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Python Lists

mylist = ["apple", "banana", "cherry"]


Lists are used to store multiple items in a single variable.

Lists are one of 4 built-in data types in Python used to store collections of data, the other 3 are Tuple, Set, and Dictionary, all with different qualities and usage.

Lists are created using square brackets:


Create a List:

thislist = ["apple", "banana", "cherry"]
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List Items

List items are ordered, changeable, and allow duplicate values.

List items are indexed, the first item has index [0], the second item has index [1] etc.


When we say that lists are ordered, it means that the items have a defined order, and that order will not change.

If you add new items to a list, the new items will be placed at the end of the list.

Note: There are some list methods that will change the order, but in general: the order of the items will not change.


The list is changeable, meaning that we can change, add, and remove items in a list after it has been created.

Allow Duplicates

Since lists are indexed, lists can have items with the same value:


Lists allow duplicate values:

thislist = ["apple", "banana", "cherry", "apple", "cherry"]
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List Length

To determine how many items a list has, use the len() function:


Print the number of items in the list:

thislist = ["apple", "banana", "cherry"]
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List Items - Data Types

List items can be of any data type:


String, int and boolean data types:

list1 = ["apple", "banana", "cherry"]
list2 = [1, 5, 7, 9, 3]
list3 = [True, False, False]
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A list can contain different data types:


A list with strings, integers and boolean values:

list1 = ["abc", 34, True, 40, "male"]
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From Python's perspective, lists are defined as objects with the data type 'list':

<class 'list'>


What is the data type of a list?

mylist = ["apple", "banana", "cherry"]
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The list() Constructor

It is also possible to use the list() constructor when creating a new list.


Using the list() constructor to make a List:

thislist = list(("apple", "banana", "cherry")) # note the double round-brackets
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Python Collections (Arrays)

There are four collection data types in the Python programming language:

  • List is a collection which is ordered and changeable. Allows duplicate members.
  • Tuple is a collection which is ordered and unchangeable. Allows duplicate members.
  • Set is a collection which is unordered, unchangeable*, and unindexed. No duplicate members.
  • Dictionary is a collection which is ordered** and changeable. No duplicate members.

*Set items are unchangeable, but you can remove and/or add items whenever you like.

**As of Python version 3.7, dictionaries are ordered. In Python 3.6 and earlier, dictionaries are unordered.

When choosing a collection type, it is useful to understand the properties of that type. Choosing the right type for a particular data set could mean retention of meaning, and, it could mean an increase in efficiency or security.