Convert Jupyter Notebooks to .py


When working with Jupyter Notebooks, it’s common to end up with a notebook that contains all the code you need for your project. However, when it comes to sharing your work with others or deploying it to production, it’s usually better to have the code in a .py file.

A .py file is a standard Python file that can be executed by any Python interpreter. It’s also easier to read and understand than a Jupyter Notebook, which can contain a mix of code, markdown, and output.

In this beginner’s guide, we’ll cover how to convert your Jupyter Notebooks to .py files using two methods: the Jupyter Notebook interface and the command line. We’ll also discuss some best practices for working with .py files and how to avoid common pitfalls when converting notebooks.

So let’s get started!

Why Convert Jupyter Notebooks to .py Files?

Jupyter Notebooks are great for data exploration, visualization, and sharing ideas with others. However, when it comes to collaborating on larger projects or deploying code to production environments, it’s often better to work with plain Python files (.py).

Jupyter Notebooks can be difficult to version control, as changes made to the notebook can result in large JSON files containing both code and output. Additionally, notebooks can be resource-intensive and may not scale well for larger projects.

Converting Jupyter Notebooks to .py files can help alleviate some of these issues. By working with .py files, code can be more easily version controlled, tested, and deployed. It also allows for easier collaboration with team members who may not be familiar with Jupyter Notebooks.

Another advantage of working with .py files is that they can be used in a wider variety of development environments. While Jupyter Notebooks are primarily used for data science and machine learning workflows, .py files can be used in any Python development environment.

In summary, converting Jupyter Notebooks to .py files is a good practice for larger projects or when collaborating with team members who may not be familiar with Jupyter Notebooks. It allows for better version control, testing, and deployment of code while also enabling use in a wider variety of development environments.

How to Convert Jupyter Notebooks to .py Files

Jupyter Notebooks are an excellent tool for writing and running code, but sometimes it may be necessary to convert them to a .py file. A .py file is a Python script that can be executed from the command line or integrated into other programs. In this section, we’ll cover three methods for converting Jupyter Notebooks to .py files.

Using the Command Line

One way to convert a Jupyter Notebook to a .py file is by using the command line. First, navigate to the directory containing the notebook file in your terminal. Then, use the following command:

jupyter nbconvert --to script [YOUR_NOTEBOOK].ipynb

This will create a new .py file with the same name as your notebook in the same directory. You can then run the script using:

python [YOUR_NOTEBOOK].py

Using Jupyter Notebook UI

Another way to convert a Jupyter Notebook to a .py file is through the Jupyter Notebook UI. Open your notebook and click on “File” in the top left corner. In the dropdown menu, select “Download as” and then “Python (.py)”. This will download a .py file of your notebook to your default download location.

Using nbconvert Package

The nbconvert package provides additional ways of converting notebooks to various formats including .py files. To use this package, first install it by running:

pip install nbconvert

Then, navigate to your notebook directory in your terminal and run:

jupyter nbconvert --to script [YOUR_NOTEBOOK].ipynb

This will create a new .py file with the same name as your notebook in the same directory.

In conclusion, converting Jupyter Notebooks to .py files can be done using any of these three methods. Whether you prefer using the command line, Jupyter Notebook UI or nbconvert package, each method is simple and can be done with just a few steps.

Best Practices for Converting Jupyter Notebooks to .py Files

When converting Jupyter Notebooks to .py files, it is important to follow some best practices in order to ensure that your code works properly and is easy to understand. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

Avoid Hardcoding Values: Hardcoding values means manually inputting values into your code instead of using variables. This can make your code inflexible and difficult to update. Instead, use variables to store values that may change or need to be reused.

Use Relative Paths Instead of Absolute Paths: When importing files or accessing directories in your code, it is best practice to use relative paths instead of absolute paths. Relative paths are more flexible and can prevent errors if your code is moved or shared with others.

Clean Up Your Code Before Converting It: Before converting your Jupyter Notebook to a .py file, it is important to clean up your code by removing unnecessary cells, comments, and output. This will make your final code easier to read and understand.

Add Comments to Your Code: Adding comments to your code can help you and others understand what each section does. Comments are especially helpful when working with complex code or collaborating with others. Be sure to add comments that explain the purpose of each section of your code.

By following these best practices, you can ensure that your converted .py file is easy to read, maintain, and share with others.


After following the steps outlined in this guide, you should now be able to successfully convert your Jupyter Notebooks to .py files. This process can be especially useful for sharing your code with others who may not have access to Jupyter or for integrating your code into larger projects.

It’s important to note that while the .py file format is more widely recognized and used in traditional software development workflows, Jupyter Notebooks offer a unique set of benefits for data analysis and interactive computing. It’s up to you as the developer to determine which format best suits your needs.

In addition, it’s worth exploring other tools and options for sharing and collaborating on Jupyter Notebooks, such as GitHub, nbviewer, and Binder.

Overall, understanding how to convert Jupyter Notebooks to .py files is a valuable skill for any Python developer to have in their toolkit. With this knowledge, you can easily share your code with others and incorporate it into larger projects without sacrificing the benefits of interactive computing.
Interested in learning more? Check out our Introduction to Python course!

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