Using the IPython shell

The default Python shell is fine, but there are alternatives. The most popular option is to install the IPython shell from This is also included with the Anaconda distribution, as well as a number of supporting tools that enhance the development experience.

IPython provides a number of enhancements to the regular interactive Python experience, such as:

  • Syntax-highlighted interactive shells
  • Web-based notebooks that support multimedia output
  • Interactive visualizations
  • Interactive parallel application development
  • Tab completion
  • Object exploration
  • Magic functions
  • Command history
  • Direct implementation of shell commands

The following screenshot demonstrates how the IPython shell differs from the default ...

Get Learn Programming in Python with Cody Jackson now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience books, live events, courses curated by job role, and more from O’Reilly and nearly 200 top publishers.