Python Tutorial - Data Type-List

Jinku Hu Jan 03, 2023
  1. Create a Python List
  2. Access Python List Elements
  3. Add Elements to a Python List
  4. Delete Elements From a Python List
  5. Python List Methods
  6. Python List Membership Check
  7. List Elements Iteration
Python Tutorial - Data Type-List

In this section, you will learn to create and update a list in Python programming. Further, you will learn how to slice a list in Python.

Create a Python List

A list can be created by using square brackets []. The elements of a list are placed inside square brackets, and are separated from each other by a comma ,. The elements of a list could have different data types.

l = []  # empty list
l = [2, 4, 6, 8]  # elements of same data type
l = [2, "Python", 1 + 2j]  # elements of different data type

You can also create a nested list, that is list inside another list.

l = [[2, 4, 5], "python"]

Access Python List Elements

The following are some of the way using which you can access list elements:

List Index

You could use index to access elements of a list. The index of a list starts from 0.

>>> x = [2, 4, 6, 8, 10]
>>> print('x[0] =', x[0])			# display the first element
x[0] = 2
>>> print('x[0:2] =', x[0:2])		# display the first two elements of list that is at location 0 and 1
x[0:2] = [2, 4]
>>> print('x[2:] =', x[2:])			# display elements from location 2 (third element)
x[2:] = [6, 8, 10]

The list element can be modified (updated, deleted, added) because list is mutable. If the index is outside of the list index range, you will have an IndexError.

The index must be an integer otherwise TypeError will occur.

Python List Negative Index

It is allowed to use negative indexes to access elements in the list. For example, index -1 refers to the last element. Similarly, index -2 refers to the second last item.

>>> l = [2, 4, 6, 8, 10]
>>> print(l[-1])
>>> print(l[-2])
>>> print(l[-3])

Slice a List in Python

A slicing operator : is used to extract a range of elements from a list.

>>> l = [2, 4, 6, 8, 10]
>>> print(l[1:3])		# print from location 1 to 3
[4, 6]
>>> print(l[:2])		# print from beginning to location 2
[2, 4]
>>> print(l[2:])		# print elements from location 2 onwards
[6, 8, 10]
>>> print(l[:])			# print the entire list
[2, 4, 6, 8, 10]

Add Elements to a Python List


You can use the list method append() to append an item to the end of a list.

>>> l = [1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11]
>>> l.append(13)
>>> print(l)
[1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13]


append(x) adds the item x as one item to the list. extend(x) method is the right method to extend the list by appending all the items in the given object x.

>>> l = [1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11]
>>> l.extend([13, 14, 15])
>>> print(l)
[1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 14, 15]

+ Operator

Besides extend() method, you could concatenate two lists by using + operator.

>>> l = [2, 4, 6, 8, 10]
>>> print(l + [12, 14, 16])
[2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16]

Insert(i, X)

You could use insert(i, x) method to insert the element x to the given index i.

>>> l = [2, 4, 6, 8, 10]
>>> l.insert(2, 0)
>>> print(l)
[2, 4, 0, 6, 8, 10]

Delete Elements From a Python List

The del statement deletes one or more items from a list. You can also use del to delete the entire list:

>>> l = [2, 4, 6, 8, 10]
>>> del l[4]
>>> print(l)
[2, 4, 6, 8]
>>> del l[0:2]
>>> print(l)
[6, 8]
>>> del l
>>> print(l)
Traceback (most recent call last):
NameError: name 'l' is not defined

After a list is deleted by del l, referencing this list l is an error.

If you want to clear a list then you can also use clear() method.

Python List Methods

The following table describes the Python list methods:

Methods Description
append() add an item to the end of the list
extend() add more than one items to a list. It works by adding elements of a list to another list (in which you want to add elements).
insert() add an element at a desired location.
remove() remove a particular item from the list.
pop() remove an item from a given location and returns that item.
clear() remove all elements from the list.
index() return the index of the first matched element in the list.
count() return the total number of items passed
sort() sort elements of a list in ascending order.
reverse() reverse the order of the elements of the list.
copy() return a copy of an already existing list.

Python List Membership Check

The in keyword checks if an element is a member of the list or not.

>>> l = [2, 4, 6, 8, 10]
>>> print(5 in l)
>>> print(2 in l)

List Elements Iteration

You can iterate through a list by using for loop:

l = [2, 4, 6, 8, 10]
for i in l:

Built-In Functions Applicable to List

The following table is the collection of built-in functions that can be used with lists to perform different tasks:

Functions Description
all() return True when all the elements of the list are True. It also returns True when the list is empty.
any() return True when any of the element of the list is True. It returns False when the list is empty.
enumerate() return the index and the value of all the elements of the list as a tuple. It returns an enumerate object.
len() return the number of items in a list or the length of the list.
list() convert a sequence (tuple, set, string, dictionary) to list.
max() return the maximum number in the list.
min() return the minimum number in the list.
sorted() return a sorted list.
sum() return the sum of all elements of the list.
Author: Jinku Hu
Jinku Hu avatar Jinku Hu avatar

Founder of Jinku has worked in the robotics and automotive industries for over 8 years. He sharpened his coding skills when he needed to do the automatic testing, data collection from remote servers and report creation from the endurance test. He is from an electrical/electronics engineering background but has expanded his interest to embedded electronics, embedded programming and front-/back-end programming.

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