Changing one character in a string

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Changing one character in a string

What is the easiest way in Python to replace a character in a string?

For example:

text = "abcdefg";
text[1] = "Z";
           ^
Asked By: kostia

||

Answer #1:

Don’t modify strings.

Work with them as lists; turn them into strings only when needed.

>>> s = list("Hello zorld")
>>> s
['H', 'e', 'l', 'l', 'o', ' ', 'z', 'o', 'r', 'l', 'd']
>>> s[6] = 'W'
>>> s
['H', 'e', 'l', 'l', 'o', ' ', 'W', 'o', 'r', 'l', 'd']
>>> "".join(s)
'Hello World'

Python strings are immutable (i.e. they can’t be modified). There are a lot of reasons for this. Use lists until you have no choice, only then turn them into strings.

Answered By: scvalex

Answer #2:

Fastest method?

There are three ways. For the speed seekers I recommend ‘Method 2’

Method 1

Given by this answer

text = 'abcdefg'
new = list(text)
new[6] = 'W'
''.join(new)

Which is pretty slow compared to ‘Method 2’

timeit.timeit("text = 'abcdefg'; s = list(text); s[6] = 'W'; ''.join(s)", number=1000000)
1.0411581993103027

Method 2 (FAST METHOD)

Given by this answer

text = 'abcdefg'
text = text[:1] + 'Z' + text[2:]

Which is much faster:

timeit.timeit("text = 'abcdefg'; text = text[:1] + 'Z' + text[2:]", number=1000000)
0.34651994705200195

Method 3:

Byte array:

timeit.timeit("text = 'abcdefg'; s = bytearray(text); s[1] = 'Z'; str(s)", number=1000000)
1.0387420654296875
Answered By: Mehdi Nellen

Answer #3:

new = text[:1] + 'Z' + text[2:]
Answered By: Jochen Ritzel

Answer #4:

Python strings are immutable, you change them by making a copy.
The easiest way to do what you want is probably:

text = "Z" + text[1:]

The text[1:] returns the string in text from position 1 to the end, positions count from 0 so ‘1’ is the second character.

edit:
You can use the same string slicing technique for any part of the string

text = text[:1] + "Z" + text[2:]

Or if the letter only appears once you can use the search and replace technique suggested
below

Answered By: Martin Beckett

Answer #5:

Starting with python 2.6 and python 3 you can use bytearrays which are mutable (can be changed element-wise unlike strings):

s = "abcdefg"
b_s = bytearray(s)
b_s[1] = "Z"
s = str(b_s)
print s
aZcdefg

edit: Changed str to s

edit2: As Two-Bit Alchemist mentioned in the comments, this code does not work with unicode.

Answered By: Mahmoud

Answer #6:

Like other people have said, generally Python strings are supposed to be immutable.

However, if you are using CPython, the implementation at python.org, it is possible to use ctypes to modify the string structure in memory.

Here is an example where I use the technique to clear a string.

Mark data as sensitive in python

I mention this for the sake of completeness, and this should be your last resort as it is hackish.

Answered By: Unknown

Answer #7:

This code is not mine. I couldn’t recall the site form where, I took it. Interestingly, you can use this to replace one character or more with one or more charectors.
Though this reply is very late, novices like me (anytime) might find it useful.

Change Text function.

mytext = 'Hello Zorld'
mytext = mytext.replace('Z', 'W')
print mytext,
Answered By: K.Vee.Shanker.

Answer #8:

Strings are immutable in Python, which means you cannot change the existing string.
But if you want to change any character in it, you could create a new string out it as follows,

def replace(s, position, character):
    return s[:position] + character + s[position+1:]

replace(‘King’, 1, ‘o’)
// result: Kong

Note: If you give the position value greater than the length of the string, it will append the character at the end.

replace(‘Dog’, 10, ‘s’)
// result: Dogs

Answered By: Manoj Kumar S

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