Python Print One Line List

Problem Formulation

Given a list such as a list of integers. How to print the list elements in one line?

Input:
[1, 2, 3, 4, 5]

Output:
1 2 3 4 5

Method 1: Print One Line List With Asterisk

To print all list of elements in one line, unpack the list into the built-in print() function. In particular, you use the asterisk operator as a prefix in front of the list to unpack all elements into the argument list of the print() function. For example, to print the list [1, 2, 3] in one line, use print(*[1, 2, 3]).

Here’s an example on an integer list:

>>> print(*[1, 2, 3, 4, 5])
1 2 3 4 5

Here’s another example with mixed data types:

>>> print(*['alice', 'bob', 'carl', 42])
alice bob carl 42

You can watch my explainer video on the asterisk operator here:

Method 2: Print One Line List Separator

Say, you want to print a list of elements in one line using a specific separator between the elements.

To accomplish this, unpack the list into the built-in print() function using the asterisk operator as a prefix in front of the list. This unpacks all elements into the argument list of the print() function. Now, add the desired separator argument, e.g., sep='\t' to use the tabular character as a separator. For example, to print the list [1, 2, 3] in one line, separatred by tab chars, use print(*[1, 2, 3], sep='\t').

Here’s an example on an integer list:

>>> print(*[1, 2, 3, 4, 5], sep='\t')
1	2	3	4	5

To learn more about the separator argument, check out my detailed tutorial here:

Method 3: Simple For Loop with the Print Function’s End Argument

To print a list and display it in a single line, a straightforward solution is to iterate over each element in a for loop and print this element into the same line using the print() function with the end=' ' argument set to the empty space. This prevents the print() function to automatically print each element to a new line.

Here’s how this is done for a mixed-type list:

>>> lst = [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 'alice', 'bob']
>>> for x in lst:
	print(x, end= ' ')

	
1 2 3 4 5 alice bob 

You can also use another end argument such as the tabular character '\t' like so:

>>> lst = [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 'alice', 'bob']
>>> for x in lst:
	print(x, end= '\t')

	
1	2	3	4	5	alice	bob

Method 4: str.join() on List of Strings

The ' '.join(list) method concatenates all elements in a given list of strings using the empty space (on which the method is called) as a separator argument.

Here’s how this works out to print a list of strings in a single line by first creating a one-line string using the join method and then printing that string to the shell:

>>> ' '.join(['the', 'answer', 'is', '42'])
'the answer is 42'

You can master the join() method and other string methods here:

Method 5: str.join() and List Comprehension on General List

The ' '.join(list) method concatenates all elements in a given list of strings using the empty space (on which the method is called) as a separator argument. To convert each element in the list to a string value first, use the list comprehension statement [str(x) for x in list]. You can combine both to ' '.join([str(x) for x in list]) to print all elements in a general list to the standard output in one line.

Here’s how this works:

>>> ' '.join(str(x) for x in lst)
'42 python 3.3 (1, 2)'

You can master generator expressions here and list comprehension here:

Where to Go From Here?

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