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Using the Terminal

The terminal may seem like a dark and scary place, but it’s essential for any Python developer. Plus, Real Python has you covered with plenty of resources to get you acquainted with this important tool.

If you’re on Windows, then these resources can guide the way:

Using the terminal on macOS or Linux? Check out these Code Conversations:

00:00 pip is a command-line tool. That means you must run it from the terminal. So before we get into pip, let me show you how to find the terminal program on different operating systems.

00:13 Let’s start with Windows. You can find the terminal app in the Start menu under Terminal. When you start the application, you should see a window that looks like the one here on the slide.

00:25 If you don’t have the Terminal app on your Windows computer, so if your system is a bit older, then you can download it for free from the Microsoft Store.

00:34 You can find a link to the Microsoft Store in the description below.

00:40 If you want to get more detailed instructions on how to install and open the terminal on Windows, then I can recommend the Code Conversation I had with Ian. In this video course, Ian gives you a great introduction into the terminal on Windows, so how to install it, how to find it, and how to use it.

00:57 And Ian is also the author of our Windows Setup Guide. I know I’m biased, but I think this is the go-to guide for Python developers who work on Windows machines.

01:08 Everything that you see with the terminal on this course I will do on the mac, but if you follow this installation guide and you use the terminal app that you got from Windows 11 or the Microsoft Store, then the commands are exactly the same and everything should work for you, just like you see on the mac system.

01:28 On Linux, click the Show Applications button at the bottom of your toolbar and search for Terminal. Then click the terminal application icon to open the terminal.

01:38 After opening the terminal, you should see a window similar to the screenshot you see in this slide, and it might also depend on which Linux distribution you’re using.

01:47 So each one has a different way to open the terminal, and they might look a bit different. If you have any trouble opening the terminal on Linux, the Real Python community will help you out in the comments below.

02:00 I also had a Code Conversation about the terminal on Linux. In this video course, Geir Arne is joining me and is showing some helpful commands when using the terminal on Linux. As a Linux user, you might be comfortable in using the terminal anyway, but I recommend giving the Code Conversation a watch. I promise it’s worthwhile.

02:20 Okay, again, I might be a bit biased here, but Geir Arne is really showing some cool things.

02:27 Similar to Linux, on macOS the terminal application comes pre-installed since, I don’t know, the early ages. A common way to open the terminal application on macOS is by opening the Spotlight search and searching for Terminal.

02:43 You can also find the Terminal.app in the Applications folder in the Finder application. When you open the terminal, you see a window that looks kind of like this in the slide right here.

02:55 Wouldn’t it be odd if I hadn’t also have a Code Conversation for the mac terminal? It would be, so if you’re curious about learning more about the terminal on macOS, then head over to the course I recorded together with Martin.

03:09 The Code Conversations with Martin are always fun, and this one is no exception. In all of the Code Conversations about the terminal—the one on Windows, the one on Linux, and the one on macOS—I let Ian, Geir Arne, and Martin perform some tasks they need to do in the terminal alone, so no use of any windows at all, only the terminal.

03:29 That’s a great introduction to the terminal.

03:33 If you have never worked with the terminal, this dark window with this blinking cursor can be a scary place. But it’s an important tool you need to get used to in your journey as a Python developer. And it’s essential when using pip.

03:47 As I’m recording this course on the mac, you’ll see me perform certain tasks in the terminal, more specifically in the mac terminal. But everything should work just like this in any other operating system.

03:59 And now that you know how to open the terminal, keep it open because you’ll need the terminal in the next lesson.

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