How to Print a Set Without Brackets in Python?

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Problem Formulation

Given a set of elements. If you print the list to the shell using `print({1, 2, 3})`, the output is enclosed in curly brackets (braces) like so: `{1, 2, 3}`. But you want the set without brackets like so: `1, 2, 3`.

```print({1, 2, 3})
# Output: {1, 2, 3}
# Desired: 1, 2, 3```

How to print the set without enclosing brackets?

Method 1: Unpacking

The asterisk operator `*` is used to unpack an iterable into the argument list of a given function. You can unpack all set elements into the `print()` function to print each of them individually. Per default, all print arguments are separated by an empty space. For example, the expression `print(*my_set)` will print the elements in `my_set`, empty-space separated, without the enclosing square brackets!

```my_set = {1, 2, 3}
print(*my_set)
# Output: 1 2 3```

To master the basics of unpacking, feel free to check out this video on the asterisk operator:

Method 2: Unpacking with Separator

To print a comma-separated set without enclosing curly brackets, the most Pythonic way is to unpack all set values into the `print()` function and use the `sep=', '` argument to separate the set elements with a comma and a space. Specifically, the expression `print(*my_set, sep=', ')` will print the set elements without brackets and with a comma between subsequent set elements.

```my_set = {1, 2, 3}
print(*my_set, sep=', ')
# Output: 1, 2, 3```

You can learn about the ins and outs of the built-in `print()` function in the following video:

Method 3: Slicing String Representation

Slicing is a concise way to access a subsequence from an original sequence. You can use slicing on the string representation of a set to access all characters except the first and last ones—that are the curly bracket, or braces, characters. For example, the expression `print(str({1, 2, 3})[1:-1])` prints the list as `"1, 2, 3"` without enclosing square brackets.

```my_set = {1, 2, 3}
print(str(my_set)[1:-1])
# Output: 1, 2, 3```

Feel free to dive into slicing next to boost your coding skills:

Method 4: String Join With Generator Expression

You can print a set without brackets by combining the `string.join()` method on the separator string `', '` with a generator expression to convert each set element to a string using the `str()` built-in function. Specifially, the expression `print(', '.join(str(x) for x in my_set))` prints `my_set` to the shell without enclosing brackets.

```my_set = {1, 2, 3}
print(', '.join(str(x) for x in my_set))
# Output: 1, 2, 3```

You can modify the separator string on which you join to customize the appearance of the set:

```my_set = {1, 2, 3}
print('-'.join(str(x) for x in my_set))
# Output: 1-2-3```
• The `string.join(iterable)` method concatenates the elements in the given iterable.
• The `str(object)` built-in function converts a given object to its string representation.
• Generator expressions or list comprehensions are concise one-liner ways to create a new iterable based by reusing elements from another iterable.

You can dive deeper into generators in the following video:

Where to Go From Here?

Enough theory. Let’s get some practice!

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