The IDLE editor for Python

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Python comes with an editor named IDLE (named for Eric Idle, the Monty Python performer.)

IDLE is discussed in the Miller/Ranum textbook on pp. 9–10.

This document is not a complete introduction to IDLE

Instead, it is designed to provide some hints, tips and tricks that may not be immediately obvious, and pointers to work arounds for problems that may arise in working with IDLE in CS8

If, instead, you want some general information about IDLE, try these links:



Common problems

IDLE can't bind TCP/IP port 8833...

A common problem that occurs when using IDLE is this:

The way to fix this problem, as simplistic as it sounds, is usually to wait about 30 seconds, and try again.

IDLE can't bind TCP port...


Recalling previous commands at the Python prompt in IDLE

(This one is mainly for instructors, and others who are "old hands" and command line interfaces.)

Those who've worked with command line interfaces may be used to hitting the "up arrow" to bring back previous commands in IDLE. Instead, in IDLE, the up arrow moves you around the screen. This can be frustrating at first, but the IDLE folks are convinced that this is a less confusing behavior for beginning programmers.

In the meantime, for the "old school" folks there are two different work arounds, using opposite strategies:


Last update: P. Conrad, 05/24/2009

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