Note: Any reasonably recent version of Python is acceptable for this course. If you have a version of Python 3.x on your computer already you should be able to use it for this class.
Please download and install Python 3.x from:
As you install Python, make sure to check the "Add Python 3.5 to PATH" so that you can type python at the command line prompt to run Python.Installing A Programming Text Editor
If you already have a programmer text editor like VS-Code installed you can use it in the class or you can install it on your system.
If the installation for VSCode looks a little too complex, we recommend the free and open source Brackets text editor. It is easy to install and is very capable for your needs in the course.
We have a short step-by-step video showing how to install Python 3 and write your first program.
When the command line starts up, you are in your "home" directory. Your home directory is different for each of the operating systems. In each of these examples, your logged in account should be used instead of csev.
Windows XP: C:\Documents and Settings\csev Windows Vista: C:\Users\csev Windows 7: C:\Users\csev Windows 10: C:\Users\csev Windows 10 OneDrive: C:\Users\csev\OneDriveThe command line prompt usually includes some clue as to where you are in the folder structure on your hard drive.
If you want to really figure out where you are, use the cd command with no parameters
C:\Users\csev> cd C:\Users\csev
Where can you go?
Generally the first thing you want to do when you open a command line interface is to navigate to the right folder. Say you wanted to run a file from your desktop. The command is cd Desktop (or cd OneDrive\Desktop) to get into the folder that is your Desktop. You can use the dir command to see which files are in the current directory and the cd .. command to go "up" a directory
Nifty Trick: On the cd command, you can partially type a folder name like Desktop and then press the TAB key and the system will auto-complete the folder name if you have typed enough that the system can accurately guess what you mean to type.
If you get Lost...
If you can't figure out what folder you are in and/or cannot figure out how to get to the folder you want to get to - simply close and re-open the Command Line / Terminal window. You will be back to your "home" directory - so you can start from a known location.
Some Cool Hints on the Windows Command Line Interface
If you click on the little icon in the upper-left of the command prompt window and select Preferences - you can set many things about the command line - probably the most important is to set the Command History Buffer Size to be 999.
To run your program in the command line you type at the command line prompt. Windows knows that files that end with a ".py" suffix are Python programs.
firstprog.pyWhere firstprog.py is the name of the file containing your Python program. Make sure to use the cd command to be in the correct directory that contains your program file(s).
You can run your program over and over again in the command window. Hint: You can use the up-arrow key to scroll back through previous commands and re-execute them by pressing enter. This allows you to quickly edit and rerun your program to make and test changes.
Copyright Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 - Charles R. Severance