Convert DataFrame Column to String in Pandas

  1. Pandas DataFrame Series astype(str) Method
  2. DataFrame apply Method to Operate on Elements in Column

We will introduce methods to convert Pandas DataFrame column to string.

  • Pandas DataFrame Series astype(str) method
  • DataFrame apply method to operate on elements in column

We will use the same DataFrame below in this article.

import pandas as pd

df = pd.DataFrame({
    'A': [1, 2, 3],
    'B': [4.1, 5.2, 6.3],
    'C': ["7", "8", "9"]})

print(df)
print(df.dtypes)
   A    B  C
0  1  4.1  7
1  2  5.2  8
2  3  6.3  9

A      int64
B    float64
C     object
dtype: object

Pandas DataFrame Series astype(str) Method

Pandas Series astype(dtype) method converts the Pandas Series to the specified dtype type.

pandas.Series.astype(str)

It converts the Series, DataFrame column as in this article, to string.

>>> df
   A    B  C
0  1  4.1  7
1  2  5.2  8
2  3  6.3  9
>>> df['A'] = df['A'].astype(str)
>>> df
   A    B  C
0  1  4.1  7
1  2  5.2  8
2  3  6.3  9
>>> df.dtypes
A     object
B    float64
C     object
dtype: object

astype() method doesn’t modify the DataFrame data in-place, therefore we need to assign the returned Pandas Series to the specific DataFrame column.

We could also convert multiple columns to string simultaneously by putting columns’ names in the square brackets to form a list.

>>> df[['A','B']] = df[['A','B']].astype(str)
>>> df
   A    B  C
0  1  4.1  7
1  2  5.2  8
2  3  6.3  9
>>> df.dtypes
A    object
B    object
C    object
dtype: object

DataFrame apply Method to Operate on Elements in Column

apply(func, *args, **kwds)

apply method of DataFrame applies the function func to each column or row.

We could use lambda function in the place of func for simplicity.

>>> df['A'] = df['A'].apply(lambda _: str(_))
>>> df
   A    B  C
0  1  4.1  7
1  2  5.2  8
2  3  6.3  9
>>> df.dtypes
A     object
B    float64
C     object
dtype: object

You couldn’t use apply method to apply the function to multiple columns.

>>> df[['A','B']] = df[['A','B']].apply(lambda _: str(_))
Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "<pyshell#31>", line 1, in <module>
    df[['A','B']] = df[['A','B']].apply(lambda _: str(_))
  File "D:\WinPython\WPy-3661\python-3.6.6.amd64\lib\site-packages\pandas\core\frame.py", line 3116, in __setitem__
    self._setitem_array(key, value)
  File "D:\WinPython\WPy-3661\python-3.6.6.amd64\lib\site-packages\pandas\core\frame.py", line 3144, in _setitem_array
    self.loc._setitem_with_indexer((slice(None), indexer), value)
  File "D:\WinPython\WPy-3661\python-3.6.6.amd64\lib\site-packages\pandas\core\indexing.py", line 606, in _setitem_with_indexer
    raise ValueError('Must have equal len keys and value '
ValueError: Must have equal len keys and value when setting with an iterable
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