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Import Jupyter Notebooks notebooks as Python modules

Video tutorial

Live Coding Demo: Using Jupyter Notebooks as Python Modules with Margo Loader.

Demo Notebooks


To install margo-loader, run:

pip install git+

Importing a notebook

Assuming you have a file called "notebook.ipynb":

import margo_loader
import notebook


Not every cell in a Notebook makes sense to include in its module representation.

If you want to prevent a cell from being exported, start the cell with the specially-formatted comment line # :: ignore-cell ::, like this:

# :: ignore-cell ::
print("This code will not be executed when imported with margo-loader")

This special code comment is called a Margo note. Margo notes in Python cells begin with # :: to differentiate them from regular comments, and end with ::.

Learn more about the underlying Margo syntax here.

An alias for ignore-cell is skip. So this does the same thing:

# :: skip ::
print("This code will not be executed when imported with margo-loader")

Creating virtual submodules

You can organize code cells into virtual submodules within a notebook. This in effect allows you to group cells from the same notebook. Here's an example of a few cells from the file test_notebooks/greetings.ipynb in this repo.

# greetings.ipynb
# :: submodule: "grumpy" ::
def say_hello(to="world"):
    return f"Oh, uhh, hi {to}..."
# greetings.ipynb
# :: submodule: "nice" ::
def say_hello(to="world"):
  return f"Hello, {to}! Nice to see you."

Notice we define the same say_hello function twice. If the entire notebook were imported, the second say_hello would overwrite the first. However, we can import either of these submodules or both using Python's standard import syntax once we import margo_loader.

>>> import margo_loader
>>> from test_notebooks.greetings import nice, grumpy
>>> nice.say_hello()
'Hello, world! Nice to see you.'
>>> grumpy.say_hello()
'Oh, uhh, hi world...'

Prevent a notebook from being imported

To prevent a notebook from being imported, use:

# :: not-a-module ::


# :: do-not-import ::

These are currently aliases with the same behavior. If you try to import a notebook that contains a do-not-import/not-a-module declaration, it will raise an exception.

Skipping multiple cells

If you want to ignore a lot of cells during import, you can use

# :: stop-module ::


# :: start-module :: 

to exclude blocks of cells.

Any cell including and after a cell that contains stop-module will be excluded during import until a start-module cell is encountered.

Conversely, any cell including and after a cell that contains start-module will be excluded during import until a stop-module is encountered.

Note that you can also use start and stop instead of start-module and stop-module. These are aliases.

You can use stop-module with no subsequent start-module. This will have the effect of ignoring all subsequent cells.

Working with percent-formatted notebooks

This library works with Jupyter Notebooks (.ipynb files) as well as python files with percent cell formatting using the file extension .pynb. These are plain source Python files that use # %% to split the document into cells. Read more here.

Look at test_notebooks/hello_notebook_pynb.pynb in this repo for an example of a code-cell notebook.

STABILITY NOTE: This is an alpha feature. The .pynb extension may be changed in a future version

Prior art

This project borrows its implementation approach from a Jupyter Notebook documentation example that imports notebooks in their entirety as if they were .py files. The key difference Margo Loader adds is use of Margo notes to create preoprocessor directives ignore-cell and submodule.


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  • Python 67.3%
  • Jupyter Notebook 32.3%
  • Shell 0.4%