Python Lists

Python List is an ordered collection of elements and you can store objects of any datatype in the list.

As Python List is an ordered collection, you can access the elements using index (position of the element in the element). Like in other programming languages like Java, C, C++, etc, the index starts from 0 until the number of items in the list.

Python List

Create an Empty List

To create an empty list in Python, use list() constructor.

aList = list()

Or you can also use empty square brackets as shown below.

aList = []

Initialize a List in Python

To initialize a list in Python, assign comma separated elements, enclosed in squared bracket to a variable.

aList = [21, 'John', 541, 84.25, True]

In addition, let us find out datatype of the variable aList programmatically using type() function.

Python Program

aList = [21, 'John', 541, 84.25, True]
print(type(aList))
Try Online

Run the program, and Python interpreter shall print the datatype of aList to standard output.

Output

<class 'list'>

Python List – Access Elements

To access elements of a list in Python, use variable name followed by square brackets, and the index inside the square brackets. An example is provided below.

element = aList[index]

We already know that index starts from 0. Therefore, aList[0] fetches first element of the list and aList[5] fetches 6th element in the list.

Python Program

aList = [21, 'John', 541, 84.25, True]

element = aList[2]
print(element)

element = aList[4]
print(element)
Try Online

Output

541
True

aList[2] returns third element of the list and aList[4] returns fifth element of the list.

Modify List Element

You can change the value of element at a given index by assigning the value to the element using index.

aList[index] = new_value

In the following program, we shall modify the element present at the index 2.

Python Program

aList = ['apple', 'banana', 'cherry', 'orange', 'papaya']

aList[2] = 'mango'

for element in aList:
    print(element)
Try Online

Output

apple
banana
mango
orange
papaya

Is given element is present in List

To check if given element is present in the Python list, you can use in keyword. The syntax to check if element is in list is

element in aList

The above expression returns a boolean value. True if element is present in the list and false if not.

Python Program

aList = ['apple', 'banana', 'cherry', 'orange', 'papaya']

element = 'banana'
if element in aList:
    print('The element is present in list.')
else:
    print('The element is not present in list.')
Try Online

Output

The element is present in list.

Python List Length

You can use len() function to get the length of the list. Pass the list as argument to len() builtin function, and it returns an integer.

Python Program

aList = [21, 541, 84.25]
print(len(aList))
Try Online

Output

3

Append Element to Python List

list.append() function appends element to the end of the list.

Python Program

aList = [21, 53, 84]
aList.append(96)
print(aList)
Try Online

Output

3

Insert Element in Python List

list.insert(index, element) method inserts the element at specified index of the list. The index of elements that were originally present from that index are shifted right by one position.

Python Program

aList = ['apple', 'banana', 'cherry']

aList.insert(2, 'mango')

for element in aList:
    print(element)
Try Online

Output

apple
banana
mango
cherry

Iterate over Python List Elements

You can use any looping technique to iterate over elements of a Python list. Let us go through examples with each of the looping technique.

In the following is a program, we will use Python For loop to iterate over list. We are just printing the element, buy you may write multiple statement to process or transform the list element.

Python Program

aList = [21, 53, 84]

for element in aList:
    print(element)
Try Online

Output

21
53
84

In the following is a program, we will use Python While loop to iterate over list.

Python Program

aList = [21, 53, 84]

index = 0
while index < len(aList):
    print(aList[index])
    index += 1
Try Online

Output

21
53
84

Sort a Python List

list.sort() function sorts the list in ascending order by default. You can specify to sort in descending order using ‘reverse’ attribute.

In the following program, we will sort the list of numbers in ascending order.

Python Program

aList = [21, 53, 84, 5, 62]

aList.sort()

for element in aList:
    print(element)
Try Online

Output

5
21
53
62
84

In the following program, we will sort the list of numbers in descending order.

Python Program

aList = [21, 53, 84, 5, 62]

aList.sort(reverse=True)

for element in aList:
    print(element)
Try Online

Output

84
62
53
21
5

Python List Operations

There are many operations that you could perform on a List. Following are some of them. A detailed explanation with example programs have been provided for the each of the below operations.

Conclusion

In this Python Tutorial, we learned about List in Python programming, how to access its elements and some of the operations that can be performed on a List.