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Python reigns as one of the most popular programming languages, with a wide range of programs and developer tools relying on it. In fact, your system likely already has at least one version of Python installed.

Many tools and Python development libraries require a particular version of Python. Thus, you may want to know where you can find information on your installed Python version. This can help you make decisions about compatibility, upgrades, and more.

This tutorial shows you how to check your Python version, for both Python 2 and Python 3. Here, you can find the command line method as well as a Python script method for retrieving the current Python version.

How to Check the Python Version from the Command Line

The Python command comes with a command line option of --version that allows you to see your installed version.

It works just as straightforwardly as it sounds. Enter the following command from your command line, and you should get an output similar to the one shown below:

python --version
Python 3.8.10

Python 2 vs Python 3

Some systems distinguish between Python 2 and Python 3 installations. In these cases, to check your version of Python 3, you need to use the command python3 instead of python.

In fact, some systems use the python3 command even when they do not have Python 2 installed alongside Python 3. In these cases, you only have the python3 command.

The command for checking the installed version of Python 3 remains otherwise the same - just use python3 with the --version option:

python3 --version

How to Check the Python Version from Python

You can also check your installed Python version from within Python itself. Using either a script or the Python shell, you can use one of the code snippets below to print your Python version.

Both options work equally well regardless of your system. The choice of which option to use really comes down to what format you want the output in.

Using sys

The sys module has a variable you can reference to get the current Python version. Below you can see an example of how the sys module’s version variable renders the current Python version. This code first imports the sys module then prints out the contents of the version variable:

import sys

3.8.10 (default, Jun 22 2022, 20:18:18)
[GCC 9.4.0]

As you can see, the sys.version variable contains more information about your installed Python version than just the number. For that reason, sys is a good module to turn to when you want more verbose version information.

Using platform

The platform module includes a function that fetches the current version of Python. The example code below uses this function to print the current Python version number. It first imports the platform module; then, the python_version function returns the version number to the print function:

import platform


The output from the platform.python_version is more minimal compared to the sys module’s version variable. This makes the platform module more useful for cases when you only need the version number. For example, this method helps when you want to design a program to parse the Python version and act accordingly.


With that, you have everything you need for checking your current Python version. The steps above cover you whether you need to see the Python version from the command line or from within a Python script.

You can continue learning about Python with our collection of Python guides. We cover everything from fundamental Python concepts to building Python web applications.

More Information

You may wish to consult the following resources for additional information on this topic. While these are provided in the hope that they will be useful, please note that we cannot vouch for the accuracy or timeliness of externally hosted materials.

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