Making Telegram Bots with Python

tbhaxor profile image Gurkirat Singh ・13 min read

Course Outline

Prerequisite Knowledge and Requirements

  1. Basic python knowledge
  2. Telegram Account

About Course

In this course, you will start creating a bot from scratch, discovering all possible settings to utilize all power of Bot API and creating a real-world application. All this by using Python and Telegram Bot

Codes / Projects

All the snippets and projects related to this course will be found in projects directory

NOTE : If you will be making any educational project regarding this course, I would like to encourage you to send a PR regarding the same, here

What are Bots

  • Simple telegram accounts operated by an application
  • Not actually designed for chatting
  • Can be used to simplify the task
    • Teach
    • Play
    • Search
    • Broadcast
    • Remind
    • Connect
  • Users can interact with them via
    • Message
    • Emoticons
    • Commands
    • Inline requests

Setting up Telegram Bot

  1. Open telegram and search for BotFather
  2. Send /start command to start and associate the account with yours
  3. Send /help command to show the help
  4. Send /newbot command and follow the instruction
  5. Send /mybots command to list your bot, select the desired bot
  6. Click on API Token

Understanding Other Bot Settings

  1. Send /mybots command to list your bot, select the desired bot
  2. Click on "Bot Settings" and you will see various options.
  3. Click on "Inline Mode". If you want the bot to accept inline messages beyond the commands.
  4. Now you can click on Back to Bot button and click on Edit Bot button. Here you can customize your bots like setting a bot description (what it does, what it is used for etc), setting a bot about and profile picture.

NOTE: While changing the profile picture, botfather expects you to upload a valid image file.

Limitation of the Bot

  1. Only user can initiate the chat
  2. The download limit is 20MB and upload limit is 50MB only
  3. Send messages limit is capped up to 30 msg per second. However, you can ask @botsupport to increase it.

With this limitation, comes another power, bots can edit own messages and another's messages in the channel where the bot has admin rights

Getting messages from Telegram

There are two ways to get user messages from telegram.


It's a way of asking Telegram every X seconds whether any new message has come, and receive messages or asks later from telegram.

Web Hooks

It's a way in which telegram sends all updates to the URL that has been configured to accept messages as soon as the user sends new messages.

HTTP Interface of Bots API

Documentation: https://core.telegram.org/bots/api

Available Method: https://core.telegram.org/bots/api#available-methods

Base URL: https://api.telegram.org/bot[BOT_API_KEY]/[methodName]

Getting bot description

Method Name: getMe

In my case,

  "ok": true,
  "result": {
    "id": 920296790,
    "is_bot": true,
    "first_name": "TELE BOT",
    "username": "tel_ebot",
    "can_join_groups": true,
    "can_read_all_group_messages": false,
    "supports_inline_queries": false

Getting new messages

Available Methods: https://core.telegram.org/bots/api#getting-updates
Method Name: getUpdates

In my case

  "ok": true,
  "result": [
      "update_id": 643663200,
      "message": {
        "message_id": 3,
        "from": {
          "id": 517852228,
          "is_bot": false,
          "first_name": "Gurkirat",
          "last_name": "Singh",
          "username": "username_of_the_sender",
          "language_code": "en"
        "chat": {
          "id": 517852228,
          "first_name": "Gurkirat",
          "last_name": "Singh",
          "username": "username_of_the_sender",
          "type": "private"
        "date": 1586779436,
        "text": "hello"

More methods on Get Updates: https://core.telegram.org/bots/api#getting-updates

Sending Messages to the User

Method Name: sendMessage

In this, you will see me creating an echo bot that will be listening to all the messages sent by the user. I will then read the last message (-1 index in the python list) and send the same message with the format "You send me "{MESSAGE_TEXT}"" message.

The code is self-explanatory, and I have added some comments. However, if you couldn't get anything, leave a comment

import urllib.request as request
from urllib.error import HTTPError
from http.client import HTTPResponse
from typing import Dict, List, Union
import json
from datetime import datetime
import signal
import os

signal.signal(signal.SIGINT, signal.SIG_DFL)

class TelegramEcho:
    def __init__(self, TG_KEY: str):
        self.TG_URL = "https://api.telegram.org/bot{key}/{method}"
        self.TG_KEY = TG_KEY

        self.__last = None
        self.__last_time = None

    def run(self):
        method to handle the incoming message and the send echo message to the user
        while True:
                # getting the incoming data
                incoming = self.__handle_incoming()

                # checking if incoming message_id is same as of last, then skip
                if self.__last == incoming["message"]["message_id"]:
                    self.__last = incoming["message"]["message_id"]

                # adding more validation to prevent messaging the last message whenever the polling starts
                if not self.__last_time:
                    self.__last_time = incoming["message"]["date"]
                elif self.__last_time < incoming["message"]["date"]:
                    self.__last_time = incoming["message"]["date"]

                # finally printing the incoming message

                # now sending the echo message
                outgoing = self.__handle_outgoing(

                # finally printing the outgoing message

            except (HTTPError, IndexError):

    def __handle_incoming(self) -> Dict[str, Union[int, str]]:
        method fetch the recent messages

        # getting all messages
        getUpdates = request.urlopen(
            self.TG_URL.format(key=self.TG_KEY, method="getUpdates"))

        # parsing results
        results: List[Dict[str, Union[int, str]]] = json.loads(

        # getting the last error
        return results[-1]

    def __print_incoming(self, incoming: Dict[str, Union[int, str]]):
        method to print the incoming message on console
        print("[<<<] Message Recieved on %s" % datetime.fromtimestamp(
            incoming["message"]["date"]).strftime("%Y-%m-%d %H:%M:%S"))
        print("\tText: %s" % incoming["message"]["text"])
        print("\tFrom: %s" %
              incoming["message"]["from"].get("first_name", "") + " " +
              incoming["message"]["from"].get("last_name", ""))
        print("\tMessage ID: %d" % incoming["message"]["message_id"])
        print("-" * os.get_terminal_size().columns)

    def __handle_outgoing(self, chat_id: int,
                          message_txt: str) -> Dict[str, Union[int, str]]:
        method to send the echo message to the same chat

        # making the post data
        _data: Dict[str, Union[int, str]] = {
            "You sent me \"{MESSAGE_TEXT}\"".format(MESSAGE_TEXT=message_txt)

        # creating the request
        _request: request.Request = request.Request(
            self.TG_URL.format(key=self.TG_KEY, method="sendMessage"),
            headers={"Content-Type": "application/json"})

        # sending HTTP request, for sending message to the user
        sendMessage: HTTPResponse = request.urlopen(_request)
        result: Dict[str, Union[int, str]] = json.loads(
        return result

    def __print_outgoing(self, outgoing):
        method to print outgoing data on the console
        print("[>>>] Message Send on %s" % datetime.fromtimestamp(
            outgoing["date"]).strftime("%Y-%m-%d %H:%M:%S"))
        print("\tText: %s" % outgoing["text"])
        print("\tFrom: %s" % outgoing["from"]["first_name"])
        print("\tMessage ID: %d" % outgoing["message_id"])
        print("-" * os.get_terminal_size().columns)


if __name__ == "__main__":
    tg = TelegramEcho("YOUR API KEY")

Make sure you add the API Key before running this code. After running the above code, you will get the output like below,

Telegram Bot Libraries

As you have seen, telegram provides a plethora of methods and APIs to handle the bot through any language, the open-source community has developed a python client using these API under the hood to increase developer's productivity.

The one I will be using is python-telegram-bot. While making this course, it has approx. 10k stars, 38 open issues and last commit was made 2 days ago

Installing the Module

# via pip
pip install -U python-telegram-bot

# via conda
conda install -c conda-forge python-telegram-bot

Glance of the Usage

In this I will be implementing get_me method, returning the bot details

from telegram import Bot

# initializing the bot with API
bot = Bot("API KEY")

# getting the bot details

How fascinating, the developers encapsulated all the backend, letting other developers write neat and clone. It not only provides neat code but also makes payment processing, handlers, and other more features even beyond sending HTTP Requests

The complete documentation of python-telegram-bot: https://python-telegram-bot.readthedocs.io/en/stable/

Using Handlers on Commands

I hope you would have created some commands, now let's make the bot handle those

The library python-telegram-bot provides various Handlers from which I will be using CommandHandler

from telegram.ext.commandhandler import CommandHandler
from telegram.ext.updater import Updater
from telegram.ext.dispatcher import Dispatcher
from telegram.update import Update
from telegram.ext.callbackcontext import CallbackContext
from telegram.bot import Bot

# initializing an updator
# documentation: https://python-telegram-bot.readthedocs.io/en/latest/telegram.ext.updater.html#telegram.ext.Updater
updater = Updater("API KEY",

# getting the dispatcher required to handle the command /start and send message back to the user
# documentation: https://python-telegram-bot.readthedocs.io/en/latest/telegram.ext.dispatcher.html#telegram.ext.Dispatcher
dispatcher: Dispatcher = updater.dispatcher

def start(update: Update, context: CallbackContext):
    the callback for handling start command
    # getting the bot from context
    # documentation: https://python-telegram-bot.readthedocs.io/en/latest/telegram.bot.html#telegram-bot
    bot: Bot = context.bot

    # sending message to the chat from where it has received the message
    # documentation: https://python-telegram-bot.readthedocs.io/en/latest/telegram.bot.html#telegram.Bot.send_message
                     text="You have just entered start command")

# register a handler (here command handler)
# documentation: https://python-telegram-bot.readthedocs.io/en/latest/telegram.ext.dispatcher.html#telegram.ext.Dispatcher.add_handler
    # it can accept all the telegram.ext.Handler, CommandHandler inherits Handler class
    # documentation: https://python-telegram-bot.readthedocs.io/en/latest/telegram.ext.commandhandler.html#telegram-ext-commandhandler
    CommandHandler("start", start))

# starting polling updates from Telegram
# documentation: https://python-telegram-bot.readthedocs.io/en/latest/telegram.ext.updater.html#telegram.ext.Updater.start_polling

Posting HTML Message

In this I will show how to send an HTML formatted message to the user. I will be using telegram.ParseMode.HTML parser for with send_message method.

Updating just one send_message line in above code

from telegram.ext.commandhandler import CommandHandler
from telegram.ext.updater import Updater
from telegram.ext.dispatcher import Dispatcher
from telegram.update import Update
from telegram.ext.callbackcontext import CallbackContext
from telegram.bot import Bot
from telegram.parsemode import ParseMode

updater = Updater("API KEY",

dispatcher: Dispatcher = updater.dispatcher

def start(update: Update, context: CallbackContext):
    the callback for handling start command
    bot: Bot = context.bot

    # Added HTML Parser to the existing command handler
    # documentation: https://python-telegram-bot.readthedocs.io/en/stable/telegram.parsemode.html#telegram.ParseMode.HTML
        "Hello User, You have used <b>start</b> command. Search about developer on google, <a href='https://www.google.com/search?q=tbhaxor'>@tbhaxor</a>",

dispatcher.add_handler(CommandHandler("start", start))


The message user will receive will be the rendered HTML you have passed in text argument

Using Keyboards to Build Menus

In this, you will embrace the power of another tool provided by telegram, Keyboard. Telegram has two types plain keyboard and inline, the first is attached to the group or chat. The second one is attached to the message

Simple Keyboard

In this, I will be using telegram.ReplyKeyboardMarkup to add new keyboard to the chat and telegram.ReplyKeyboardRemove to remove the keyboard from the chat

from telegram.ext.updater import Updater
from telegram.update import Update
from telegram.ext.callbackcontext import CallbackContext
from telegram.ext.commandhandler import CommandHandler
from telegram.replykeyboardmarkup import ReplyKeyboardMarkup
from telegram.replykeyboardremove import ReplyKeyboardRemove
from telegram.ext.messagehandler import MessageHandler
from telegram.ext.filters import Filters

updater = Updater("API KEY", use_context=True)

def start(update: Update, context: CallbackContext):
    method to handle the /start command and create keyboard

    # defining the keyboard layout
    kbd_layout = [['Option 1', 'Option 2'], ['Option 3', 'Option 4'],
                       ["Option 5"]]

    # converting layout to markup
    # documentation: https://python-telegram-bot.readthedocs.io/en/stable/telegram.replykeyboardmarkup.html
    kbd = ReplyKeyboardMarkup(kbd_layout)

    # sending the reply so as to activate the keyboard
    update.message.reply_text(text="Select Options", reply_markup=kbd)

def remove(update: Update, context: CallbackContext):
    method to handle /remove command to remove the keyboard and return back to text reply

    # making a reply markup to remove keyboard
    # documentation: https://python-telegram-bot.readthedocs.io/en/stable/telegram.replykeyboardremove.html
    reply_markup = ReplyKeyboardRemove()

    # sending the reply so as to remove the keyboard
    update.message.reply_text(text="I'm back.", reply_markup=reply_markup)

def echo(update: Update, context: CallbackContext):
    message to handle any "Option [0-9]" Regrex.
    # sending the reply message with the selected option
    update.message.reply_text("You just clicked on '%s'" % update.message.text)

updater.dispatcher.add_handler(CommandHandler("start", start))
updater.dispatcher.add_handler(CommandHandler("remove", remove))
# adding the message handler with filter to handle the Option [0-9] regex input
# documentation for MessageHandler: https://python-telegram-bot.readthedocs.io/en/stable/telegram.ext.messagehandler.html
# documentation for Filter: https://python-telegram-bot.readthedocs.io/en/stable/telegram.ext.filters.html#telegram.ext.filters.Filters
updater.dispatcher.add_handler(MessageHandler(Filters.regex(r"Option [0-9]"), echo))


Inline Keyboard

In this I will be using telegram.ext.CallbackQueryHandler which returns a telegram.CallbackQuery when user presses an telegram.InlineKeyboardButton

from telegram import InlineKeyboardButton, InlineKeyboardMarkup
from telegram.ext.updater import Updater
from telegram.ext.commandhandler import CommandHandler
from telegram.ext.callbackqueryhandler import CallbackQueryHandler
from telegram.callbackquery import CallbackQuery
from telegram.ext.callbackcontext import CallbackContext
from telegram.update import Update
from telegram.message import Message
import sys

# creating updater
updater: Updater = Updater("API KEY",

def error(update: Update, context: CallbackContext):
    """Log Errors caused by Updates."""
    sys.stderr.write("ERROR: '%s' caused by '%s'" % context.error, update)

def start(update: Update, context: CallbackContext):
    callback method handling /start command

    # creating list of input buttons
    # documentation: https://python-telegram-bot.readthedocs.io/en/stable/telegram.inlinekeyboardbutton.html
    keyboard = [[
        InlineKeyboardButton("Option 1", callback_data='1'),
        InlineKeyboardButton("Option 2", callback_data='2')
    ], [InlineKeyboardButton("Option 3", callback_data='3')]]

    # creating a reply markup of inline keyboard options
    # documentation: https://python-telegram-bot.readthedocs.io/en/stable/telegram.inlinekeyboardmarkup.html
    reply_markup = InlineKeyboardMarkup(keyboard)

    # sending the message to the current chat id
    # documentation: https://python-telegram-bot.readthedocs.io/en/stable/telegram.message.html#telegram.Message.reply_text
    update.message.reply_text('Please choose:', reply_markup=reply_markup)

def button(update, context):
    callback method handling button press
    # getting the callback query
    # documentation: https://python-telegram-bot.readthedocs.io/en/stable/telegram.callbackquery.html
    query: CallbackQuery = update.callback_query

    # CallbackQueries need to be answered, even if no notification to the user is needed
    # Some clients may have trouble otherwise. See https://core.telegram.org/bots/api#callbackquery
    # documentation: https://python-telegram-bot.readthedocs.io/en/stable/telegram.callbackquery.html#telegram.CallbackQuery.answer

    # editing message sent by the bot
    # documentation: https://python-telegram-bot.readthedocs.io/en/stable/telegram.callbackquery.html#telegram.CallbackQuery.edit_message_text
    query.edit_message_text(text="Selected option: {}".format(query.data))

# adding listeners
updater.dispatcher.add_handler(CommandHandler('start', start))  # handling /start command
updater.dispatcher.add_handler(CallbackQueryHandler(button))  # handling inline buttons pressing
updater.dispatcher.add_error_handler(error)  # error handling

# started polling

Sending Force Replies

Upon recieving messages from user, telegram bot will display a reply interface to the user like if user has selected the bot message to reply back. This could be used in creating step-by-step user friendly interface.

I will be using telegram.ForceReply to send force reply

from telegram.forcereply import ForceReply
from telegram.ext.filters import Filters
from telegram.ext.updater import Updater
from telegram.ext.messagehandler import MessageHandler
from telegram.ext.callbackcontext import CallbackContext
from telegram.update import Update

updater = Updater("API KEY", use_context=True)

def echo(update: Update, context: CallbackContext):
    # sending the force reply to the user
    # documentation: https://python-telegram-bot.readthedocs.io/en/stable/telegram.forcereply.html
    update.message.reply_text(reply_markup=ForceReply(selective=True), text="Reply to this message")

updater.dispatcher.add_handler(MessageHandler(Filters.text, echo))


Chat Action

Now suppose you created a bot that processes some files / information that could take some time. The user might think bot is broken and close it. The telegram provides very cool option ChatActions to send user messages immediately after his/her submission.

I will be using telegram.Bot.send_chat_action along with telegram.ChatAction

from telegram.bot import Bot
from telegram.update import Update
from telegram.ext.updater import Updater
from telegram.ext.callbackcontext import CallbackContext
from telegram.ext.messagehandler import MessageHandler
from telegram.ext.filters import Filters
from telegram.chataction import ChatAction
from time import sleep

updater = Updater("API KEY", use_context=True)

def echo(update: Update, context: CallbackContext):
    # sending the chat action, under the name of bot it will show Typing...
    # documentation: https://python-telegram-bot.readthedocs.io/en/stable/telegram.chataction.html
    context.bot.send_chat_action(chat_id=update.effective_chat.id, action=ChatAction.TYPING)

    # simulating some long processing

    # sending reply when it's done
    update.message.reply_text(text="Hey ya!! You sent me '%s'" % update.message.text)

updater.dispatcher.add_handler(MessageHandler(Filters.text, echo))


Deep Linking

Telegram also supports deeplinking. It helps to create a refereal system to promote your bot or products via bot.

I will be using telegram.utils.helpers.create_deep_linked_url to create a deep link

from telegram.bot import Bot
from telegram.utils.helpers import create_deep_linked_url
from telegram.ext.commandhandler import CommandHandler
from telegram.ext.callbackcontext import CallbackContext
from telegram.update import Update
from telegram.ext.updater import Updater
import re

updater = Updater("API KEY", use_context=True)

def generate(update: Update, context: CallbackContext):
    method to create a deep link and send it to the current user for sharing

    # generating a sharable link with the payload
    # documentation: https://python-telegram-bot.readthedocs.io/en/stable/telegram.utils.helpers.html#telegram.utils.helpers.create_deep_linked_url
    url = create_deep_linked_url(context.bot.get_me().username, update.message.chat.username)
    update.message.reply_text(text="Share it with your friends: %s.\n Copy the link and share it with them" % url)

def start(update: Update, context: CallbackContext):
    method to run on 

    # extracting the payload with /start
    _ = re.findall(r"(?:/start )(.+)", update.message.text)

    # checking if it exists and sending message accordingly
    if len(_) > 0:
        update.message.reply_text(text="You have been refered by: %s" % _[0])
        update.message.reply_text(text="Hello, It seems you are new to this bot")

    update.message.reply_text(text="Use /generate to create your own referal")

updater.dispatcher.add_handler(CommandHandler("generate", generate))
updater.dispatcher.add_handler(CommandHandler("start", start))


Course Outro

Thanks for reading this course, I would encourage you to explore this wonderful telegram client yourself. I would be happy to see your creations after pursuing this tutorial. In future, if I planned to add more snippets and projects, you know where to find it. Yes, here

If you need any help regarding this, you can join their telegram group https://t.me/pythontelegrambotgroup, or you can contact me on any of the following

Email: tbhaxor@gmail.com

Instagram: @_tbhaxor_

Twitter: tbhaxor

Facebook: tbhaxor


markdown guide

How can I add an emoji to the replyKeyboardMarkup text string?


You can straightaway use emojis in the strings. It does support unicode characters.
For more details, please read this wiki → github.com/python-telegram-bot/pyt...