How to Get Started with the Jupyter Notebook

The following is a step-by-step guide to get a Jupyter Notebook (with IPython) up and running. (To learn more about the notebook, see Archie's IPython intro.)

Three options are discussed below:

  1. try it right away (for testing only)
  2. install and run on your own computer
  3. use the virtual desktops at Madison College (if you don't have a computer)

Try it Right Away

Install and Run your own IPython

  1. Install: To run your own software, it is recommended that you download and install the Anaconda package, which includes everything you will need. Click either Windows, Mac or Linux, then download and launch the installer for Anaconda Python 3.x.

  2. Start Jupyter: After installation, find the Anaconda Navigator and start it. From the Navigator, click Jupyter Lab. You will know it's working if a new tab (labeled "Home") opens in your web browser.

  3. Make a notebook: When Jupyter starts, the "launcher" will open in a tab of your default web browser. From there you may start a new notebook: under Notebook click Python 3. You should see the prompt In [1]: at the top of the working area of the notebook.

  4. Edit a notebook: You will probably want to edit an existing notebook. You will need to download notebook to your computer.

  5. Learn more: Learn how to save and share notebooks, and how to do more complicated computations. You might start with Archie's IPy Intro. There are many resources available for learning the Python language and the IPython environment --- many of them to be found through those two links. Follow a tutorial if that is how you learn best. Most important, experiment and play with it. For specific questions, a simple google search is usually the best resource. (For example, how do you perform an inverse cosine? Just google "python inverse cosine".)

Virtual Desktops at Madison College


Students at Madison College have access to a Windows 10 virtual desktop that can be run from the computer terminals on campus, from your own device (laptop or mobile, on or off campus), and from the Physics lab laptops. You can get more information about this at Starting in Fall semester 2017, these vitual desktops have the Jupyter Notebook already installed, and linked to a folder in your H: drive.

How to start the Virtual Desktop:

Working with Jupyter:

How to quit the Virtual Desktop:

Last modified on April 25, 2020 by Archie Paulson (Madison College, WI)