How to Install Python IDLE

Python is a popular programming language available for most modern computer operating systems. Python IDLE is an environment for writing, editing, debugging and running Python programs. It is included when you install the standard set of Python tools.

Image Credit: eclipse_images/E+/GettyImages

Python IDLE Download and Installation

The Python programming language is one of the most popular languages and is available for most modern operating systems including Microsoft Windows, Apple macOS, Linux and other Unix-style systems. You can write your own Python programs using any text-editing program and, if you wish, you can write, edit and debug them through a system called IDLE that is installed with the standard Python toolset.

IDLE stands for Integrated Development and Learning Environment, though it's widely assumed it was named as a tribute to Eric Idle, an English comedian and actor from the famed Monty Python comedy troupe. When you install a modern version of Python on a computer, IDLE is automatically installed with it. You don't need a separate IDLE download if you've already downloaded Python on your system. You can usually access IDLE through the Start Menu on a Windows computer with Python installed or by typing "idle" at the command line on a Mac or Linux computer.

If you want to install Python on your computer, visit the official Python homepage at Click the "Downloads" link and choose the version of Python you want to install. You can download standard installer programs for Apple macOS and Microsoft Windows. Download them, double-click them and run them, following the instructions to install Python and IDLE on your system.

If you're using Linux or another Unix-style operating system, you can either install Python through the official application repository for your system or by downloading the source code from and compiling it according to the provided instructions.

Choose a Python Version

If you're trying to run Python code that you or someone else has already written, make sure you download a version compatible with that code. Python is open source and available free of charge.

Versions of Python numbered as 2.x – where x is some number or series of numbers – aren't compatible with Python versions 3.0 and later. Some existing programs are written for the 2.x series of Python, and others are designed for later versions. You can install both 2.x and 3.x versions of Python on the same computer if you need to run multiple versions, but make sure you know which versions of the software you have installed and use the version that is compatible with the programs you intend to run or write.

IDLE is available for and included with all 2.x and 3.x versions of the software. Each version of Python comes with its own version of Python IDLE.