I currently use Pycharm and it's become quite bothersome to open the entire application, wait for it to index, wait a bit more for it to stop lagging (even though I have 16GB RAM), and finally be able to access a functional console.

Any interactive consoles similar to IDLE out there that are sleek/robust but lightweight (if that means not having an editor at all - that's just fine).


EDIT: I run on OS X.

  • 1
    This question could use more detail: What exactly do you like about IDLE (it's not enough to say "similar to IDLE"), and why are you excluding IDLE itself from consideration?
    – John Y
    Jun 7 '18 at 13:35
  • We don't accept question that exclude a particular product without saying why. So please: 1) Remove any mention of IDLE in your question. If you want specific features that are in IDLE, just describe them without citing IDLE 2) Ask me to reopen the question. 3) Write an answer about IDLE, but do not accept it, and tell that other answers are very welcome. 4) Wait for other answers to appear, potentially written by people who don't know IDLE. Thanks! This has potential to be a great question :-)
    – Nicolas Raoul
    Nov 2 '18 at 2:51

Try Terminal.app, which is shipped with Mac OS X. Python has a built-in interactive mode that works with any VT100-compatible terminal emulator, including Terminal.app.


Have a look at Jupyter, you can also install Jupyter using Anaconda or pip. See more details here: Installing Jupyter using Anaconda

Also check out Bluefish.

Bluefish is a powerful, lightweight editor targeted towards programmers and webdevelopers, with many options to write websites, scripts and programming code. Bluefish supports many programming and markup languages

Another superlight alternative will be Geany

Geany is a text editor using the GTK+ toolkit with basic features of an integrated development environment. It was developed to provide a small and fast IDE, which has only a few dependencies from other packages.


The best thing like this that I've found is DreamPie. The website is here, and you can get an idea of its look and feel there, but you are probably better off installing the version from Github. (I also have a fork on Bitbucket with some tweaks.)

DreamPie is a lightweight GUI wrapper around the interactive Python shell. It has a two-pane layout where you type code in one pane and the output (along with the executed code) appears in the other pane. It has some simple but handy features, such as autocompletion, the ability to display function/class documentation or source code in a tooltip, the ability to fold long output, etc.

However, there are a number of caveats. The main one is that to run it you have to use Python 2. DreamPie itself, as I said above, is a wrapper around Python, and it can wrap Python 3, so you can use DreamPie to use Python 3. But the wrapper itself only runs in Python 2, largely because it depends on pygtksourceview, which doesn't appear to be available for Python 3. So if you want to use Python 3 with it you need both Python 2 and Python 3 installed.

I've been using it for years and am pretty addicted to it. Unfortunately the original author doesn't seem to do much in the way of maintenance and the project is moribund. Nonetheless, it's an extremely useful tool. (More recently I've been working on creating something similar that can run on Python 3, but it's still a work in progrss.)


You could try Thonny. It is multi-platform, lightweight and it contains an editor and a shell.


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