Lesson 3. Code and Markdown Cells in Jupyter Notebook


Learning Objectives

After completing this page, you will be able to:

  • Create new Code and Markdown cells within Jupyter Notebook.
  • Run Code and Markdown cells within Jupyter Notebook to execute Python code and render Markdown text.
  • List useful shortcuts for common tasks in Jupyter Notebook.

Work With Python Code and Markdown Cells in Jupyter Notebook

Recall that a Jupyter Notebook file consists of a set of cells that can store text or code.

  • Text Cells: Text cells allow you to write and render Markdown syntax. This is where you can describe and document your workflow.
  • Code Cells: Code cells allow you to write run programming code (e.g. Python).

Create New Cells

You can use either the Menu tools or Keyboard Shortcuts to create new cells.

FunctionKeyboard ShortcutMenu Tools
Create new cellEsc + a (above), Esc + b (below)Insert→ Insert Cell Above OR Insert → Insert Cell Below
Copy CellcCopy Key
Paste CellvPaste Key

While the default cell type for new cells is Code, you can change the cell type of any existing cell by clicking in the cell and selecting a new cell type (e.g. Markdown) in the cell type menu in the toolbar.

Cell type options include Code, Markdown, Raw NBConvert (for text to remain unmodified by nbconvert), and Heading.

 You can change the cell type of any cell in Jupyter Notebook using the Toolbar. The default cell type is Code.
You can change the cell type of any cell in Jupyter Notebook using the Toolbar. The default cell type is Code.

To use the Keyboard Shortcuts, hit the esc key. After that, you can change a cell to Markdown by hitting the m key, or you can change a cell to Code by hitting the y key.

Run Cells

Python Code Cells

You can run any cell in Jupyter Notebook (regardless of whether it contains Code or Markdown) using the Menu tools or Keyboard Shortcuts.

FunctionKeyboard ShortcutMenu Tools
Run CellCtrl + enterCell → Run Cell

For example, you can add a new Code cell and then run the following Python code (e.g. 3 + 4). Your result, or output, will be displayed below the Code cell that you run.

3 + 4 
7

Markdown Cells

You can run Markdown cells in the same way that you can run code cells. However, when you run a Markdown cell, the text formatted using Markdown syntax will be rendered as stylized text.

This means that headings are larger and bold, bulleted lists have bullets next to them instead of *, and regular text looks normal. No outputs will appear below the Markdown cell.

For example, the Markdown syntax below represents 3 headers. You can double-click in any Markdown cell to see the raw Markdown syntax, which for the cell below would appear like this raw Markdown syntax:

### This is a subtitle in Markdown

#### This is a smaller subtitle

##### This is an even smaller subtitle

To see the Markdown as stylized text, run the cell. It should look like the text printed below:

This is a subtitle in Markdown

This is a smaller subtitle

This is an even smaller subtitle

Rearrange Cells in a Jupyter Notebook

You can change the order of cells within Jupyter Notebook using the up arrow and down arrow buttons on the menu bar. To do this, click inside the cell that you want to move and then press the desired arrow as many times as you need to move the Cell to the desired location.

You can use the menu bar in Jupyter Notebook to move cells within the Jupyter Notebook file.
You can use the menu bar in Jupyter Notebook to move cells within the Jupyter Notebook file.

Clear Results in Jupyter Notebook

Sometimes, you may want to clear any output results that have been produced. You can do this using the Menu:

Menu Tools
Cell -> Current Outputs -> Clear

This will clear the current cell that you are working in, which you can activate by clicking in a cell.

You can also clear all of the output using the Menu Tools.

Menu Tools
Cell -> All Output -> Clear

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