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What is PyCharm?

PyCharm is an Integrated Development Environment (or IDE) for the Python programming language. It is a cross-platform development environment that is compatible with Windows, macOS, and Linux. It provides a tool that integrates code analysis, graphical debugging, unit testing, and an integrated terminal that supports development on remote hosts and virtual machines. 

JetBrains created PyCharm based on the IntelliJ IDEA platform. There are two main versions of PyCharm.

  • The PyCharm Community Edition: This development version is used without the framework options and other necessary features for writing Enterprise solutions.
  • The PyCharm Professional Edition: This version is used to develop software for large projects where frameworks and additional libraries are needed. This version contains support for Scientific and Python development and supports HTML, JS, and SQL.

For successful developers, it is crucial to have excellent tools that lessen their workload and save time. Additionally, PyCharm utilizes various plugins and extensions, written by both IntelliJ IDEA and other third-party contributors to increase functionality. The Professional Edition has a free trial period during which users can familiarize themselves with it and its use or the open-source Community Edition, which allows for continued free usage.

System Requirements


We begin the installation process by updating our server packages.

root@host:~# apt-get update -y && apt-get upgrade -y

Installation Methods

The default installation process recommended by JetBrains utilizes its Toolbox application to install PyCharm. For brevity, we have condensed the installation using a single terminal command noted below.

Using the Toolbox App 

The JetBrains Toolbox App is the primary tool needed to install PyCharm. It is used to install, maintain, update, rollback versions if needed, and also remove the tool. This app keeps a list of our projects to open any local project quickly in the selected IDE using the correct version. To download and install the Toolbox App from the JetBrains web page, we will run the following command.

root@host:~# curl -L https://raw.githubusercontent.com/nagygergo/jetbrains-toolbox-install/master/jetbrains-toolbox.sh | bash && sh /opt/jetbrains-toolbox/jetbrains-toolbox.sh
% Total % Received % Xferd Average Speed Time Time Time Current
 Dload Upload Total Spent Left Speed
100 1502 100 1502 0 0 3122 0 --:--:-- --:--:-- --:--:-- 3122
 Installing Jetbrains Toolbox

% Total % Received % Xferd Average Speed Time Time Time Current
Dload Upload Total Spent Left Speed
100 977 100 977 0 0 2026 0 --:--:-- --:--:-- --:--:-- 2022

Downloading Toolbox files

--2020-10-28 12:25:14-- https://download.jetbrains.com/toolbox/jetbrains-toolbox-1.18.7455.tar.gz
Resolving download.jetbrains.com (download.jetbrains.com)...,,, ...
Connecting to download.jetbrains.com (download.jetbrains.com)||:443... connected.
HTTP request sent, awaiting response... 302 Moved Temporarily
Location: https://download-cf.jetbrains.com/toolbox/jetbrains-toolbox-1.18.7455.tar.gz [following]
--2020-10-28 12:25:14-- https://download-cf.jetbrains.com/toolbox/jetbrains-toolbox-1.18.7455.tar.gz
Resolving download-cf.jetbrains.com (download-cf.jetbrains.com)...,,, ...
Connecting to download-cf.jetbrains.com (download-cf.jetbrains.com)||:443... connected.
HTTP request sent, awaiting response... 200 OK
Length: 93224317 (89M) [binary/octet-stream]
Saving to: ‘/root/jetbrains-toolbox-1.18.7455.tar.gz’

/root/jetbrains-toolbox-1.18. 100%[=================================================>] 88.91M 5.24MB/s in 17s
2020-10-28 12:25:32 (5.23 MB/s) - ‘/root/jetbrains-toolbox-1.18.7455.tar.gz’ saved [93224317/93224317]
Download complete!
Installing to /opt/jetbrains-toolbox

This action finalizes the install of the PyCharm toolbox locally on our system. Now, we need to select the PyCharm product type and the version we want to install. Run the jetbrains-toolbox binary file from the /opt/jetbrains-toolbox/ directory, to run the Toolbox application. Next, we select the product type and version to install. After implementing the Toolbox application, it will add the Toolbox App icon to the main menu automatically.

Standalone installation

Install Using Snap 

For later versions of Ubuntu, we can use a snap package to install PyCharm. PyCharm is shared in two main channels. The stable channel and the Edge channel. To set up the latest stable release of PyCharm, run the following command:

snap install pycharm-community --classic
The –classic option flag is needed because the snap for PyCharm calls for full administrative access to the system similar to a typical application.

Install Using .tar Archive

If snap packages are not available, we can download the installation file and then unpack the pycharm-*.tar.gz file to a folder of our choosing (assuming our the folder does not support file execution).

The recommended installation location, according to the PyCharm standard documentation, is /opt.

To install PyCharm in this directory, we use the following command:

wget https://download.jetbrains.com/python/pycharm-community-2020.2.3.tar.gz
tar xzf pycharm-*.tar.gz -C /opt/

We can verify the downloaded archive's integrity using the SHA checksum noted on the PyCharm download page.

Now, cd into the /opt/pycharm-*/bin subdirectory.

cd /opt/pycharm-*/bin

Next, run the pycharm.sh in the bin subdirectory.

sh pycharm.sh

A few more steps are required to complete the installation, customize your instance, and start working within the IDE.


Once PyCharm is installed, we can configure the environment in two areas: the project level and the global level.

Environment Settings

The global settings apply to all projects within a specific installation, or version, of PyCharm. These settings include the IDE's appearance, the type of notification settings, the plugins, debugging settings, and code completion options. To configure our IDE, select File >> Settings. We can also press Ctrl+Alt+S or click on the Settings/Preferences button located on the toolbar.

Settings that are NOT marked with the project icon in the Settings/Preferences dialog box are global configurations. These parameters apply to all active projects within the current version of PyCharm installed.

Global settings are noted within the Settings/Preferences dialog box.

Restore IDE settings 

When we restore a default IDE configuration, PyCharm will back up our setup to a chosen directory. We can always restore our settings from this backup location.

To back up our settings and chose the default to restore information, from the main menu, select File >> Manage IDE Settings >> Restore Default Settings. Alternatively, we can press the Shift button twice and then type in Restore default settings.

A popup similar to the one above will prompt us to confirm that we want to restore the default settings. Click the Restore and Restart button, and the IDE will then be restarted with the default setup. 

When PyCharm restores our default IDE settings, it makes a backup directory with our configuration in this folder: 


Apply IDE Settings

Next, we can apply those IDE settings using a backup from the main menu options in the main PyCharm interface. Select File >> Manage IDE Settings >> Import Settings. When the dialog box opens, select the chosen path of the backup directory and then click Open. PyCharm will then show us a confirmation popup. 

After we apply settings from the backup, those configurations are overwritten within our current IDE context.

Select Config Directory

We can also choose the configuration directory from a different PyCharm version or a .zip file. This assumes it includes the previously exported settings, apart from the backup configuration directory. Now, click the Restart button to apply the backup's restored settings and then restart the IDE.


Lastly, as a bonus, we can also open our GitHub, GitLab, or Bitbucket projects into our PyCharm IDE with a single click using a Google Chrome extension or Firefox Add-on extensions. GitHub Settings: File >> Settings/Preferences >> Version Control >> GitHub. The required plugins for Git and >GitHub are bundled and enabled by default in PyCharm. Additionally, we can integrate our GitHub repositories into PyCharm. This option lets us push and pull our work to GitHub!


PyCharm is an excellent choice for working in a stable, multi-functional IDE. Its benefits include a multitude of plugins and other enhancements which extend its capabilities in multiple ways.

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Avatar for David Singer

About the Author: David Singer

I am a g33k, Linux blogger, developer, student, and former Tech Writer for Liquidweb.com. My passion for all things tech drives my hunt for all the coolz. I often need a vacation after I get back from vacation....

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