This documentation covers IPython versions 6.0 and higher. Beginning with version 6.0, IPython stopped supporting compatibility with Python versions lower than 3.3 including all versions of Python 2.7.

If you are looking for an IPython version compatible with Python 2.7, please use the IPython 5.x LTS release and refer to its documentation (LTS is the long term support release).

IPython extensions

A level above configuration are IPython extensions, Python modules which modify the behaviour of the shell. They are referred to by an importable module name, and can be placed anywhere you’d normally import from, or in .ipython/extensions/.

Getting extensions

A few important extensions are bundled with IPython. Others can be found on the extensions index on the wiki, and the Framework :: IPython tag on PyPI.

Extensions on PyPI can be installed using pip, like any other Python package.

Using extensions

To load an extension while IPython is running, use the %load_ext magic:

In [1]: %load_ext myextension

To load it each time IPython starts, list it in your configuration file:

c.InteractiveShellApp.extensions = [

Writing extensions

An IPython extension is an importable Python module that has a couple of special functions to load and unload it. Here is a template:


def load_ipython_extension(ipython):
    # The `ipython` argument is the currently active `InteractiveShell`
    # instance, which can be used in any way. This allows you to register
    # new magics or aliases, for example.

def unload_ipython_extension(ipython):
    # If you want your extension to be unloadable, put that logic here.

This load_ipython_extension() function is called after your extension is imported, and the currently active InteractiveShell instance is passed as the only argument. You can do anything you want with IPython at that point.

load_ipython_extension() will not be called again if the user use %load_extension. The user have to explicitly ask the extension to be reloaded (with %reload_extension). In case where the use ask the extension to be reloaded, , the extension will be unloaded (with unload_ipython_extension), and loaded again.

Useful InteractiveShell methods include register_magic_function(), push() (to add variables to the user namespace) and drop_by_id() (to remove variables on unloading).

You can put your extension modules anywhere you want, as long as they can be imported by Python’s standard import mechanism. However, to make it easy to write extensions, you can also put your extensions in extensions/ within the IPython directory. This directory is added to sys.path automatically.

When your extension is ready for general use, please add it to the extensions index. We also encourage you to upload it to PyPI and use the Framework :: IPython classifier, so that users can install it with standard packaging tools.

Extensions bundled with IPython

  • octavemagic used to be bundled, but is now part of oct2py. Use %load_ext oct2py.ipython to load it.
  • rmagic is now part of rpy2. Use %load_ext rpy2.ipython to load it, and see rpy2.ipython.rmagic for details of how to use it.
  • cythonmagic used to be bundled, but is now part of cython Use %load_ext Cython to load it.
  • sympyprinting used to be a bundled extension, but you should now use sympy.init_printing() instead.