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  • Writer's pictureMagdalena Konkiewicz

Jupyter notebook autocompletion

Most of the programmers are fairly familiar with different autocompletion tools. However, I have noticed that many Data Scientists do not use it, at least not early enough in their career or education. If you are one of them the time has come to start using this productivity tool

What is auto-completion?

It is a functionality provided by your programming environment to complete the code you are writing. It has been a blessing for most of the programmers' and it will be for you if you start using it now. These are only a few advantages of using autocompletion:

  • Time saving. You will not have to type this long variable any more!

  • Fewer bugs. So how many times your code did not run because you mistyped your variable. And then when you corrected it, you found the same typo just on another line. And it took only 30 mins to discover all small typos while debugging your code. Not anymore, welcome autocomplete.

  • A quick lookup of objects methods and attributes. You can use autocomplete to see the methods and attributes of the object without looking at the documentation.

Jupyter notebook autocompletion

How can you use Jupyter notebook autocompletion? The good news is: you do not install anything as it comes with the standard jupyter notebook set up. To start using autocompletion you have to start typing your variable name and hit the tab button on your keyboard. When you do it the box with the completed suggested variable names will appear just like on the screenshot below:

In the example above I have typed ‘my_va’ and hit the tab button. Autocompletion has suggested that there are two variable names that start with ‘my_va’ and that I could use my_variable_1 and my variable_2. If there was just one variable available for the prefix that I have typed instead of showing the choice dropdowns, autocompletion would type the whole variable name for me.

Autocompletion for classes

If you want to create a new object you can use autocompletion as well. The example below shows autocompletion for ‘pd.Dat’ :

Autocompletion for methods and objects attributes

If you have created an object already and assigned it to some variable you can use autocompletion to access the list of methods and parameters available with the typed prefix. As you can see here the data frame has several methods and params that start with a letter d.

Autocompletion for modules

Last but not least you can use autocompletion to import the names of your modules. So you almost remember how this library with many cool algorithms was called but not fully. You can use autocomplete to help you. Just below there is a list of suggestions for importing modules staring with ‘ma’ prefix.


I have presented several usages of autocompletion in jupyter notebook and I hope I have convinced you to start using it (if you have not been doing that yet). So from now on, there are no excuses and you should introduce autocompletion to your code writing routine.

Do you use autocompletion for anything else that I have not pointed out here? I am sure there are other ways that Data Scientists use it. If you have a suggestion share it below.

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