JupyterLab vs Notebook: Which is Best for You?


Python is a popular programming language that is widely used in data science, machine learning, and other related fields. JupyterLab and Jupyter Notebook are two popular tools used for Python programming. While both tools provide a similar environment for coding in Python, they have some differences that set them apart.

Jupyter Notebook is a web-based interactive computing environment that allows users to create and share documents that contain live code, equations, visualizations, and narrative text. It provides an easy-to-use interface for running code cells and organizing code into sections. Jupyter Notebook has been around since 2011 and has gained popularity among data scientists and researchers.

On the other hand, JupyterLab is a newer tool that was released in 2018. It is an advanced interactive development environment (IDE) that allows users to work with multiple files, consoles, and notebooks simultaneously. JupyterLab provides a more flexible and powerful environment than Jupyter Notebook.

In this blog post, we will compare the features of JupyterLab and Jupyter Notebook to help you decide which tool is best for you. We will cover the user interface, customization options, extension ecosystem, performance, and other relevant factors to consider when choosing between these two tools.

Whether you are a beginner or an experienced Python programmer, it is important to choose the right tool for your needs. Let’s dive into the details of each tool to help you make an informed decision.

Jupyter Notebooks

Jupyter Notebooks are a popular tool used by data scientists, researchers, and students to create and share documents that contain live code, equations, visualizations, and narrative text. Jupyter Notebooks allow users to combine code, text, and graphics into a single interactive document. They were initially developed for the Python programming language but now support over 40 different programming languages.

Pros of using Jupyter Notebooks:

Jupyter Notebooks have several advantages that make them an excellent tool for data analysis and scientific computing. Firstly, they provide an interactive environment that allows users to test and experiment with code snippets in real-time. This feature makes it easy to debug code and quickly identify errors. Secondly, Jupyter Notebooks allow users to document their work in a single file that can be easily shared with others. The notebooks can be exported as HTML or PDF files, making it easy to share findings with colleagues who do not use Jupyter. Finally, Jupyter Notebooks support a wide range of visualization libraries such as matplotlib, seaborn, and plotly. These libraries enable users to create charts, graphs, and other visualizations that help to communicate insights effectively.

Cons of using Jupyter Notebooks:

Although Jupyter Notebooks have many advantages, they also have some drawbacks. One of the main challenges associated with using Jupyter is version control. Since notebooks can be edited in real-time by multiple users simultaneously, it can be difficult to keep track of changes made by different team members. Additionally, large notebooks with complex code can become slow and unresponsive due to memory constraints. Finally, since notebooks allow users to mix documentation with code execution, it can be challenging to separate the two when working on large projects.

Overall, Jupyter Notebooks are an excellent tool for data analysis and scientific computing. They provide a flexible environment for experimentation and documentation that makes it easy to share findings with others. However, they also have some limitations that users should be aware of when working on large and complex projects.


JupyterLab is an interactive development environment (IDE) that allows you to work with notebooks, code editors, terminals, and other development tools in a single window. It is built on top of the Jupyter Notebook and provides a more flexible and powerful environment for data science and scientific computing.

What is JupyterLab?

JupyterLab is a web-based user interface for working with Jupyter notebooks, code files, and data. It provides a modern and intuitive user interface for creating, editing, and executing code in Python and other programming languages. With JupyterLab, you can easily switch between different file types and work with multiple files at once.

Pros of using JupyterLab

One of the biggest advantages of using JupyterLab is its flexibility. It allows you to customize your workspace by adding and removing panels, changing their layout, and even creating your own extensions. This makes it easy to tailor the IDE to your specific needs.

Another advantage of JupyterLab is its support for multiple languages. While it was originally designed for Python, it now supports more than 50 different programming languages, including R, Julia, and JavaScript.

JupyterLab also has excellent integration with Git and GitHub, making it easy to manage version control for your projects. You can use the built-in Git panel to commit changes, push/pull code from remote repositories, and resolve merge conflicts.

Cons of using JupyterLab

One potential downside of JupyterLab is that it can be more resource-intensive than the traditional Jupyter Notebook. This is because it runs as a server in your web browser and requires more memory and processing power to run smoothly.

Another disadvantage of JupyterLab is that it has a steeper learning curve than the traditional Notebook. While the Notebook has a simple interface that anyone can learn quickly, JupyterLab requires some additional configuration and setup to get started.

Overall, JupyterLab is a powerful and flexible IDE that provides a modern and intuitive user interface for data science and scientific computing. While it may not be the best choice for everyone, it is definitely worth considering if you are looking for a more advanced development environment for your projects.

Key Differences Between Jupyter Notebooks and JupyterLab

Jupyter Notebooks and JupyterLab are two popular notebook interfaces for interactive computing. While they share many similarities, there are some key differences to consider when deciding which one to use.

User Interface

One of the main differences between Jupyter Notebooks and JupyterLab is their user interface. Jupyter Notebooks have a simpler interface where each notebook is displayed as a separate tab in the browser. The interface consists of a toolbar and a code cell area where users can write and run code, as well as markdown cells for documentation.

On the other hand, JupyterLab has a more comprehensive interface that allows users to manage multiple notebooks, text editors, terminals, and other tools in a single window. It has a left sidebar that provides access to file explorers, running kernels, and other activities. Users can drag and drop tabs to create custom layouts and workspaces.

File Management

Another difference between Jupyter Notebooks and JupyterLab is the way they handle file management. In Jupyter Notebooks, files are organized in a linear fashion with each notebook saved as a separate file on the local machine. This makes it easy to share notebooks via email or upload them to cloud storage services.

In contrast, JupyterLab allows users to manage files in a more flexible manner by providing access to local files and remote servers through its left sidebar. Users can open multiple tabs for different files or directories, move files around using drag-and-drop, and even edit files directly from the file explorer.

Extensions and Plugins

JupyterLab also offers more extensibility options than Jupyter Notebooks. It has a built-in extension manager that allows users to install third-party plugins for additional functionality such as version control integration, code formatting, and debugging tools. Users can also create their own extensions using web technologies such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

In contrast, Jupyter Notebooks have limited extension options and require users to install additional packages or create custom scripts to add new functionality.

In summary, both Jupyter Notebooks and JupyterLab have their own strengths and weaknesses. Jupyter Notebooks are great for simple projects that require a straightforward interface, while JupyterLab is ideal for more complex projects that require advanced file management and extensibility options. Ultimately, the choice between the two depends on the specific needs of each user.

Which Should You Choose?

When it comes to choosing between JupyterLab and Jupyter Notebook, the decision depends on your specific needs and preferences.

If you are new to Jupyter and want a simple and easy-to-use interface, then Jupyter Notebook might be the better choice for you. It has a user-friendly interface and is ideal for small projects and data exploration.

On the other hand, if you are working on complex projects or require more advanced features such as code debugging, then JupyterLab might be the better choice. It offers a more comprehensive environment with advanced features such as terminal access, file browser, and multiple tabs.

Another factor to consider when making your choice is the type of kernel you will be using. JupyterLab supports multiple kernels including Python 3, R, Julia, and more. This makes it a great option if you are working with multiple programming languages.

In conclusion, both JupyterLab and Jupyter Notebook are great tools for data science and analysis. The best one for you will depend on your specific needs and preferences. So take some time to try them both out and see which one works best for you.


After comparing JupyterLab and Notebook, it is clear that both tools have their own strengths and weaknesses. JupyterLab provides a more modern and flexible interface with many useful features such as multiple tabs, drag and drop functionality, and a command palette. On the other hand, Notebook has a simpler interface with a focus on code execution and visualization.

Choosing between JupyterLab and Notebook ultimately depends on your specific needs and preferences. If you need to work with multiple files or want to customize your workspace, then JupyterLab may be the better choice. However, if you prioritize simplicity and straightforward code execution, then Notebook may be more suitable for you.

It is worth noting that both JupyterLab and Notebook are built on the same underlying technology and share many of the same core features. So, regardless of which tool you choose, you will still have access to powerful interactive computing capabilities.

In conclusion, whether you choose JupyterLab or Notebook depends on your personal preferences and requirements. Both tools are excellent for interactive computing and data analysis in Python, so feel free to experiment with both of them to find out which one works best for you!
Interested in learning more? Check out our Introduction to Python course!

How to Become a Data Scientist PDF

Your FREE Guide to Become a Data Scientist

Discover the path to becoming a data scientist with our comprehensive FREE guide! Unlock your potential in this in-demand field and access valuable resources to kickstart your journey.

Don’t wait, download now and transform your career!

Pierian Training
Pierian Training
Pierian Training is a leading provider of high-quality technology training, with a focus on data science and cloud computing. Pierian Training offers live instructor-led training, self-paced online video courses, and private group and cohort training programs to support enterprises looking to upskill their employees.

You May Also Like

Deep Learning, Tutorials

ChatGPT API Python Guide

Introduction Welcome to this tutorial on using the ChatGPT API from OpenAI with Python! ChatGPT is a state-of-the-art language model that can generate human-like responses to text-based inputs. With its ability to understand context and generate coherent responses, ChatGPT has become a popular tool for chatbots and conversational agents in a variety of industries. In […]

Deep Learning, Natural Language Processing, Tutorials

TensorFlow LSTM Example: A Beginner’s Guide

Introduction LSTM (Long Short-Term Memory) is a type of Recurrent Neural Network (RNN) that is widely used in deep learning. It is particularly useful in processing and making predictions based on sequential data, such as time series, speech recognition, and natural language processing. TensorFlow is an open-source platform for machine learning developed by Google Brain […]

Deep Learning

JAX vs PyTorch: Comparing Two Deep Learning Frameworks

Introduction Deep learning has become a popular field in machine learning, and there are several frameworks available for building and training deep neural networks. Two of the most popular deep learning frameworks are JAX and PyTorch. JAX is a relatively new framework developed by Google, while PyTorch is a well-established framework developed by Facebook. Both […]