I'm looking for a python interpreter, it can be command line, or have a GUI, I don't really care (or an emacs plugin, would work also, actually).

What I'm looking for is real-time text-highlighting, and backwards search through previous lines. Most interpreter/shells have up-arrow, so you can scroll through previous commands, I'd like to be able to search backwards, like in bash, for example. Additional features would be great, but those are the two that I'm really annoyed by the lack of.

I'm on a mac, but I have coworkers on Windows, so either would be appreciated.

3 Answers 3


Have you considered using IPython? It is an interactive shell with lots of powerful features like syntax highlighting and history. It works on all major platforms.

If you have problems with installation on Mac/Windows, try Anaconda or similar Python distributions - made to get up running quickly.

  • I was looking at ipython. For some reason, text highlighting didn't happen for me. I'll have to try it again Aug 15, 2016 at 14:35
  • For some reason, iPython doesn't syntax highlight, but jupyter does. anyone know the reason for that? Aug 15, 2016 at 15:01
  • ah, I was using an old iPython. that works now. Thanks! Aug 15, 2016 at 15:15

pyscripter is a good one to have. It take some time for to get understand that software.

https://sourceforge.net/projects/pyscripter/ . There is more information if you google it.

  • Great IDE, but the product neither has a community nor a software eco-system around it. I would not recommend pyscripter these days. Aug 16, 2016 at 8:23
  • @SaschaGottfried Tell me why ? I use it when I worked on python that can read through ArcGIS. Is there a particular a reason why you don't recommend it ?
    Aug 16, 2016 at 14:43

I'd suggest bpython, which has many nice features - like text-highlighting, code-completion with suggestions displayed as you type, expected parameter-list as you type, auto-indentation, etc. http://www.bpython-interpreter.org/

  • 1
    Please do not write link-only answers. Explain why this would be a solution for the OP.
    – user416
    Aug 17, 2016 at 7:47
  • Thanks for pointing me to this. It is a lightweight option, a vibrant community and a good explanation why it is different to the IPython ecosystem. Aug 30, 2016 at 8:42

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