# Python One Line Sum List

Article summary: Here’s a quick visual overview of the contents of this tutorial.

• Flat List: To sum over a list of numbers in a single line of Python code, use Python’s built-in function `sum(list)`.
• Nested List: To sum over a list of lists in one line Python, use a generator expression to flatten the list and pass the result into the function: `sum(x for y in list for x in y)`.

## Method 1: Sum over a Flat List in One Line

Problem: How to sum over all values in a given Python list?

Example: Given the following list.

`a = [1, 2, 3]`

You want to calculate the sum of all values in the list—using only a single line of Python code!

`# RESULT: 6`

Solution: Python’s built-in `sum()` function helps you to sum over all values in an iterable, such as a Python list.

Summing up a list of numbers appears everywhere in coding. Fortunately, Python provides the built-in `sum()` function to sum over all elements in a Python list—or any other iterable for that matter. (Official Docs)

Code: Here’s the minimal code example.

```a = [1, 2, 3]

print(sum(a))
# 6```

How does it work? The syntax is `sum(iterable, start=0)`:

Exercise: Try to modify the sequence so that the sum is 30 in our interactive Python shell:

## Method 2: Sum over a Nested List of Lists in One Line

Problem: Given multiple lists in a list of lists. How can you sum over all values in a list of lists such as `[[1, 2], [3, 4], [5, 6]]` in Python?

Solution: Use a generator expression to flatten the values in the nested list and pass the resulting iterable into the `sum()` function.

Code: The following code creates a list of lists:

`a = [[1, 2], [3, 4], [5, 6]]`

To sum over the values in the list of lists, use the following one-liner:

`print(sum(x for y in a for x in y))`

The output is printed on the shell:

`# OUTPUT: 21`

But how does it work? The main part of the code is the generator expression `x for y in a for x in y` that flattens the list.

• The part `x for y in a for x in y` iterates over all elements `y` in the nested list `a`.
• The part `x for y in a for x in y` iterates over all elements `y` in the inner list `y`.
• The part `x for y in a for x in y` stores the inner element in the iterable.

Here’s a recap on the technique of list comprehension.

To learn more about different ways to sum() elements in a list, check out my detailed blog tutorial:

Related Tutorial: Python sum() List — Ultimate Guide

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