Canopy 2.1: Managing and switching between Python 2.7 and 3.5 environments


Canopy 2.0 allowed you to use either Python 2.7 or Python 3.5, but not both.

In Canopy 2.1, internet-connected users can create, manage, and switch between multiple Python 2.7 and 3.5 environments, with different environments containing different package sets. When you switch to a particular Python environment in Canopy 2.1, it is used throughout Canopy -- in the Package Manager, Editor, Python panel, Debugger, Data Import Tool, Jupyter Notebook, and Canopy Command Prompt / Terminal.

On Windows, Canopy 2.1.1 and above provide eight predefined environments:

  • Python 2.7 or Python 3.5
  • Standard or Full package sets
  • either 64-bit normal Python build, or 32-bit legacy-compatible Python build.

On either Mac or Linux, Canopy 2.1.1 and above provide four predefined environments:

  • Python 2.7 or Python 3.5
  • Standard or Full package sets
  • all 64-bit.

In Canopy 2.3, you will be able to use different Python environments (2.7, 3.5, or 3.6) simultaneously in different Canopy windows.

We recommend the Standard package set for most users. Full package sets are only recommended for permanently disconnected users who won't be able to connect to the internet to use the Package Manager, and for administrators installing for multiple users who themselves won't be authorized to use the Package Manager. For most other users, installing the full package set will be a waste of time, bandwidth and disk space, and will result in all subsequent "Update all packages" operations being unnecessarily complex and time-consuming.

The 32-bit legacy-compatible build on Windows is rarely appropriate, except for users who need to interface their Python code with 32-bit applications or libraries (for example 32-bit Excel, using PyXLL).

Installer choices

As a convenience, we provide a downloadable Canopy installer corresponding to each of these environments, but you can start with any installer and subsequently create / use any of the other predefined environments for your OS.

Usually you will select the installer that best fits your normal needs, and it will provide your default User Python environment. 

For details, see "Installing a new Canopy version => Which Canopy installer should I download?".


Post-installation environment management

When you want to use a different environment, the Python tab in Canopy 2.1's Preferences dialog has a section that allows you to create and remove Python environments, and to select which of these will be used in Canopy.

You can create a new environment based on the same package set that is included with the Canopy installer that you used, or you can select another of the predefined "environment bundles" for your OS described above. Installing and environment from one of these bundles requires an Internet connection.

Only one environment can be in active (in use) at a time. Changing which environment is active requires Canopy to be restarted.

For step-by-step instructions, please see "Switching Python Environments", in the Canopy 2.1 Documentation.

Disconnected users

Canopy 2.1 does not yet provide a multi-environment solution for disconnected users. You can only use the environment corresponding to the last Canopy installer that you installed (and whose environment you accepted.) A solution is forthcoming.

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