Changing Python Versions with Conda: A Step-by-Step Tutorial

Changing Python versions with Conda doesn’t have to be a headache. With just a few commands, you can switch between different versions of Python quickly and easily. Whether you need to run a specific script or test your code on different versions, Conda makes it a breeze.

Step by Step Tutorial: Changing Python Versions with Conda

Before we dive into the steps, it’s important to understand that Conda is a package manager and environment manager that allows you to switch between Python versions without affecting other projects. It’s perfect for managing multiple projects with different dependencies.

Step 1: Open your terminal or command prompt

The first thing you need to do is open up your terminal or command prompt. This is where you’ll enter all of the commands to change your Python version.

Opening your terminal will allow you to access the Conda commands. If you’re using a Mac, you can find the terminal in your Applications folder under Utilities. For Windows users, the command prompt can be accessed by searching for "cmd" in the start menu.

Step 2: Check your current Python version

To check your current Python version, type python --version or python -V in your terminal. This will show you the version of Python that is currently active in your environment.

Knowing your current version of Python is useful for reference, and it lets you confirm that the version has changed after you complete the process.

Step 3: List all available Conda environments

Type conda env list to see a list of all your Conda environments. Each environment can have a different Python version, so it’s good to know what you have available.

This list will show you all of the environments you’ve created, along with the path to their directories. You might have an environment already set up with the version of Python you need.

Step 4: Activate the environment with the desired Python version

If you see an environment with the version you need, activate it by typing conda activate environment-name. Replace environment-name with the actual name of your environment.

Activating an environment will switch your terminal to use the Python version associated with that environment. It’s like stepping into a room where everything is set up just the way you need it.

Step 5: Create a new environment if necessary

If you don’t have an environment with the Python version you need, create one by typing conda create -n new-env-name python=x.x, replacing new-env-name with your chosen environment name and x.x with the version number.

Creating a new environment is like building a new room from scratch, where you can install just the things you need for your project. Once it’s set up, you can switch to it anytime using the activate command from Step 4.

After completing these steps, your terminal or command prompt will be running the Python version you chose. You can now run your scripts or projects in this environment without affecting others.

Tips: Making the Most of Changing Python Versions with Conda

  • Always remember to deactivate your current environment before activating another one or creating a new one.
  • Keep your Conda updated to avoid any compatibility issues when creating new environments or installing packages.
  • Use descriptive names for your environments to easily remember which is for which project or Python version.
  • Delete environments that you no longer use to free up space and reduce clutter.
  • Explore the use of .yml files for environment creation to make reproducing your environment on other machines or for other team members a breeze.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Conda?

Conda is a package and environment management system that simplifies the process of handling different versions of software and their respective dependencies.

Can I have multiple Python versions installed at the same time with Conda?

Yes, you can have multiple environments, each with different Python versions, installed on your machine without conflict.

How do I know which Python versions are available to install?

You can search for available versions by using the command conda search python.

How do I remove an environment in Conda?

To remove an environment, use the command conda env remove -n environment-name.

Is it possible to export an environment in Conda?

Yes, you can export your environment to a .yml file using conda env export > environment.yml. This is useful for sharing or replicating the environment elsewhere.


  1. Open your terminal or command prompt.
  2. Check your current Python version.
  3. List all available Conda environments.
  4. Activate the environment with the desired Python version.
  5. Create a new environment with a specific Python version if necessary.


Navigating through different Python versions doesn’t have to be a daunting task. With Conda, you can easily manage and switch between environments tailored for your various projects. It’s a powerful tool that not only keeps your projects organized but also ensures that they run smoothly with the correct versions and dependencies. By following the straightforward steps outlined in this guide, you’ll be able to change Python versions with ease, giving you the flexibility to work on any project, regardless of its requirements.

The ability to switch environments is particularly useful when collaborating with others, as it ensures everyone is working with the same setup. It also allows you to test your code across different versions of Python, which is essential for maintaining compatibility and identifying potential issues early on.

Remember, changing Python versions with Conda is an easy guide away. So next time you need to switch versions, don’t panic—just Conda! And if you ever get stuck, the vast Conda community is always there to help you out. From forums to documentation, there’s a wealth of resources available to assist you on your Python journey. Happy coding!