Creating Command-line Scripts in Python

Python is a versatile programming language that offers a wide range of functionalities, including the ability to create command-line scripts. Command-line scripts allow users to run Python programs directly from their computer's terminal or command prompt, without the need for a graphical user interface (GUI).

Getting Started

To get started with creating command-line scripts in Python, you need to have Python installed on your computer. You can check if Python is installed by opening your terminal or command prompt and typing python --version. If you see a version number displayed, it means Python is already installed. Otherwise, you can download and install Python from the official Python website.

Writing a Command-line Script

Command-line scripts in Python are essentially a series of instructions defined in a Python script file. To create a command-line script, you need to follow these steps:

  1. Open your preferred text editor and create a new file with a .py extension, such as
  2. Begin the script by adding a shebang line at the top of the file. The shebang line tells the operating system which interpreter to use to execute the script. For Python scripts, the shebang line is typically #!/usr/bin/env python.
  3. Write the script's code, which will be executed when the script is run.
  4. Save the script file.

It's important to note that the script file needs to be executable. On Unix-like systems, you can make the file executable by running chmod +x in the terminal. On Windows, you can change the file extension to .pyw to make it executable.

Accepting Command-line Arguments

One of the advantages of command-line scripts is the ability to accept command-line arguments, allowing users to input values or specify options when running the script. Python provides the argparse module, which makes it easy to define and parse command-line arguments.

To use the argparse module, you first need to import it at the beginning of your script using the following statement:

import argparse

Next, you can define the command-line arguments using the ArgumentParser class provided by argparse. For example, to create a script that accepts a filename as an argument, you can add the following code snippet:

parser = argparse.ArgumentParser()
parser.add_argument("filename", help="the name of the file to process")
args = parser.parse_args()

In this example, the parser.add_argument() method is used to define the required filename argument. The help parameter provides a description of the argument that is displayed when users run the script with the --help option.

To access the argument value within your script, you can use args.filename, where args is the variable storing the parsed arguments.

Running the Script

To run a command-line script, open your terminal or command prompt and navigate to the directory where the script file is located. Then, simply type the script filename preceded by python.

For example, if you have a script named, you can run it by executing the following command:


If the script accepts additional arguments, you can include them after the script filename. For instance, if the script expects a filename argument, you can run it with:

python myfile.txt


Creating command-line scripts in Python allows you to build powerful and flexible tools that can be easily executed from the terminal or command prompt. By accepting command-line arguments, your scripts can become even more versatile in their functionality. With the help of the argparse module, handling command-line arguments becomes a straightforward task. So go ahead and start building your own command-line scripts in Python today!

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