Python For Loop – Loop Through Iterables

In Python (and really general programming), loops are a fundamental building block of data analysis and computer science in general. The for loop is an extremely popular loop should be mastered by all practioners.

The Python For loop will iterate through an object and “do something” to each item. The loop will stop when it reaches the end of your iterable, or you tell it to stop.

for i in range(3):
  print (i)
>>> 0
>>> 1
>>> 2

Python For Loop Continue

You can ‘continue’ or stop the current iteration of the loop via the continue command. Python continue will move on to the next item in your script without running the remaining code. See an example below.

For Loop Break

Python break will ‘break’ your for loop and stop it all together. This means your for loop will stop executing and not iterate on any more items.

This is especially useful when you’re running your for loop until a certain condition. When that condition is met, you can stop your loop and move on. See an example below.

Let’s take a look at a python for code sample

Python For Loop

Within general programming, loops are a fundamental building block. Few loops are as nice to read as the python for loop. It reads like a sentence.

"For each piece in the whole: Do something with the piece"

Let's look at a few examples

In [2]:
for i in [1,2,3,4]:
    print (i)
In [3]:
for i in "Bob":
    print (i)
In [6]:
dict_ = {"Key1" : "Value1", "Key2" : "Value2", "Key3" : "Value3"}

for i in dict_:
    print (i, dict_[i])
Key1 Value1
Key2 Value2
Key3 Value3
In [7]:
# You need to make sure you're iterating through an iterable
for i in 3:
    print (i)
TypeError                                 Traceback (most recent call last)
<ipython-input-7-b335f383be43> in <module>
----> 1 for i in 3:
      2     print (i)

TypeError: 'int' object is not iterable

One thing you'll need to watch out for, is when you're mutating (changing) the thing you're iterating through.

In this example. For each loop we do, we are 'popping' (taking an item off the end) the list. Notice how the list stops short

In [8]:
my_list = [1,2,3,4,5,6,7]

for num in my_list:
    print (num)

A handy trick is to 'enumerate' what you're iterating through. This means counting which item you're on in your list. If you enumerate, a tuple will be returned to you, so you can have two variables after your 'for.' I usually call my first one 'i' for index.

In [11]:
my_list = ["Sally", "Frank", "Ted", "Katie"]

for i, num in enumerate(my_list):
    print (i, num)
0 Sally
1 Frank
2 Ted
3 Katie

You can 'continue' a for loop which means 'skip the rest of the code in this loop and move on to the next item'

In [4]:
for i in range(6):
    if i == 3:
    print (i)

Or you can stop your loop altogether via the "break" command.

In [5]:
for i in range(6):
    if i == 3:
    print (i)

Link to code above

Check out more Python Vocabulary on our Glossary Page