What is the Python window?

ArcGIS 10.0 introduces a new embedded Python experience. The geoprocessing command line has been enhanced to be a fully interactive Python interpreter (or interface) now called the Python window. The Python window is an efficient and convenient location to use geoprocessing tools and Python functionality from within ArcGIS. The Python commands run from this window can range from single lines of code to complex blocks with logic. The Python window also provides a place to access additional functionality using custom or third-party Python modules and libraries.

The Python window also acts as a gateway to Python for those new to scripting, providing an intuitive interface that makes learning Python scripting in ArcGIS as easy as possible. In the Python window, various tool and method usage and syntax can be viewed or experimented with, and snippets of Python code can be entered or pasted into the window to test scripting ideas outside a stand-alone script. The Python window is a powerful mechanism for efficiently accessing and executing geoprocessing and scripting tasks and increasing productivity by placing Python functionality within ArcGIS Desktop applications.

Opening the Python window

The Python window can be opened within any ArcGIS Desktop application by clicking the Python Window button Python Window on the Standard toolbar.

Below shows how the Python window appears when first opened:

Python window as it appears when first opened

An overview of the Python window

Once opened, the Python window can be moved by clicking the bar at the top and dragging to your preferred location. The window can be docked or undocked.

The window prompts for the next command with the primary prompt, three greater-than signs (>>>), and continuation lines prompt with the secondary prompt, three dots (...).

Continuation lines are needed when entering a multiline construct. See the following example using an if statement:

Python window with Python code

The Python window contains two sections: