Best post on tuple datatype in python – 1

Tuple Datatype in Python

Python supports many simple and compound datatypes.

Few data types like list, dictionary are mutable and others like string datatype, tuple are immutable.

Mutable datatypes means changes can be done and are reflected in same variable.

Immutable datatypes means changes can be done but not in same variable.


Tuple is similar to list datatype but only difference between them is that list is mutable and tuple is immutable data type. We can change the contents of list even after assigning values but we cannot change the contents of tuple once assigned with its values.

An empty tuple represents zero or null value.

A tuple datatype can be defined with use of parentheses () containing values separated with comma ” , “.

Each value is termed to be an item of the tuple.

Initializing a tuple

We can initialize a tuple in following ways:

  • With the use of empty parentheses we can define an empty tuple : ()
  • We can use a comma after the value to create single value tuple : (1,)
  • We can create multi value tuple using comma separation : (1,2,3)
  • We can use built in  function to create tuple or to convert other datatype to tuple : tuple() or tuple(iterable)

Examples to create tuple with parenthesis:

>>> tup1=() #to create empty tuple
>>> tup1
>>> tup2=(1,2,3)
>>> tup2
(1, 2, 3)
>>> tup2=(1,) # single value tuple
>>> tup2
>>> tup3=(1) #this cannot be a single value tuple its an integer
>>> tup3
>>> type(tup2)
<class 'tuple'>
>>> type(tup3)
<class 'int'>
>>> tup4=('a',25,9.36,'python')
>>> type(tup4)
<class 'tuple'>

Examples to create tuple without parenthesis:

>>> z='a','o','p'
>>> type(z)
<class 'tuple'>
>>> x=1,2,3,'itvoyagers'
>>> type(x)
<class 'tuple'>

NOTE: We cannot create a single value tuple without giving a trailing comma after your single value.

Accessing a tuple

A tuple can be accessed using square brackets [].

It is similar to slicing a list or string.

Index position starts with 0 till n-1 where n is the total length of the tuple.

For backward tracking we can uses negative indexing like -1,-2 etc.

This operation is just used to access the values present in tuple and have no effect on actual tuple.


>>> itv=(1,2,3,4,5,6)
>>> itv[2]
>>> itv[2:5]
(3, 4, 5)
>>> itv[-1]
>>> itv[6:1:-1]
(6, 5, 4, 3)


>>> itv=(1,2,3,4,5,6)
>>> itv[6]
Traceback (most recent call last):
File "<pyshell#29>", line 1, in <module>
IndexError: tuple index out of range
>>> itv[2.8]
Traceback (most recent call last):
File "<pyshell#30>", line 1, in <module>
TypeError: tuple indices must be integers, not float

From above example it is clear that we cannot use a float value as index. An index should always be an integer and last value of index will always be n-1 if total length is n.

len function or len()

Python provides a built-in function called as len() to calculate number of items in a tuple or simply we can say length of a tuple.



>>> itv=(1,2,3,4,5,6)
>>> len(itv)
>>> x=1,2,3,'itvoyagers'
>>> len(x)
>>> p=(100,) # single value tuple
>>> len(p)

Negative Indexing

We can use negative indexing for tuple datatype which will help us to count backward from the end of the tuple.

If we use letters[-1] it will give output as ‘s’.

Negative indexing starts with -1 and not 0 so it ends with -n i.e total length of data.

So if we give negative index as n+1 that is more than total length it will raise an error.

>>> letters=('i','t','v','o','y','a','g','e','r','s')
>>> letters[-1]
>>> letters[-2]
>>> letters[-10]
>>> letters[-11]
Traceback (most recent call last):
File "<pyshell#41>", line 1, in <module>
IndexError: tuple index out of range

In negative indices, index begins with -1 and not 0 so last value of indexing will be -10 in our example and not -9.

Traversing tuple using for loop

Traversing is a process of moving in an iterable and locating values from index position.

In this case our iterable is of type tuple and loop used is for loop.

>>> itv=(1,2,3,4,5,6)
>>> for i in itv:



Tuple slicing

A tuple datatype can be sliced using [ : ] .


[start : end : step]

This provide start and end value.

Sometimes a step value is also mentioned after end value using colon separation.

In below example we will see multiple outputs or multiple ways to slice a tuple datatype.



#tuple slicing
demo_tuple = (1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18)


tuple datatype
slicing of tuple datatype

Deleting a tuple

We cannot delete or remove single or multiple elements / items form the tuple as tuple is immutable and we cannot update or delete its elements individually.


>>> itv=(1,2,3,4,5,6)
>>> del itv[2]
Traceback (most recent call last):
File "<pyshell#48>", line 1, in <module>
del itv[2]
TypeError: 'tuple' object doesn't support item deletion
>>> del itv[2:5]
Traceback (most recent call last):
File "<pyshell#49>", line 1, in <module>
del itv[2:5]
TypeError: 'tuple' object does not support item deletion
>>> del itv
>>> itv
Traceback (most recent call last):
File "<pyshell#51>", line 1, in <module>
NameError: name 'itv' is not defined

In above example it is clear that entire tuple can be deleted but not parts of it.

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