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Python | Ways to initialize list with alphabets

  • Difficulty Level : Medium
  • Last Updated : 30 Nov, 2018

While working with lists, sometimes we wish to initialize the list with the English alphabets a-z. This is an essential utility in competitive programming and also in certain applications. Let’s discuss various approaches to achieve this.

Method #1 : Naive method
The most general method that comes in our mind is using the brute force method of running a loop till 26 and incrementing it while appending the letters in the list.




# Python3 code to demonstrate 
# Filling alphabets
# using naive method 
  
# initializing empty list 
test_list = []
  
# printing initial list 
print ("Initial list : " + str(test_list))
  
# using naive method
# for filling alphabets
alpha = 'a'
for i in range(0, 26):
    test_list.append(alpha)
    alpha = chr(ord(alpha) + 1
  
# printing resultant list 
print ("List after insertion : " + str(test_list))

Output :

Initial list : []
List after insertion : [‘a’, ‘b’, ‘c’, ‘d’, ‘e’, ‘f’, ‘g’, ‘h’, ‘i’, ‘j’, ‘k’, ‘l’, ‘m’, ‘n’, ‘o’, ‘p’, ‘q’, ‘r’, ‘s’, ‘t’, ‘u’, ‘v’, ‘w’, ‘x’, ‘y’, ‘z’]

 



Method #2 : Using list comprehension
This is method similar to the above method, but rather a shorthand to naive method as it uses the list comprehension technique to achieve the task.




# Python3 code to demonstrate 
# Filling alphabets
# using list comprehension
  
# initializing empty list 
test_list = []
  
# printing initial list 
print ("Initial list : " + str(test_list))
  
# using list comprehension
# for filling alphabets
test_list = [chr(x) for x in range(ord('a'), ord('z') + 1)]
  
# printing resultant list 
print ("List after insertion : " + str(test_list))

Output :

Initial list : []
List after insertion : [‘a’, ‘b’, ‘c’, ‘d’, ‘e’, ‘f’, ‘g’, ‘h’, ‘i’, ‘j’, ‘k’, ‘l’, ‘m’, ‘n’, ‘o’, ‘p’, ‘q’, ‘r’, ‘s’, ‘t’, ‘u’, ‘v’, ‘w’, ‘x’, ‘y’, ‘z’]

 

Method #3 : Using map()
Using map() is the elegant way to perform this particular task. It type casts the numbers in a range to particular data type, char in this case and assigns to the list.




# Python3 code to demonstrate 
# Filling alphabets
# using map()
  
# initializing empty list 
test_list = []
  
# printing initial list 
print ("Initial list : " + str(test_list))
  
# using map()
# for filling alphabets
test_list = list(map(chr, range(97, 123)))
  
# printing resultant list 
print ("List after insertion : " + str(test_list))

Output :

Initial list : []
List after insertion : [‘a’, ‘b’, ‘c’, ‘d’, ‘e’, ‘f’, ‘g’, ‘h’, ‘i’, ‘j’, ‘k’, ‘l’, ‘m’, ‘n’, ‘o’, ‘p’, ‘q’, ‘r’, ‘s’, ‘t’, ‘u’, ‘v’, ‘w’, ‘x’, ‘y’, ‘z’]

 

Method #4 : Using string.ascii_lowercase
The most pythonic and latest way to perform this particular task. Using this new inbuilt function will internally handle the coding part providing the useful shorthand for the user.




# Python3 code to demonstrate 
# Filling alphabets
# using string
import string
  
# initializing empty list 
test_list = []
  
# printing initial list 
print ("Initial list : " + str(test_list))
  
# using string 
# for filling alphabets
test_list = list(string.ascii_lowercase)
  
# printing resultant list 
print ("List after insertion : " + str(test_list))

Output :

Initial list : []
List after insertion : [‘a’, ‘b’, ‘c’, ‘d’, ‘e’, ‘f’, ‘g’, ‘h’, ‘i’, ‘j’, ‘k’, ‘l’, ‘m’, ‘n’, ‘o’, ‘p’, ‘q’, ‘r’, ‘s’, ‘t’, ‘u’, ‘v’, ‘w’, ‘x’, ‘y’, ‘z’]

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