
  • Atom
  • Jupyter Notebook

To run a script file in an IDE or code editor, open the file, and look for the Run button or the corresponding command in the IDE’s menu.

How to Run Python Scripts From a File Manager

Some operating systems allow you to execute Python scripts directly from the file manager. Here’s how you can run a script file from the file manager:

  1. Set the script file’s permissions to make it executable.
  2. Double-click the script file in the file manager, and it will be executed using the default Python interpreter.


Running Python scripts and code is a crucial skill for Python developers. Whether you run scripts from the command line, interactively, from within other Python code, or using IDEs and code editors, understanding the techniques for running Python code will help you test, debug, and accomplish tasks effectively.

Remember to choose the appropriate method based on your environment, platform, needs, and skills. By mastering these techniques, you’ll be able to develop, execute, and troubleshoot Python code efficiently. Happy scripting!

Free Download: For more Python tricks and best practices, download a sample chapter from the book “Python Tricks: The Book.” It includes simple examples that demonstrate Python’s best practices and help you write more beautiful and Pythonic code.

Take the Quiz: Test your knowledge about running Python scripts by taking the interactive quiz “How to Run Your Python Scripts.” Upon completion, you will receive a score to track your learning progress.

Remove ads