getting started with scratch


What is Scratch?

Scratch is a graphical programming language developed by the Lifelong Kindergarten group at the MIT Media Lab. In Scratch, you can drag and combine code blocks to make a range of programs, including animations, stories, musical instruments, and games. It’s a bit like the programming equivalent of building blocks!

A screenshot of Scratch.

Scratch is used in many schools as part of the curriculum. It is free, and young people can use it at home as well as in clubs.

Scratch allows young people to learn coding concepts and create interactive projects without needing to learn a text-based programming language. You will not need to be able to type quickly or remember complex code to use Scratch.

How to use this reference guide

If you have not used Scratch before, then this guide will help you to set up and create your first project.

You can return to this guide and use it to look up information that you need when you are making your own projects in Scratch.

At the end of the guide you will find links to paths of Scratch projects, from beginner through to advanced, where you can learn coding by making fun and interesting apps, games, stories, animations, art and music.


  • A computer or tablet capable of running Scratch 3


  • This guide will explain how to get started with Scratch 3 (either online or offline)

Set up Scratch

You can use Scratch on a laptop or desktop computer, or on a tablet. You can also use Scratch on a Raspberry Pi computer.

Open a web browser on your computer or tablet and visit to open a new project in the Scratch editor. Scratch will open in a new tab in your web browser.

Tip: You can also visit and then click on Create.

If you need to work offline (without an internet connection), then you can download Scratch and install it on a computer.

You cannot work offline if you are using a tablet.

If you are using a Raspberry Pi computer, Scratch may already be installed. Click on the Raspberry Pi icon to open the menu, then click on Programming, then select Scratch 3.

If you need to install Scratch, follow this process:

  • Click on the Raspberry Pi icon to open the menu
  • Click on Preferences
  • Click on Recommended Software
  • Select Scratch 3
  • Click on OK

Recommended software dialogue with Scratch 3 selected.

See Scratch 3 Desktop for Raspberry Pi for more information.

When you use Scratch with this guide or one of our projects, you will need to switch between Scratch and the project instructions.

Click on (or on a tablet, tap) the title of a browser tab to switch between the Scratch editor and project instructions.

A browser with two tabs.

If your screen is big enough, you can view Scratch next to the project instructions.

Side-by-side instructions and Scratch.

If you are using Microsoft Windows 10, drag the Scratch tab in your web browser so that it is in a separate window, and keep dragging until the cursor reaches the right-hand edge of your screen. The window will then be positioned on the right-hand side of the screen.

Now, drag the window containing this guide or your project instructions to the left-hand side of your screen until the cursor reaches the left-hand edge. The window will take up the left half of your screen.

You can resize the windows to get them just the way you want.

Tip: You can also hold down the Windows key and press the Left arrow key or Right arrow key to position a window in the left or right half of your screen.

Try it now and see how you prefer to work.

When you are using Scratch in a web browser, you can zoom in or out to adjust the size.

For example, if you are using Microsoft Windows and you want to use zoom on a webpage in Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge, hold down the Ctrl key and press the + key or - key to zoom in or out.

You can also use the zoom controls in the Code area in Scratch to change the size of the code blocks in the Code area.

The zoom controls in the Code area.