How to Set a Default Environment for Anaconda and Jupyter

Learn how to set a default environment for your Anaconda and Jupyter workflows for a seamless and streamlined data science experience.

How to Set a Default Environment for Anaconda and Jupyter

As a data scientist, you’ve likely encountered Anaconda, the popular open-source distribution that simplifies package management and deployment for Python and R projects. Jupyter, on the other hand, is an interactive computing environment that supports multiple programming languages and provides tools for creating and sharing live code, equations, visualizations, and more.

In this blog post, we’ll explore how to set a default environment for Anaconda and Jupyter, allowing you to streamline your workflow and save time when working on multiple projects. By following these steps, you’ll be able to create a consistent environment that works seamlessly across all of your data science tasks.

What are Anaconda Environments and Why Are They Important?

Anaconda environments, also known as conda environments, are isolated spaces where packages, dependencies, and configurations can be managed separately. This allows you to work on different projects with varying requirements without any conflicts.

In a data science project, you might need specific versions of libraries or packages to ensure compatibility and functionality. By creating a default environment, you can guarantee that the necessary packages and dependencies are always available when you open Anaconda or Jupyter.

Creating a Default Environment in Anaconda

To create a default environment in Anaconda, follow these steps:

  1. Install Anaconda: If you haven’t already, download and install Anaconda for your operating system.

  2. Open Anaconda Prompt: Launch the Anaconda Prompt (Windows) or terminal (macOS/Linux) to access the command line interface.

  3. Create a new environment: To create a new environment, use the conda create command followed by the -n flag and the desired environment name. For example, to create a new environment named “default_env” with Python 3.8, run:

    conda create -n default_env python=3.8

    You can also add packages during environment creation by listing them after the Python version. For example, to include NumPy and pandas, run:

    conda create -n default_env [python]( numpy pandas
  4. Activate the environment: To activate the newly created environment, use the conda activate command followed by the environment name:

    conda activate default_env

    Your command prompt should now show the active environment in parentheses. For example:

    (default_env) C:\Users\YourUsername>
  5. Install additional packages: To install additional packages in your default environment, use the conda install command followed by the package names. For example, to install Jupyter, run:

    conda install jupyter

    You can also use the pip install command if a package is not available through conda.

  6. Deactivate the environment: To deactivate the environment when you’re done working, use the conda deactivate command. This will return you to the base environment.

Setting the Default Environment for Jupyter

To set the default environment for Jupyter, you’ll need to create a new Jupyter kernel that points to the Anaconda environment. Here’s how:

  1. Activate the default environment: If you haven’t already, activate the default environment using the conda activate command:

    conda activate default_env
  2. Install the ipykernel package: To create a new Jupyter kernel, you’ll need the ipykernel package. Install it using the conda install command:

    conda install ipykernel
  3. Create a new Jupyter kernel: To create a new Jupyter kernel that points to the default environment, use the ipython kernel install command followed by the --user flag and the --name flag with the desired kernel name. For example:

    ipython kernel install --user --name=default_env_kernel
  4. Launch Jupyter Notebook or JupyterLab: To launch Jupyter Notebook or JupyterLab, use the [jupyter notebook]( or [jupyter]( lab command, respectively:

    jupyter notebook


    jupyter lab
  5. Select the default environment kernel: In Jupyter Notebook or JupyterLab, create a new notebook and select the kernel you created earlier (e.g., “default_env_kernel”) from the kernel selection menu.

Now, every time you create a new Jupyter notebook, you can select the default environment kernel to work in your preferred environment.


Setting a default environment for Anaconda and Jupyter can significantly streamline your data science workflow, ensuring that you always have the necessary packages and dependencies at your fingertips. By following the steps outlined in this blog post, you’ll be well on your way to a more efficient and productive data science experience.

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