Best Free Python Ide for Windows 10

Are you a Windows 10 user and wish to learn python? To learn Python, you need the best ide that would be compatible with Windows 10. There is an IDLE python package that comes as part of python distribution. IDLE is a fine text editor but also lacks some advanced features. Visual Studio Code, Atom, and Sublime Text are a few python ide for windows modern tools available today. I will help you decide on which tool to use for your first program.

What is an IDE?

An IDE (Integrated Development Environment) is a software application used by developers for creating programs. IDEs are meant to make the developer’s job easier by combining tools that are necessary during software development. Your typical IDE will contain tools such as:

  • a text editor;
  • a compiler and/or interpreter;
  • a debugger and code profiler;
  • version control integration;
  • a number of supporting utilities to interface with external tooling (Docker, cloud deployments, etc.)

…all combined into a single user interface.

Many IDEs also include additional, optional features and toolkits. Some are single-language-specific, others support every language you can think of, either out of the box or through plugins.

One thing is certain: the selection is so wide that you will definitely find an IDE that can cover all your needs.

IDE vs. code editor

An IDE is a complex tool that will have your back during the entire process of software development. However, for smaller projects—or those people who would value customization above everything else—a code editor might be enough.

A code editor doesn’t have the word “integrated” in the name for a reason; it’s just an editor, with additional features like syntax highlighting and code formatting.

But code editors do have their advantages. They are more lightweight, and the more advanced editors allow you to customize your software development experience with handpicked plugins and tools. They tend to be favored by those who value customizability and don’t mind a little tweaking before they find their bliss.

Some code editors are so complex and offer so many extensions that they can easily replace an IDE.

The best Python IDEs and code editors

The list we’ve assembled is based on the opinions of Python developers at STX Next (and there are over 200 of them!), as well as the popularity index according to the Stack Overflow Developer Survey and the State of Developer Ecosystem by Jetbrains. Note that the data from the Stack Overflow Survey concern the developers working with all the programming languages, while the Jetbrains and STX Next ones have only considered the opinions of Pythonistas.

Popularity of environments and tools among Python developers - PyCharm, VS Code, Sublime Text, Vim, Atom, Supyter, Notepad++
The popularity of environments and tools among Python developers

As far as Python developers are concerned, PyCharm wins the popularity contest, with Visual Studio Code being the runner-up. But since IDEs and editors are highly specialized, these two may not fit your individual needs.

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How to choose a Python IDE/code editor that serves your purpose?

To make this task easier, we have created this guide. All tools mentioned in this guide are available on Windows, Linux, and macOS

I want a Python IDE/code editor for:

  • Learning
  • Development

Show Python IDEs Programiz recommend:

  • Yes

1. Online Compiler from Programiz

For: Beginner     Pricing: Free

If you want to start writing Python code without investing time installing Python and setting up a development environment, you can use our online Python compiler. You just need the internet and a browser to get started.

By the way, our online interpreter is completely free.

Python online compiler


For: Beginner     Pricing: Free

When you install Python, IDLE is also installed by default. This makes it easy to get started in Python. Its major features include the Python shell window(interactive interpreter), auto-completion, syntax highlighting, smart indentation, and a basic integrated debugger.

IDLE is a decent IDE for learning as it’s lightweight and simple to use. However, it’s not optimum for larger projects.

Python�s Integrated Development and Learning Environment

3. Sublime Text 3

For: Beginner, Professional     Pricing: Freemium

Sublime Text is a popular code editor that supports many languages including Python. It’s fast, highly customizable, and has a huge community.

It has basic built-in support for Python when you install it. However, you can install packages such as debugging, auto-completion, code linting, etc. There are also various packages for scientific development, Django, Flask, and so on. Basically, you can customize Sublime text to create a full-fledged Python development environment as per your need.

You can download and use evaluate Sublime text for an indefinite period of time. However, you will occasionally get a pop-up stating “you need to purchase a license for continued use”.

Sublime text for Python development

Learn more:

4. Atom

For: Beginner, Professional     Pricing: Free

Atom is an open-source code editor developed by Github that can be used for Python development (similar Sublime text).

Its features are also similar to Sublime Text. Atom is highly customizable. You can install packages as per your need. Some of the commonly used packages in Atom for Python development are autocomplete-python, linter-flake8, python-debugger, etc.

Personally speaking, I prefer Atom to Sublime Text for Python development.

Atom for Python development

Learn more:

5. Thonny

For: Beginner     Pricing: Free

Thonny is a Python dedicated IDE that comes with Python 3 built-in. Once you install it, you can start writing Python code.

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Thonny is intended for beginners. The user interface is kept simple so that beginners will find it easy to get started.

Though Thonny is intended for beginners, it has several useful features that also make it a good IDE for full-fledged Python development. Some of its features are syntax error highlighting, debugger, code completion, step through expression evaluation, etc.

Quick Tip: If you are a beginner, go to View and click variables. This will open a view that contains your program’s variable list and its values.

Thonny IDE

6. PyCharm

For: Professional     Pricing: Freemium

PyCharm is an IDE for professional developers. It is created by JetBrains, a company known for creating great software development tools.

There are two versions of PyCharm:

  • Community – free open-source version, lightweight, good for Python and scientific development
  • Professional – paid version, full-featured IDE with support for Web development as well

PyCharm provides all major features that a good IDE should provide: code completion, code inspections, error-highlighting and fixes, debugging, version control system, and code refactoring. All these features come out of the box.

Personally speaking, PyCharm is my favorite IDE for Python development.

The only major complaint I have heard about PyCharm is that it’s resource-intensive. If you have a computer with a small amount of RAM (usually less than 4 GB), your computer may lag.


7. Visual Studio Code

For: Professional     Pricing: Free

Visual Studio Code (VS Code) is a free and open-source IDE created by Microsoft that can be used for Python development.

You can add extensions to create a Python development environment as per your need in VS code. It provides features such as intelligent code completion, linting for potential errors, debugging, unit testing, and so on.

VS Code is lightweight and packed with powerful features. This is the reason why it becoming popular among Python developers.

VS Code

8. Vim

For: Professional     Pricing: Free

Vim is a text editor pre-installed in macOS and UNIX systems. For Windows, you need to download it.

Some developers absolutely adore Vim, its keyboard shortcuts, and extendibility whereas, some just hate it.

If you already know how to use Vim, it can be a good tool for Python development. If not, you need to invest time learning Vim and its commands before you can use it for Python.

You can add plugins for syntax highlighting, code completion, debugging, refactoring, etc. to Vim and use it as a Python IDE.

VIM for Python development

9. Spyder

For: Beginner, Professional     Pricing: Free

Spyder is an open-source IDE usually used for scientific development.

The easiest way to get up and running up with Spyder is by installing Anaconda distribution. If you don’t know, Anaconda is a popular distribution for data science and machine learning. The Anaconda distribution includes hundreds of packages including NumPy, Pandas, scikit-learn, matplotlib, and so on.

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Spyder has some great features such as autocompletion, debugging, and iPython shell. However, it lacks features compared to PyCharm.

Spyder IDE

What makes a good Python IDE or code editor?

Integrated Development Environments (IDEs) is software that bundles all the tools you use for writing and testing their programs, all wrapped in a neat toolkit. Each IDE includes different tools, but each includes a text editor to write code, build tools for automatic compiling and a debugger that points out potential errors.

Specialized IDEs can contain much more advanced tools as well, such as visual coding support and AI integration.

Code editors (CEs) are lightweight alternatives to IDEs. CES contains tools to write code, like a text editor with automatic syntax highlighting and simple bug catching, but avoid the complex tools included in IDEs.


Features you need for a Python IDE or CE

Syntax highlighting: Automatic highlighting for different types of syntax is essential for readability, For example, all variable names are white, all keywords are orange, etc. so you can understand what you’re looking at in just a glance.

Automatic code formatting: IDEs and CEs that support Python can automatically indent, add colons, and include missing end brackets all according to Python’s style rules. This means you can spend less time fiddling with formatting and more time coding.

Debugging: While different tools vary in how hands-on the debugging process is, it’s good to at least have the ability to step your code gradually to track changes. Ideally, you want a tool that will point out and highlight potential errors even before runtime.

Build automation: Your chosen tool should allow you to write and run Python code in the same window. Copy and pasting source code to external compilers to run it will cost you extra time and add unnecessary confusion.

Save and reload: All IDEs and CEs should include some way to save and reload code in the same state. The best tools go beyond this and include version control, which allows you to revert to previous builds if needed.


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