How to Find the Shortest String in a NumPy Array?

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Python Shortest String in NumPy Array

To find the shortest string in a given NumPy array, say arr, you can use the min(arr, key=len) function that determines the minimum by comparing the length of the array elements using the len() function as a key for comparison.

import numpy as np

arr = np.array(['Alice', 'Bob', 'Carl'])
print(min(arr, key=len))
# Bob

You can find more about the powerful min() function in our detailed blog tutorial:

👉 Recommended Tutorial: Python Minimum Function

Python Length of Shortest String in NumPy Array

To find the length of the shortest string in a NumPy array arr, use the min(arr, key=len) function to obtain the string with the minimum length and then pass this min string into the len() function to obtain the number of characters.

len(min(arr, key=len))

Here’s a more detailed code example of a simple 1D NumPy Array:

import numpy as np

arr = np.array(['Alice', 'Bob', 'Carl'])

# Print Shortest String:
print(min(arr, key=len))
# Bob

# Print Length of Shortest String
print(len(min(arr, key=len)))
# 3

Get Shortest String from NumPy Axis (2D, Column or Row)

To get the shortest string from a certain NumPy array axis (e.g., row or column), first use simple NumPy slicing and indexing to get that axis (e.g., arr[0, :] to get the first row) and pass it into the min() function with the key argument set to the length function like so: min(arr[0, :], key=len).

Here’s an example to get the shortest string of the first row of a 2D array:

import numpy as np

arr = np.array([['Alice', 'Bob', 'Carl'],
                ['Ann', 'Zoe', 'Leonard']])


print(min(arr[0, :], key=len))
# Bob

Here’s an example to get the shortest string of the third column of a 2D array:

print(min(arr[:, 2], key=len))
# Carl

You get the idea. 🙂

If you want to get the shortest string from the whole NumPy array, not only from a column or row or axis, first flatten it and then pass the flattened array into the min() function using the key=len argument.

👉 Recommended Tutorial: How to Flatten a NumPy Array?

Also, check out our tutorial on finding the maximum string in a NumPy array.