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Python Tuple Basics

The Python tuple is used to store multiple values in a variable. It is one of four data structures that are pre-installed in Python. In addition to the tuple, these also include the dictionary, the set, and the list.

The tuple is ordered and cannot be changed. On the one hand, this means that the elements have a specific and constant order. Due to the fixed order, the tuple also allows duplicates. On the other hand, the tuple cannot be changed after it has been defined. Thus, no elements can be deleted or added.

We can create a Python tuple by defining the elements in round brackets and separating them with commas. Elements with different data types can be stored in a tuple without any problems.

# Define a tuple
tuple_1 = ('first element', 5, 'third Element', True)

Querying Elements

Due to the order of a Tuple, we can resort to indices to retrieve individual elements from the tuple. It should be noted that the counting of elements starts at 0. If we want to retrieve a value from the end, on the other hand, we start counting at 1.

# Define a tuple
tuple_1 = ('first element', 5, 'third Element', True)

# Print first element of the tuple
print(tuple_1[0])

# Print last element of the tuple
print(tuple_1[-1])

Out:
'first element'
True

If we don’t know the index of a certain element yet, we can ask for it with the method “index”. Since the order within the Python Tuple does not change, this value also remains.

# Define a tuple
tuple_1 = ('first element', 5, 'third Element', True)

# Get index of an element
print(tuple_1.index(5))

Out:
1

Changing Elements

As we have already learned, Tuples are actually immutable. That is, once we have defined a Tuple, it is no longer possible to add or delete elements.

To be able to change Tuples anyway, we use a little trick. We first convert the Tuple into a Python list. Since this is changeable, we can simply add or remove elements here. Then we convert the list back to a Tuple. This way we have indirectly changed the elements of the Python Tuple.

# Define a tuple
tuple_1 = ('first element', 5, 'third Element', True)

# Transform to a list
list_1 = list(tuple_1)

# Add item
list_1.append('new_element')

# Remove item
list_1.remove('third Element')

# Transform back to a tuple
tuple_1 = tuple(list_1)
print(tuple_1)

Out:
('first element', 5, True, 'new_element')

Merge Tuples

If we want to merge two or more Tuples, we can simply use the “+” operator. The first named Tuple is accordingly in the order before the second named Tuple.

# Define two tuples
tuple_1 = ('first element', 2, True)
tuple_2 = (1, 4, 6)

# Add them together
tuple_3 = tuple_1 + tuple_2
print(tuple_3)

Out:
('first element', 2, True, 1, 4, 6)

Python Collections

In Python, there are a total of four data types that are stored by default:

  • The list is an ordered collection of elements, which is changeable and can also contain duplicate elements.
  • The tuple is in effect a list, with the difference that it is no longer changeable. So no elements can be added or removed afterwards.
  • The set does not allow duplicate entries. At the same time, the arrangement of the elements within the set is variable. The set itself can be changed, but the individual elements cannot be changed afterwards.
  • Since Python version 3.7, a dictionary is an ordered collection of elements that can be changed. In the earlier versions, the dictionary is unordered.

This is what you should take with you

  • The Python Tuple is one of four pre-installed data structures in Python.
  • It is used to store multiple values in a single variable.
  • The Tuple cannot be modified after it has been created. It is also ordered, which means that the values have a predefined order.

Other Articles on the Topic of Python Tuples

  • w3schools offers detailed examples of Python Tuples with the possibility to execute code snippets directly online.
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