How to Shuffle a List in Python?

Call random.shuffle(list) to randomize the order of the elements in the list after importing the random module with import random. This shuffles the list in place. If you need to create a new list with shuffled elements and leave the original one unchanged, use slicing list[:] to copy the list and call the shuffle function on the copied list.

Problem: You’ve got a Python list and you want to randomly reorder all elements?

Solution: No problem, use the shuffle function in Python’s random library.

How to Shuffle a List in Python?

Example: Here’s some code to show you how to do this:

import random

a = [0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9]

random.shuffle(a)
print(a)
# [6, 8, 5, 7, 2, 3, 9, 1, 4, 0]

random.shuffle(a)
print(a)
# [8, 4, 9, 2, 6, 3, 5, 7, 0, 1]

random.shuffle(a)
print(a)
# [1, 0, 7, 2, 4, 9, 5, 8, 3, 6]

random.shuffle(a)
print(a)
# [4, 6, 0, 5, 1, 3, 9, 2, 7, 8]

As the elements are randomly reordered, the result will look different when you’ll execute the same code snippet. Like any random function, the behavior is non-deterministic. Please also note that the list itself is shuffled—there’s no new list created.

You can try it yourself in the following interactive Python shell:

How to Shuffle and Return a New List?

The default random.shuffle(a) method modifies an existing list a. It works in-place. So, what if you want to shuffle the original list but return a new list while leaving the original list elements unchanged?

No problem—use slicing to copy the list.

import random

a = [0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9]

b = a[:]
random.shuffle(b)
print(b)

Exercise: Take a guess—what’s the output of this code snippet? You can check your guess in our interactive code shell:

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