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Text Fabric is a Python(3) package on the Python Package Index, so you can install it directly with pip3 or pip from the command line.



Your computer should be a 64-bit machine and it needs at least 3 GB RAM memory. It should run Linux, Macos, or Windows.

close other programs

When you run the Text-Fabric browser for the first time, make sure that most of that minimum of 3GB RAM is actually available, and not in use by other programs.


3.6+ 64 bit

Install or upgrade Python on your system to at least version 3.6.3.

Go for the 64-bit version. Otherwise Python may not be able to address all the memory it needs.


The leanest install is provided by

You can also install it from

on Windows?
  • Choose Anaconda over standard Python. The reason is that when you want to add Jupyter to the mix, you need to have additional developers' tools installed. The Anaconda distribution has Jupyter out of the box.
  • When installing Python, make sure that the installer adds the path to Python to your environment variables.
  • Install Chrome of Firefox and set it as your default browser. The Text-Fabric browser does not display well in Microsoft Edge, for Edge does not support the details element.
on Linux?
  • On Ubuntu 18.04 Python 3.6 is already installed.
  • But you have to install pip3 in order to add the Python package text-fabric.
sudo apt install python3-pip


Install Text-Fabric:

pip3 install text-fabric
pip install text-fabric
to 3 or not to 3?

From now on we always use python3 and pip3 in instructions.

On Windows you have to say python and pip. There are more differences, when you go further with programming.

Also, if you use Anaconda, whether on Windows or Mac or Linux, it is pip.

Advice: if you are serious on programming, consider switching to a Unix-like platform, such as Linux or the Mac (macos).

on Linux?
  • On Ubuntu the text-fabric script ends up in your ~/.local/bin directory, but this is not on your PATH.
  • You need to execute your .profile file first by:
source ~/.profile

You need to do this every time when you open a new terminal and want to run Text-Fabric. If you get tired of this, you can add this to your .bashrc file:

export PATH

Upgrade Text-Fabric:

pip3 install --upgrade text-fabric

TF apps and data

In order to work with a corpus you need its data.

For some corpora there is a TF app, which takes care of downloading and updating that data.

Corpora tells you how to install and update a TF app and get the corpus data.

Jupyter notebook

Optionally install Jupyter as well:

pip3 install jupyter
Jupyter Lab

Jupyter lab is a nice context to work with Jupyter notebooks. Recommended for working with the the tutorials of Text-Fabric. Also when you want to copy and paste cells from one notebook to another.

pip3 install jupyterlab
jupyter labextension install jupyterlab-toc

The toc-extension is handy to get an overview when working with the lengthy tutorial. It will create an extra tab in the Jupyter Lab interface with a table of contents of the current notebook.

Node version

Jupyter lab is an interesting off-spring from the marriage between the Python world and the Javascript world.

It is still in beta, and there are rough edges.

In order to install lab extensions you need to have Node installed.