To be honest, Python is not the easiest program to manage on your PC. I suggest newcomers download it from Anaconda because it does most of the behind-the-scenes lifting for you.
Among other benefits, Anaconda comes with many of the crucial packages for data analysis in Python (packages are like the apps of open source) along with the inimitable Jupyter notebook interface for executing Python code (although Jupyter can work with other languages too…).
If you’re completely new to Jupyter notebooks, I suggest taking a look at the following blog post, where I provide a brief tour of the program:
What that post didn’t do is show you is how to work with Jupyter notebooks on your own computer — it uses a very nifty cloud-based instance. That’s what this post is for.
Download Anaconda Individual
This is Anaconda’s FREE version. It’s interesting to ponder that even though Python itself is free and open source, Anaconda can still build a business around it. Do a little searching on the economics of open source sometime, it’s interesting!
You can download Anaconda Individual here. Follow all the steps — just keep clicking “Next.” As of this writing, the Anaconda Individual download all told is about half a gigabyte… be patient!
OK, so Python is now installed on your computer. Now what? As the post title implies, we’re going to jump straight into using Jupyter, although some other things were downloaded that you should check out eventually. Check out Anaconda’s Getting Started guide for some other good-to-knows.
You’ve got a couple of options to launch Jupyter. One way is easier, the other more powerful. Either way, you will see a command line-like box appear. Do not close this box! Jupyter is a web-based application, so basically what you’re doing is setting up a local server between your browser and Python. This command box is what communicates between them.
Now get your Hammer pants on and let’s roll…
Jupyter launch option 1: Windows search box (the easier way)
The first option is straightforward enough: Hit the Windows key (remember, this demo is for PC), search for Jupyter Notebook and hit Enter:
Jupyter launch option 2: Anaconda Prompt (the harder way)
This next step also starts with the Windows button, but you’ll launch the Anaconda Prompt this time. This is a command-line interface for working with your Anaconda downloads. If you’ve never used the command line before… that’s about to change! Type jupyter notebook at the cursor and hit Enter:
OK, now what?
Why, of course — get into Python and Jupyter notebooks!
Want something a little more helpful than that? Let me suggest my book Advancing into Analytics: From Excel to Python and R. You can learn all about it here:
Thanks for checking out this post and letting me help you get started with Jupyter on your Windows computer. What other questions do you have about getting started with Python?