Python List to String: A Helpful Guide with Interactive Shell

Problem: Given a list of strings. How to convert the list to a string by concatenating all strings in the list?

Example: You want to convert list ['learn ', 'python ', 'fast'] to the string 'learn python fast'.

Solution: to convert a list of strings to a string, do the following.

  • Call the ''.join(list) method on the empty string '' that glues together all strings in the list and returns a new string.
  • The string on which you call the join method is used as a delimiter between the list elements.
  • If you don’t need a delimiter, just use the empty string ''.

Code: Let’s have a look at the code.

lst = ['learn ', 'python ', 'fast']
print(''.join(lst))

The output is:

learn python fast

Try it yourself in our interactive Python shell:

You can also use another delimiter string, for example, the comma:

lst = ['learn' , 'python', 'fast']
print(','.join(lst))
# learn,python,fast

What Are Alternative Methods to Convert a List of Strings to a String?

Python is flexible—you can use multiple methods to achieve the same thing. So what are the different methods to convert a list to a string?

  • Method 1: Use the method ''.join(list) to concatenate all strings in a given list to a single list. The string on which you call the method is the delimiter between the list elements.
  • Method 2: Start with an empty string variable. Use a simple for loop to iterate over all elements in the list and add the current element to the string variable.
  • Method 3: Use list comprehension [str(x) for x in list] if the list contains elements of different types to convert all elements to the string data type. Combine them using the ''.join(newlist) method.
  • Method 4: Use the map function map(str, list] if the list contains elements of different types to convert all elements to the string data type. Combine them using the ''.join(newlist) method.

Here are all four variants in some code:

lst = ['learn' , 'python', 'fast']


# Method 1
print(''.join(lst))
# learnpythonfast


# Method 2
s = ''
for st in lst:
    s += st
print(s)
# learnpythonfast


# Method 3
lst = ['learn', 9, 'python', 9, 'fast']
s = ''.join([str(x) for x in lst])
print(s)
# learn9python9fast


# Method 4
lst = ['learn', 9, 'python', 9, 'fast']
s = ''.join(map(str, lst))
print(s)
# learn9python9fast

Again, try to modify the delimiter string yourself using our interactive code shell:

So far so good. You’ve learned how to convert a list to a string. But that’s not all! Let’s dive into some more specifics of converting a list to a string.

Python List to String with Commas

Problem: Given a list of strings. How to convert the list to a string by concatenating all strings in the list—using a comma as the delimiter between the list elements?

Example: You want to convert list ['learn', 'python', 'fast'] to the string 'learn,python,fast'.

Solution: to convert a list of strings to a string, call the ','.join(list) method on the delimiter string ',' that glues together all strings in the list and returns a new string.

Code: Let’s have a look at the code.

lst = ['learn', 'python', 'fast']
print(','.join(lst))

The output is:

learn,python,fast

Python List to String with Spaces

Problem: Given a list of strings. How to convert the list to a string by concatenating all strings in the list—using a space as the delimiter between the list elements?

Example: You want to convert list ['learn', 'python', 'fast'] to the string 'learn python fast'. (Note the empty spaces between the terms.)

Solution: to convert a list of strings to a string, call the ' '.join(list) method on the string ' ' (space character) that glues together all strings in the list and returns a new string.

Code: Let’s have a look at the code.

lst = ['learn', 'python', 'fast']
print(' '.join(lst))

The output is:

learn python fast

Python List to String with Newlines

Problem: Given a list of strings. How to convert the list to a string by concatenating all strings in the list—using a newline character as the delimiter between the list elements?

Example: You want to convert list ['learn', 'python', 'fast'] to the string 'learn\npython\nfast' or as a multiline string:

'''learn
python
fast'''

Solution: to convert a list of strings to a string, call the '\n'.join(list) method on the newline character '\n' that glues together all strings in the list and returns a new string.

Code: Let’s have a look at the code.

lst = ['learn', 'python', 'fast']
print('\n'.join(lst))

The output is:

learn
python
fast

Python List to String with Quotes

Problem: Given a list of strings. How to convert the list to a string by concatenating all strings in the list—using a comma character followed by an empty space as the delimiter between the list elements? Additionally, you want to wrap each string in double quotes.

Example: You want to convert list ['learn', 'python', 'fast'] to the string '"learn", "python", "fast"' :

Solution: to convert a list of strings to a string, call the ', '.join('"' + x + '"' for x in lst) method on the delimiter string ', ' that glues together all strings in the list and returns a new string. You use a generator expression to modify each element of the original element so that it is enclosed by the double quote " chararacter.

Code: Let’s have a look at the code.

lst = ['learn', 'python', 'fast']
print(', '.join('"' + x + '"' for x in lst))

The output is:

"learn", "python", "fast"

Python List to String with Brackets

Problem: Given a list of strings. How to convert the list to a string by concatenating all strings in the list—using a comma character followed by an empty space as the delimiter between the list elements? Additionally, you want to wrap the whole string in a square bracket to indicate that’s a list.

Example: You want to convert list ['learn', 'python', 'fast'] to the string '[learn, python, fast]' :

Solution: to convert a list of strings to a string, call the '[' + ', '.join(lst) + ']' method on the delimiter string ', ' that glues together all strings in the list and returns a new string.

Code: Let’s have a look at the code.

lst = ['learn', 'python', 'fast']
print('[' + ', '.join(lst) + ']')

The output is:

[learn, python, fast]

Python List to String and Back

Problem: You want to convert a list into a string and back to a list.

Example: Convert the list ['learn', 'python', 'fast'] to a string "['learn', 'python', 'fast']" and back to a list ['learn', 'python', 'fast'].

Solution: Use the following two steps to convert back and forth between a string and a list:

  • Use the built-in str() function to convert from a list to a string.
  • Use the built-in eval() function to convert from a string to a list.
lst = ['learn', 'python', 'fast']

converted = str(lst)
print(converted)
# ['learn', 'python', 'fast']
print(type(converted))
# <class 'str'>

original = eval(converted)
print(original)
# ['learn', 'python', 'fast']
print(type(original))
# <class 'list'>

Although the output of both the converted list and the original list look the same, you can see that the data type is string for the former and list for the latter.

Convert List of Int to String

Problem: You want to convert a list into a string but the list contains integer values.

Example: Convert the list [1, 2, 3] to a string '123'.

Solution: Use the join method in combination with a generator expression to convert the list of integers to a single string value:

lst = [1, 2, 3]
print(''.join(str(x) for x in lst))
# 123

The generator expression converts each element in the list to a string. You can then combine the string elements using the join method of the string object.

If you miss the conversion from integer to string, you get the following TypeError:

lst = [1, 2, 3]
print(''.join(lst))

'''
Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "C:\Users\xcent\Desktop\code.py", line 2, in <module>
    print(''.join(lst))
TypeError: sequence item 0: expected str instance, int found
'''

Python List to String One Line

To convert a list to a string in one line, use either of the three methods:

  • Use the ''.join(list) method to glue together all list elements to a single string.
  • Use the list comprehension method [str(x) for x in lst] to convert all list elements to type string.
  • Use str(list) to convert the list to a string representation.

Here are three examples:

lst = ['finxter', 'is', 'awesome']
print(' '.join(lst))
# finxter is awesome

lst = [1, 2, 3]
print([str(x) for x in lst])
# ['1', '2', '3']

print(str(lst))
# [1, 2, 3]

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