How to clear screen in python terminal

When working with the python interactive shell, you may end up having a cluttered screen. For Windows and Linux users, one can run cls or clear to clear their screens. But this doesn't seem to cut it while working in the python shell. Here are a few quick tips to achieve this in python.

We need to get into python shell first 😆. To do this, type python in your terminal or if you want to access the Django DB shell, python shell will suffice.

first method

The simplest method is using ctrl+l for Linux/OS X terminals.

second method

Another handy way is by using the os module that ships with the standard python library. This module provides a portable way of using operating system dependent functionality.

from os import system

clear = lambda: system('clear')

We are utilising python's lambda functions to achieve this functionality. By calling on the underlying os clear function for UNIX based system and assigning that to our newly created clear function.

This way if we want to clear the screen we can call the function like so clear()

for windows systems, the following would work just as well.

from os import system

cls = lambda: system('cls')

and call the function in the python shell by running cls()

Note that you don't have to declare the function as clear or cls. You can name them whatever you want, as long as you use that name when calling them.

Other useful tricks you can use with the os module

Getting the current working directory

import os

In my case, this returned '/Users/me/Projects'

Changing the current working directory


This should work similar to cd .. returning '/Users/me'

listing items in a directory


similar to the ls command.

get currently logged in user operating the terminal


For more information on the os module, check out the documentation

Thanks for reading and feel free to contact me if you have any questions on twitter.


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