person programming in Python on a Mac computer

How to Run Python in VS Code on Mac (Step-by-Step)

To use Python in Visual Studio Code (VS Code) on a Mac, you need to follow these steps to set up your environment properly:

Install Python

  • Make sure you have Python installed on your Mac. You can download it from the official Python website.
  • After installation, you can verify the installation by opening the Terminal and typing python3 --version. You should see the Python version number.

Install Visual Studio Code

Install the Python extension for VS Code

  • Open VS Code.
  • Go to the Extensions view by clicking on the Extensions icon in the Activity Bar on the side of the window or by pressing Cmd+Shift+X.
  • Search for Python and find the extension by Microsoft.
  • Click Install to install the Python extension.

Configure the Python Interpreter

  • Open the Command Palette in VS Code by pressing Cmd+Shift+P.
  • Type Python: Select Interpreter and select it.
  • Choose the Python interpreter you want to use from the list (it should detect the Python installations on your system).

Create or open a Python file

  • Create a new file with a .py extension or open an existing Python file.

Run Python code

  • You can run Python code by right-clicking in the editor window and selecting Run Python File in Terminal, or by using the play button in the top right corner when a Python file is open.

How to Install Python Libraries on a Mac

Here’s how you can achieve the equivalent in Python using virtualenv and pip directly in a terminal on a Mac:

First, you need to install virtualenv if it’s not already installed:

pip install virtualenv

Create a new virtual environment named my-python:

virtualenv my-python

Activate the virtual environment:

source my-python/bin/activate

Install the required packages using pip within the virtual environment:

pip install matplotlib numpy pandas scipy seaborn scikit-learn keras statsmodels plotly ecos scs QuantLib tensorflow

This set of commands will create a virtual environment named my-python and install the listed packages into it. Remember to activate the virtual environment (source my-python/bin/activate) each time you want to use it. When you’re done, you can deactivate it by typing deactivate.


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