Various methods to convert lists to string in python?

In this short tutorial, we look at all the different methods and the code that can be used to convert list to string in Python.

Table of Contents

  • Why convert python list to string?
  • Methods to convert python list to strings
  • Using join()
  • Using join() and map()
  • Convert list to string using a loop
  • Closing thoughts and recommendations

Why convert python list to string?

Converting lists to strings in python is a common practice. One of the most common use cases of converting a list to a string is to display the contents of the list as a string or to perform string manipulation.

There are multiple ways to convert list to string in python. These methods do not have any specific limitations for comparison and hence it boils down to the programmers' understanding and preference towards a particular method.

Methods to convert list to strings in python

Using join():

The most pythonic way of converting a list to string is by using the join() method. The join() method is used to facilitate this exact purpose.

It takes in iterables, joins them, and returns them as a string. However, the values in the iterable should be of string data type.

In case you iterable contains int you can use the second method.

Syntax of join():
string.join(iterable)

Here string refers to the desired separator

Parameter:

Iterable - Any iterable - list, tuples, set, etc.

Code to convert python list to string using join():
flexiple = ["Hire", "the", "top", "freelancers"]

print(" ".join(flexiple))

#Output - "Hire the top freelancers"

In the above code, the separator was a space (" ") and hence a string containing the characters in the list separated by a space is returned.

As aforementioned let us try to use join() on an iterable containing an int. It would return a typeerror.

flexiple = ["Hire", "the", "top", 10, "python","freelancers"]

print(" ".join(flexiple))

#Output - TypeError: sequence item 3: expected str instance, int found

Using join() and map():

This method converts lists to strings in python using the map() and join() functions. This method is used when the iterable, in our case a list contains an integer value.

As the join() methods only take in string values, we use the map() methods to convert the integer values into a string before converting the list to a string.

The map() methods execute a specific function for all values in an iterable. And in our case, we use it to convert each value in the list into a string.

Syntax of map():
map(function, iterables)

Parameter:

function - A specific function that you wish to execute

Iterable - An iterable object containing the values

By using the str() function which converts objects to a string we can convert the int values into a string before using the join method.

Code to convert python list to string using map():
flexiple = ["Hire", "the", "top", 10, "python","freelancers"]

print(" ".join(map(str,flexiple)))

#Output - "Hire the top 10 python freelancers"

Convert list to string in python using a loop:

The third method to convert lists to strings in python is to loop over each object and append it into a string. I would not suggest this method as python creates a new string each time you append an object.

This method is slow and must only be used to help understand the concept of converting lists to strings in python.

flexiple = ["Hire", "the", "top", 10, "python","freelancers"]

f1 = ""

for i in flexiple:
    f1 += str(i)+ " " 

print(f1)

#Output = "Hire the top 10 python freelancers "

Closing thoughts and recommendations:

Converting lists to string in python would most likely not be a one-time process and the best practice would be to define a function that returns the output.

And as aforementioned, there aren't significant limitations that can be used to weigh them against each other. However, they do cater to different use cases.

Method 1 can be used in case you are confident that you would not be dealing with any integer values. Method 2 if you are not sure or have integer values in your list. And the last method is only for you to understand converting lists to string in python.

Once you are comfortable with using them try implementing the same using list comprehension.