Discovering Which Python Version Your Jupyter Notebook is Using

Navigating the world of programming, especially when dealing with various environments and versions, can be a bit of a maze. One common tool that many data scientists and developers use is Jupyter Notebook. It's incredibly versatile, allowing for code, equations, visualizations, and narrative text all in one document. However, one question that often arises for users is: "How do I know which Python version my Jupyter Notebook is running?" Understanding this is crucial for compatibility and debugging issues. In this post, we'll explore how to easily find this information.

Why Knowing Your Python Version is Important

Before diving into the "how," let's briefly discuss why this matters. Different Python versions can have significant differences between them, especially when you're moving from Python 2 to Python 3. Libraries and modules may also behave differently or not be supported across versions, which can affect your code's execution. Knowing the exact Python version can help ensure that your projects run smoothly and that you're using compatible libraries.

Method 1: Using a Simple Line of Code

The most straightforward method to find out which Python version your Jupyter Notebook is running is by executing a simple line of code. This method utilizes the sys module, which comes with Python and doesn't require any additional installation. Here's what you need to do:

import sys

When you run this code in a cell in your Jupyter Notebook, it will print out a string that contains the version of Python that the notebook is currently using, along with additional information like the build date and compiler. This method is quick and effective.

Method 2: Checking Through the Kernel Name

Another way to identify the Python version is by looking at the kernel name your Jupyter Notebook is using. Jupyter allows you to switch between different kernels, meaning you can run notebooks with different programming languages and versions. To check the kernel and, indirectly, the Python version, follow these steps:

  1. Go to the "Kernel" menu in your Jupyter Notebook.
  2. Click on "Change kernel."
  3. Observe the list of available kernels.

The list will show you all the kernels you have installed, including those for different Python versions. While this method doesn't give you the detailed version information like the first method, it's a quick way to see which Python environments are available to your Jupyter Notebook.


Knowing which Python version your Jupyter Notebook is running can save you from many headaches, especially when dealing with version-specific libraries or syntax. The methods described above provide quick and easy solutions to determine your Python environment. Whether you're a seasoned developer or just starting out, understanding your tools is the first step towards efficient and effective programming. Happy coding!