How to Install Python IDLE

By Wolfram Donat

One of the many advantages of programming in Python is that it is not necessary to use a special compiler such as Microsoft's Visual Studio to write programs. You can write Python scripts using a text editor such as NotePad, emacs or TextWrangler. You can also use a development environment. IDLE is Python's built-in Integrated Development Environment, which is installed by default upon installation of Python using the installation packages available from the Python website.

Step 1

Open a Web browser. Navigate to the download page on the Python website at

Step 2

Find the Python version appropriate for your system. As the time of publication, the most current versions are 2.7.2 and 3.2.1. If you are not sure which to install, install the 2.7 version, as it is more compatible with third-party modules. Click the download link for your chosen version.

Step 3

Double-click the downloaded MSI file if you are using Windows or the DMG file if you are using a Mac to start the installation wizard. Follow the onscreen instructions to install Python on your computer.

Step 4

Start IDLE by selecting "Python 2.7" and "IDLE" from your Applications folder (Mac) or by selecting "Programs", "Python 2.7" and "IDLE (Python GUI)" from the Start menu (Windows.)