On my pi3 I have created a virtual environment with Python3.

I run my pi headless, using my Windows 10 PC. I access the pi with 3 apps: - PuTTY for terminal usage; - WinSCP for a file Explorer; and - TightVNC Viewer as a GUI interface (IDLE3)

I often use the VNC (GUI) to debug python scripts, which I find easier than a terminal session (PuTTY).

I wrote a few scripts in the virtual environment, using PuTTY, and I would like to now access them using the GUI interface (VNC) but I don't know how to do it! Is there a command I can execute in the IDLE3 Python shell that allows me access to the virtual environment?

  • Which VNC Server is running on the Pi ? The preloaded RealVNC Server or something you got via apt-get ?
    – flakeshake
    Jan 29, 2019 at 8:39
  • This is a general programming question (which is off-topic), but essentially you must start the virtual environment and run IDLE from there. Jan 29, 2019 at 8:43
  • @flakeshake I am using TightVNC Viewer as I indicated in my original question.
    – Gary
    Jan 30, 2019 at 17:23
  • @Dmitry Grigoryev I disagree with you... I didn't ask a question related to programming! My question is related to accessing a GUI interface within a virtual environment with a headless Rpi! Your suggestion was to 'start the virtual environment and then run IDLE from there'... I know that I can do that if my Rpi is connected to my monitor (HDMI) but I am trying to understand how I can do that when the Rpi is accessed through my network?
    – Gary
    Feb 1, 2019 at 18:39
  • Please answer: Which VNC server runs on the Pi ?? This is extremely important. Also, "virtual environment" has a very special meaning for Python programmers and i am 100% sure you are mixing up technical terms, making this question unanswerable.
    – flakeshake
    Feb 2, 2019 at 21:27

1 Answer 1


In a graphical environment, you must use a "terminal emulator" to access a terminal. I believe the program is just called "Terminal" in the "Start Menu" of the new (post-2016) desktop.

To start IDLE with(in) a virtual Python3 environment (venv) use following commands inside "Terminal":

cd ~/virtualenv_path/
source bin/activate
python3 -m idlelib.idle 

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