Where is julia specific documentation for Jupyter notebook?

I have been using the Jupyter notebook interface to learn Julia and to document what I have learned and done/fixed. I had started with the julia REPL from a mintty terminal (cygwin) on win7 but was not able to iterate as I worked.

When I started with the Jupyter notebook, I searched for documentation on usage and found lots of information based on IPython and not much luck with Julia-specific docs. By taking the notebook Help->User Interface Tour and browsing the keyboard shortcuts I was able to run julia commands. However, I couldn’t find a way to show the julia help documentation as in the julia REPL ? mode.

I eventually found a site (at Stanford) on configuring and using the Jupyter interface which showed that the ; could be used for shell commands, and that the ] could be used for package mode commands. After those successes, I tried using ? as a prefix and was delighted to see that it (finally) showed me the help information I had been missing.

Am I missing something that would have made this more “discoverable”?

I think the cells in Jupyter notebooks accept any REPL commands. So you would just need to look at the regular Julia documentation.


Just type question mark ("?") followed by the command for which you want to display the documentation and evaluate the cell. There is no need for any configuration, as @tbeason said.

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Where is this documented? As I mentioned, I found lots about IPython but nothing for IJulia (that I could tell). It may be that I don’t know the keywords for a search…

Thanks. As a julia ecosystem beginner, I was looking for where the julia-specific notebook information was. I hope it won’t be “duh, how did I miss that” but if there isn’t something obvious, I would like to contribute to making things more “discoverable”.

I am well aware of just how difficult it is to write intro docs for beginners once you become an expert (in pretty much anything). :slight_smile:

No specific place in particular, but there are great tutorials: here is a recent one that I enjoyed particularly. Here the speaker shows how to access Julia’s documentation with “?”.

Intermediate documentation is available at the IJulia.jl package page.

Moreover, if you have further questions, this is the place to ask them!

It seems that this information is not in julia/jupyter documentation at a discoverable location. (I’m not counting 3rd party sites and videos as official documentation).

I guess the question then is where should this information be placed in julia/jupyter documentation to avoid other beginners having this problem?

It is possible that after I understand the julia ecosystems better, I can clarify the question statement or submit a PR appropriately at that time.

Thanks to all who responded!

It is documented in the Julia manual and one expects IJulia to behave like the REPL, which is why it is not documented in IJulia. For instance you can check that the package prompt “]” also works within IJulia.


I started with the julia REPL and was happily using it. I didn’t see anything in the julia REPL documentation addressing IJulia/Jupyter notebooks interaction.

As I started to work with jupyter notebooks I could not find documentation for IJulia or Jupyter notebooks that said that it worked this way. Admittedly, this is obvious once you know it but I think it would be valuable to be stated explicitly. I’m still not sure where the sentence should be added.

BTW: I’m really enjoying using notebooks as I learn Julia! Editing and revising the notebook allows me to resume sessions and log the working code versionns with outputs and notes.

It is written in the first sentence of the IJulia README.md

IJulia is a Julia-language backend combined with the Jupyter interactive environment (also used by IPython). This combination allows you to interact with the Julia language…

I agree, it is obscure if one is not used to this technical language.

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IJulia is a Julia-language backend combined with the Jupyter interactive environment (also used by IPython).

There is nothing in the introductory sentence that indicates that you can enter key sequences from the juila REPL in the jupyter notebook to get the same effect as the shell, package, or help modes.

On re-reading the IJulia README.md I think the explicit statement regarding this feature probably would fit well in some of the later material on this document. I’ll see if I can come up with a PR and proposed wording.

Thanks for continuing to follow up.

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Yes, it would be good to note in the IJulia README that ? (help) and ] (pkg) and ; (shell) are supported similar to the REPL (although they don’t switch to a different prompt), as well as ans (or Out[<cell number>] for the result of the last-executed cell.

You can also get pop-up help (similar to ?) by typing shift-tab after any symbol (this is a Jupyter feature, not specific to IJulia).