How to Convert a String to a List in Python?

Python has a built-in method for converting strings to lists called split(). This method splits a string into a list of substrings based on a given delimiter. It’s a very handy method to know and can be used in a variety of situations.

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Introduction

Python provides different variable types for programmers to store values. The most common data types in Python are the list and the string. Sometimes, we need to convert a string to a list.

There are different ways to convert a string into a list in Python. We can use the split() method or ast.literal_eval(). If we have a string that contains only alphabetical characters, we can use the list() method. Let’s take a look at each of these methods in detail with some examples.

The Problem

One of the most basic data types in Python is the string. Strings are used to store text values. However, sometimes you might need to convert a string to a list in order to perform certain operations on it.

Converting a string to a list is a common operation in Python. There are several ways to do this, but the most common is by using the built-in method split().

The split() method takes a string as an input and breaks it up into a list of substrings. Each substring is then stored as an element in the returned list.

If no argument is given, then the entire string is converted into a list of substrings, with each character being its own substring.

Here’s an example of how split() works:

>>> “Hello world”.split()
[‘Hello’, ‘world’]

>>> “Hello world”.split(“o”)
[‘Hell’, ‘ w’, ‘rld’]

>>> “Hello world”.split(“l”)
[‘He’, ”, ‘o wor’, ‘d’]

The Solution

Here is the solution to the problem:

Python 2
>>> my_string = “This is a string”
>>> my_list = my_string.split()
>>> print my_list
[‘This’, ‘is’, ‘a’, ‘string’]

Python 3:
>>> my_string = “This is a string”
>>> my_list = my_string.split()
>>> print(my_list)

The Code

We simply need to pass the string as an argument to the split method. By default, the split method uses whitespace to divide the string into a list of substrings.

Consider the following code:

“`
>>> my_string = “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog”
>>> my_list = my_string.split()
>>> print(my_list)
[‘The’, ‘quick’, ‘brown’, ‘fox’, ‘jumps’, ‘over’, ‘the’, ‘lazy’, ‘dog’]
“`

The Result

In Python, when you want to convert a string to a list, you can use the built-in split() method. This method takes a string and returns a list of substrings, which are separated by the given delimiter. For example, if you have a string with items separated by commas, you can use the split() method to create a list from that string.

The Explanation

Here is the explanation.

In Python, when you want to convert a string to a list, there are a couple of methods you can use. One is the split() method, which splits a string into a list based on a separator string. The other is the list() method, which converts a string into a list of individual characters.

To use the split() method, you just need to pass in the separator string as an argument, and it will return a list of substrings. For example, if you have a comma-separated string like “a,b,c”, you can split it into a list like this:

>>> “a,b,c”.split(“,”)
[‘a’, ‘b’, ‘c’]
If you don’t specify a separator string, the split() method will use whitespace characters (space, tab, newline) as default separators. So if you have a string like “a b c”, it will be converted into this list:

>>> “a b c”.split()
[‘a’, ‘b’, ‘c’]

To use the list() method, you just need to pass in the string as an argument, and it will return a list of individual characters:

>>> list(“abc”)
[‘a’, ‘b’, ‘c’]

The Pros

Converting a string to a list in Python can be done in multiple ways. The most common method is to use the .split() method which splits a string on whitespace characters. However, this method is not without its drawbacks. First, .split() will only split on whitespace characters, not on other characters such as commas or tabs. Second, .split() will return a list of strings, not a list of integers. If you want to convert a string to a list of integers, you will need to use a different method.

The other common method for converting a string to a list is to use the list() function. This function takes a single argument which is the string you want to convert. Unlike .split(), the list() function will split on any character, not just whitespace characters. Additionally, the list() function will return a list of integers if the string you provide contains only integers.

So, which method should you use? If you want to split on any character and don’t need the returned values to be integers, then .split() is the way to go. If you want to ensure that the returned values are always integers, then use the list() function.

The Cons

Converting a string to a list in Python can be done in multiple ways. However, before we get into the various ways of converting a string to a list, it is important to understand what actually happens when you convert a string to a list.

When you convert a string to a list, you are essentially creating a new data structure. This new data structure is a list of characters, which is not the same as the original string. This means that if you change the contents of the new list, it will not affect the contents of the original string.

There are some drawbacks to this approach. First, it is not very efficient. Second, if you need to modify the contents of the list (for example, if you want to sort it), you will need to convert it back into a string first. Finally, if the original string is very long, creating a new list will use up a lot of memory.

The Bottom Line

At its simplest, the string split method returns a list of items separated by a given delimiter. If no delimiter is provided, the method will use whitespace as a default. The split method is often used in conjunction with the strip method, which removes leading and trailing whitespace from a string.

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