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Formatting

We waited a little bit to talk about formatting because it might get a little intense with how much you can do and how easily you can do things with variables in Python. Formatting in Python is a little bit odd at first. But, once you get accustomed to it, you’ll be glad you did.

Formatting Numbers as Strings

Example
print('The order total comes to %f' % 123.44)
print('The order total comes to %.2f' % 123.444)
Result The order total comes to 123.440000
The order total comes to 123.44

Ya, I told you it’s a little weird. The f following the first % is short for float here because we have floating numbers and Python has a specific way of dealing with formatting decimals. The left % tells Python where you want to put the formatted string. The value following the right % is the value that we want to format. So, Python reads through the string until it gets to the first % then Python stops and jumps to the next %. Python takes the value following the second % and formats it according to the first %. Finally, Python places that second value where the first % is. We can use a single value such as a string or a number. We can also use a tuple of values or a dictionary. Alright, this is great, but what about formatting strings?

Formatting Strings

Strings are just like how we were formatting the numbers above except we will use a s for string instead of an f like before. Usually, you will only want to format a string to limit the number of characters. Let’s see it in action:

Example
a ="abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz"
print('%.20s' % a)
Result abcdefghijklmnopqrst


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If you use any of the content on this page in your own work, please use the code below to cite this page as the source of the content.

  • Stewart, Suzy. "Formatting". After Hours Programming. Accessed on January 20, 2022. https://www.afterhoursprogramming.com/tutorial/python/formatting/.

  • Stewart, Suzy. "Formatting". After Hours Programming, https://www.afterhoursprogramming.com/tutorial/python/formatting/. Accessed 20 January, 2022.

  • Stewart, Suzy. Formatting. After Hours Programming. Retrieved from https://www.afterhoursprogramming.com/tutorial/python/formatting/.

20 thoughts on “Formatting”

  1. print(‘The order total comes to %f’ % 123.44)

    this situation we have just one parameter for formatting,

    how can I define the format for two or more parameters when I use only one "print" in python?

  2. I’m not sure if the code simulator is wrong or the output for the example is wrong, but, when i used the code simulator and made my own program using the first example print(‘%f’ % 123.44)
    it came out with 123 instead of 123.440000 shouldn’t it be 123?

  3. Similar to C style formatting very cool.But i have observed something.
    >>> print("The order total comes to %f" % 123.44)
    The order total comes to 123.440000 –> What is the maximum values displayed? is this is 6 the default limit.
    >>> print("The order total comes to ", 123.44)
    The order total comes to 123.44 –> Normal display of values
    >>> print("The order total comes to %.1f", 12.4569)
    The order total comes to %.1f 12.4569 –> Formatting is dropped
    >>> print("The order total comes to %.1f" % 12.4669)
    The order total comes to 12.5 –> But the value is rounded off instead of displaying just "12.4" is this the default behaviour of python formatting.

  4. Could be wrong (newbie) but i think you have violated youre own (SPACE) thing.
    Example reads
    a ="abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz"
    Will not compile unless space is added.
    a =[HERE]"abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz"
    Else thanks for an easy to follow tutorial.

  5. @Vernon: Are you sure about that? I got the exact result as in the example above.
    Here is my result:
    >>> print(‘The order total comes to %f’ % 123.44)
    The order total comes to 123.440000
    >>>

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