How to Convert List of Lists to Tuple of Tuples in Python?

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💬 Question: Given a list of lists such as [[1, 2], [3, 4]]. How to convert it to a tuple of tuples such as ((1, 2), (3, 4))?

If you’re in a hurry, here’s the most Pythonic way to convert a nested list to a nested tuple:

Use a generator expression with the built-in tuple() function to convert a list of lists to a tuple of tuples like so: tuple(tuple(x) for x in my_list).

Here’s a graphic on how to convert back and forth between nested list and nested tuples:

Convert List of Lists to Tuple of Tuples in Python

But there’s more to it! Studying the different methods to achieve the same goal will make you a better coder. 🧑‍💻

So keep reading!

Method 1: Tuple Comprehension + tuple()

The recommended way to convert a list of lists to a tuple of tuples is using generator expression in combination with the built-in tuple() function like so: tuple(tuple(x) for x in my_list).

Here’s a concrete example:

lists = [[1, 2], [3, 4], [5, 6]]
tuples = tuple(tuple(x) for x in lists)

print(tuples)
# ((1, 2), (3, 4), (5, 6))

Try It Yourself:

This approach is simple and effective. The generator expression defines how to convert each inner list (x in the example) to a new tuple element.

You use the constructor tuple(x) to create a new tuple from the list x.

Example Three Elements per Tuple

If you have three elements per list, you can use the same approach with the conversion:

lists = [[1, 2, 1], [3, 4, 3], [5, 6, 5]]
tuples = tuple(tuple(x) for x in lists)

print(tuples)
# ((1, 2, 1), (3, 4, 3), (5, 6, 5))

You can see the execution flow in the following interactive visualization (just click the “Next” button to see what’s happening in the code):

Example Varying Number of List Elements

And if you have a varying number of elements per list, this approach still works beautifully:

lists = [[1], [2, 4, 3], [6, 5]]
tuples = tuple(tuple(x) for x in lists)

print(tuples)
# ((1,), (2, 4, 3), (6, 5))

You see that an approach with generator expression is the best way to convert a list of lists to a tuple of tuples.

But are there any alternatives? Let’s have a look at a completely different approach to solve this problem:

Method 2: Map Function + list()

Use the map function that applies a specified function on each element of an iterable.

💡Side Note: Guido van Rossum, the creator of Python, didn’t like the map() function as it’s less readable and less efficient than the generator expression version (Method 1 in this tutorial). You can read about a detailed discussion on how exactly he argued on my blog article.

So, without further ado, here’s how you can convert a list of lists into a tuple of tuples using the map() function:

lists = [[1], [2, 4, 3], [6, 5]]
tuples = tuple(map(tuple, lists))

print(tuples)
# ((1,), (2, 4, 3), (6, 5))

Try it yourself:

Video tutorial on the map() function:

The first argument of the map() function is the tuple function name.

This tuple() function converts each element on the given iterable lists (the second argument) into a tuple.

The result of the map() function is an iterable too, so you need to convert it to a tuple before printing it to the shell because the default string representation of an iterable is not human-readable.

Method 3: Simple For Loop with append() and tuple()

To convert a list of lists to a tuple of tuples, first initialize an empty “outer” list and store it in a variable.

Then iterate over all lists using a simple for loop and convert each separately to a tuple.

Next, append each result to the outer list variable using the list.append() builtin method in the loop body.

Finally, convert the list of tuples to a list tuple of tuples using the tuple() function.

The following example does exactly that:

lists = [[1], [2, 4, 3], [6, 5]]

tmp = []
for t in lists:
    tmp.append(tuple(t))
tuples = tuple(tmp)

print(tuples)
# ((1,), (2, 4, 3), (6, 5))

Related Video Tutorial

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Where to Go From Here?

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