Geek University

Access individual characters

We’ve already learned that strings are made of a contiguous set of characters. You can access individual characters in a string or obtain a range of characters in a string. Here is how it can be done:

>>> newString='Hello world!'
>>> print (newString[0])
H

In the example above we’ve created a string variable newString with the value of ‘Hello world!‘. We’ve then accessed the first character of the string using the square brackets. Since Python strings are zero-based (meaning that they start with 0), we got the letter H.

Here is another example. To obtain the letter w, we can use the following code:

>>> print (newString[6])
w
As you can see from the output above, the white space is also interpreted as a character. That is why we’ve used the number 6 in the square brackets.

 

To obtain a range of characters from a string, we need to provide the beginning and ending letter count in the square brackets. Here is an example:

>>> print (newString[0:3])
Hel

Notice how the character at the index 3 was not included in the output. The second number specifies the first character that you don’t want to include.

You can leave out the beginning or ending number in a range and get the reminder of the string:

>>> print (newString[:5])
Hello
>>> print (newString[5:])
world!

If you want to start counting from the end of the string, you can use a negative index. The index of -1 includes the right-most character of the string:

>>> print (newString[-1])
!

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