Python FAQ: Everything to Know About Python and More

Got a Python question? We've probably answered it here.
Ash Ash (331)

Python is a super-popular, open-source, cross-platform programming language. It's commonly used for web applications, data science, and machine learning, and it's well-known in the maker community (especially for Raspberry Pi projects). If you're new to Python or just have a few pressing questions, this FAQ is for you.

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Python is a cross-platform, open-source programming language. Its name comes from creator Guido van Rossum who felt inspired while reading scripts from the British comedy series Monty Python's Flying Circus.

Python can be used for a wide variety of both small and large-scale applications. You can use Python to program something simple like a clock display on a Raspberry Pi or something more complicated like a web app. Python can even be useful for calculating statistics or machine learning.

Python can be installed on Windows, Linux, and Mac systems. Python scripts can be written in any basic editor or text application. You can run Python-based applications or develop your own. Check out our guide to learn how to run Python in terminal.

Yes—Python is an object-oriented programming language.

Python is available for download on the official Python website. There are different releases available on the downloads page. You can also download Python using a terminal application. The install command varies depending on your OS, terminal application, and edition you want to install.

If you downloaded Python from the Python website, you can install Python by running the installer file. You can also install Python via command line using a terminal application.

If you're using a Mac, check out our guide on how to install Python 3 on macOS.

You can nail the basics of Python in a couple of months. It helps to have a project in mind to help motivate you through the process. If you're feeling stuck, you can always check out our Python guides.

Python is a free, open-source programming language.

The method for checking your Python version varies between operating systems.


MacOS users can verify their Python version with the terminal application using the following command.

python --version


Windows users can check their Python version through Powershell using this command.

python --version


If you're using Linux, you can use this command in a Terminal window.

python --version

A note on other Python installations

The above commands will check your system Python version. If you have installed another version of Python—Python 3, for instance—you would check the version like this:

python3 --version

To code in Python, you'll need a text editor—preferably one designed for coding in Python. Python scripts can be saved as .py files. Run the .py file to run the script.

Python packages can be installed manually. If you're not sure what to run, look for a setup file.

You can also use a terminal or PIP to install packages. Check out our guide on how to install Python packages with PIP.

Functions are defined using def. See the example below. This code creates a function called function1 that prints a string.

def function1():
    print("function1 has run.")

To call a function in Python, use the name of the function along with a set of parentheses. In this example, a function is defined called function1 and called with function1().

def function1():
    print("function1 has run.")


Comments can be added using the # sign. For example:

# This line is a comment.

def function1():
    print("function1 has run.")


You can reverse a string in Python using one of multiple methods. This guide covers how to reverse a string in Python 3 using the extended slice operator and reverse function.

Get the latest edition of Python in just minutes.
Ash Ash (331)
6 minutes

If it's been a while since you first installed Python, it might be time to check out the latest edition: Python 3. It has plenty of cool new features from data classes to typing enhancements.