Jupyter, IPython, Colab Quick Help and Autocomplete

How to autocomplete and quickly access help or documentation in Python?

For interactive shell, you can use IPython.

For interactive notebook, you can use Jupyter or Colab.

  • To autocomplete, just press tab key [1]. A notable difference in Colab is pressing tab key after typing an open parenthesis for a method or a class will show its documentation [3].
  • To quickly access documentation, type ? before or after an object and press the run key [2, 3].
  • To quickly access documentation including the source code, type ?? before or after an object and press the run key [2].

The run key for IPython, Jupyter and Colab:

IPython Jupyter Colab
enter shift+enter shift+enter

Historically speaking, Colab comes from Jupyter and Jupyter comes from IPython (Interactive Python).

IPython -> Jupyter -> Colab


  1. https://ipython.readthedocs.io/en/stable/interactive/reference.html#command-line-completion
  2. https://ipython.readthedocs.io/en/stable/interactive/reference.html#dynamic-object-information
  3. https://colab.research.google.com/notebooks/basic_features_overview.ipynb#scrollTo=d4L9TOP9QSHn