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Getting Python interpreters & Libraries & other cool stuff

Python Tools for Visual Studio does not bundle any interpreters or libraries with the installer. Grabbing these bits is pretty easy and they all have good installers. We strongly recommend grabbing one of the major Python distributions, but you can install the various pieces individually as well:

Distributions We've tested PTVS with Enthought's EPD and with ActiveState's ActivePython, which you can pick up from

1. Enthought:

2. ActivePython:

Important note: In either distribution, if you want to use the IPython REPL inside of Visual Studio, you should pick up the latest version (.11+) - see below
Interpreters We recommend getting your CPython interpreter from a standard Distro.  However for a minimal install, you install an interpreter directly as well…

Note that PTVS supports both CPython and IronPython. CPython support is new and you can choose any version from 2.4 to 3.x. CPython is a great choice if you care about most about compatibility and maximum number of libraries, etc. IronPython is a great choice if you care about maximum .Net interoperability.

1. CPython is available at, click Download on left tab.

2. IronPython is available at

You can set the version of your interpreter via Tools/Options
Key libraries If you've installed one of the main distributions, you probably already have your key libraries installed. To get them directly:

NumPy/SciPy are available at:

For information on NumPy/SciPy for .Net see this page.

NumPy/SciPy for .Net is a port of the libraries to .Net. It uses Cython as a backend to generate optimized code for .Net. These libraries can be used from IronPython, F#, C#, ...; The development work for NumPy/SciPy.Net was done by Enthought, inc.
IPython REPL PTVS comes with a built-in REPL for Python. The IPython REPL is also supported as an alternate. If you are an IPython fan (we are!), you can use the main REPL features, system commands, and the Windows HPC interactive computing:

IPython is available at

Here's a short video of IPython using WindowsHPC to scale demo program:
Sho REPL Sho is another advanced REPL with built-in support from PTVS (eg debugging).  It uses IronPython & the .Net frameworks.

More information is available here.
Solver Foundation Solver Foundation is an optimization & modeling framework built on .Net.

More information is available here.
HPC support PTVS provide HPC Cluster & MPI debugging support for Python.  You need the HPC SDK to enable this.

More information is available here.
Kinect support Kinect sample - You need the Kinect SDK to enable this.



If you run into any problems or have questions, please post them on Discussions forum.

Last edited Jan 17, 2012 at 5:49 PM by dinov, version 9


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