Anaconda Python distribution includes command line package manager named Conda and a graphical user interface called Anaconda Navigator. They both used to launch applications, create, manage packages and conda environments. In this guide, we will learn how to get started with Anaconda Navigator graphical user interface in Linux.
What is Anaconda Navigator?
Anaconda Navigator is a desktop graphical user interface to conda package and environment manager. It allows us to launch applications and easily create environments, install and manage packages in a conda environment. No need to deal with commands. All can be done via a simple GUI.
From Anaconda Navigator GUI, we can;
- Launch IDE applications (E.g Spyder),
- Create a new Conda environment,
- Mange Conda environments,
- Install packages into the specified Conda environment,
- List packages in a Conda environment,
- Update conda packages,
- Search for packages,
- Clean unused packages,
- Remove packages from environments,
- Browse online documentation,
- And more.
Anaconda Navigator GUI comes with Anaconda Individual edition, so you don't have to bother about installation.
Get started with Anaconda Navigator
First, activate conda environment using command:
$ conda activate
Then launch Anaconda Navigator GUI:
This is how the default interface of Anaconda Navigator looks like:
As you can see, Anaconda Navigator displays the currently installed default environment named "base" on the top and the list of available IDEs in the right pane of the home screen.
On the left pane, there is Environments tab where you can find the list of all available conda environments and the packages installed in each environment. As stated already, the "base" environment is created and activated by default.
You will also see two other tabs namely "Learning" and Community" on the left pane. They will help you to find learning materials (documents and videos) to learn data science and machine learning.
Manage IDE Applications
As of writing this guide, the latest Anaconda distribution includes 10 IDEs in total and 6 IDEs comes pre-installed by default. They are;
- IBM Watson Studio Cloud,
- Jupyter Notebook,
- Qt Console,
1. Launch IDE applications
To launch an IDE, for example Spyder, simply click the "Launch" button below the Spyder application.
The default interface of Spyder IDE will look like below.
Start writing your code here.
2. Install IDEs
To install new IDE, for example Orange, simply click the install button.
3. Install a specific IDE version
Anaconda installs most recent IDEs. You can, however, install a specific version. To do so, click the gear button next to the IDE and choose "Install specific version" and choose the version your want to install from the list.
4. Update IDEs
To update an already installed application, click the gear button and "Update application" option.
5. Remove IDEs
If you don't want any IDE application, click gear button and choose "Remove application" option.
Create Conda environments
By default, only one environment named base (root) is available. You can create many new environments per your requirements.
To do so, click the Environments tab on the left pane and click "Create" button on the bottom. Next, enter the name of the environment, choose the Python version for the environment and click Create button.
Once you hit the Create button, a new conda environment will be created with all required packages and automatically activated.
As you see here, I have two environments, the default base (root) environment and ostechnix_env. The currently active environment is the one with the arrow next to its name.
You can switch between the environments by simply clicking on the environment that you want to use.
By default, Navigator installs the same Python version you used when you downloaded and installed Anaconda. If you want to use different Python version for a conda environment, choose any other available version of your choice from the Packages selection drop-down box.
As stated already, when you create a new conda environment, all required packages for that environment will be installed.
Click on a conda environment to view the list of installed packages in that environment:
To search for an installed package, use the "Search Packages" box on the right pane.
The above step will only search the packages that are already installed. You can change the selection of packages from the right pane at any time by clicking the drop-down box above it and selecting Installed, Not Installed, Updatable, Selected, or All.
Clone conda environments
We can create the exact copy of an environment by creating a clone of it. To clone an environment, select it and click the Clone button at the bottom. Enter the descriptive name to the new clone and click Create button.
Delete conda environments
If you don't want an environment anymore, simply get rid of it. To do that, choose the environment, and hit the Delete button.
The environment and all installed packages in that environment will be gone.
Managing Python and R packages and environments made easier with Anaconda Navigator. If you're newbie, you can make use of it to get things done quickly with couple mouse clicks. In our forthcoming guides, we will see how to do all of the aforementioned tasks from commandline.