Code editor

For readers at home: this chapter is covered in the Installing Python & Code Editor video.

You're about to write your first line of code, so it's time to download a code editor!

If you're using a Chromebook, skip this chapter and make sure you follow the Chromebook Setup instructions.

Note You might have done this earlier in the Installation chapter – if so, you can skip right ahead to the next chapter!

There are a lot of different editors and it largely boils down to personal preference. Most Python programmers use complex but extremely powerful IDEs (Integrated Development Environments), such as PyCharm. As a beginner, however, that's probably less suitable; our recommendations are equally powerful, but a lot simpler.

Our suggestions are below, but feel free to ask your coach what their preferences are – it'll be easier to get help from them.


Gedit is an open-source, free editor, available for all operating systems.

Download it here

Sublime Text 3

Sublime Text is a very popular editor with a free evaluation period. It's easy to install and use, and it's available for all operating systems.

Download it here


Atom is an extremely new code editor created by GitHub. It's free, open-source, easy to install and easy to use. It's available for Windows, OS X and Linux.

Download it here

Why are we installing a code editor?

You might be wondering why we are installing this special code editor software, rather than using something like Word or Notepad.

The first reason is that code needs to be plain text, and the problem with programs like Word and Textedit is that they don't actually produce plain text, they produce rich text (with fonts and formatting), using custom formats like RTF (Rich Text Format).

The second reason is that code editors are specialized for editing code, so they can provide helpful features like highlighting code with color according to its meaning, or automatically closing quotes for you.

We'll see all this in action later. Soon, you'll come to think of your trusty old code editor as one of your favorite tools. :)

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