Skip to main content
Version: 2.8 (deprecated)


Open a REPL for interactive development.

Pants will load a REPL with all of your specified source code and any of its third-party dependencies, which allows you to import those values.


In addition to the default Python shell, Pants supports the improved IPython shell.

To use IPython, run ./pants repl --shell=ipython. To permanently use IPython, add this to your pants.toml:

shell = "ipython"

You can change IPython's version with --ipython-version:

version = "ipython>=6.0.0"

If you set the version lower than IPython 7, then you must set ignore_cwd = false in the [ipython] section to avoid Pants setting an option that did not exist in earlier IPython releases.

IPython does not yet work with Pantsd

When using IPython, use the option --no-pantsd to turn off the Pants daemon, e.g. ./pants --no-pantsd repl --shell=ipython. We are working to fix this.

Python 2 support

Pants uses IPython 7 by default, which does not work with Python 2. You can override version to use IPython 5. As mentioned above, you must set ignore_cwd = false.

version = "ipython<6"
ignore_cwd = false

You can even use IPython 7 for Python 3 code, and IPython 5 for Python 2 code:

version = "ipython==7.16.1 ; python_version >= '3.6'"
extra_requirements.add = ["ipython<6 ; python_version == '2.7'"]
ignore_cwd = false


$ ./pants repl helloworld/greet/

Python 3.7.6 (default, Feb 26 2020, 08:28:08)
[Clang 11.0.0 (clang-1100.0.33.8)] on darwin
Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information.
>>> from helloworld.greet.greeting import Greeter
>>> Greeter().greet("Pants")
'buenas tardes, Pants!'
>>> from translate import Translator
>>> Translator(to_lang="fr").translate("Good morning.")

This will not load any of your code:

$ ./pants --no-pantsd repl --shell=ipython

Python 3.6.10 (default, Feb 26 2020, 08:26:13)
Type "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information.

IPython 5.8.0 -- An enhanced Interactive Python.
? -> Introduction and overview of IPython's features.
%quickref -> Quick reference.
help -> Python's own help system.
object? -> Details about 'object', use 'object??' for extra details.

In [1]: 21 * 4
Out[1]: 84

./pants repl :: will load all your code.

Tip: how to exit the REPL

Either type exit() and hit enter, or press ctrl+d.