Format numbers to strings in Python


Question

I need to find out how to format numbers as strings. My code is here:

return str(hours)+":"+str(minutes)+":"+str(seconds)+" "+ampm

Hours and minutes are integers, and seconds is a float. the str() function will convert all of these numbers to the tenths (0.1) place. So instead of my string outputting "5:30:59.07 pm", it would display something like "5.0:30.0:59.1 pm".

Bottom line, what library / function do I need to do this for me?

1
104
7/26/2010 3:49:42 PM

Accepted Answer

Starting with Python 3.6, formatting in Python can be done using formatted string literals or f-strings:

hours, minutes, seconds = 6, 56, 33
f'{hours:02}:{minutes:02}:{seconds:02} {"pm" if hours > 12 else "am"}'

or the str.format function starting with 2.7:

"{:02}:{:02}:{:02} {}".format(hours, minutes, seconds, "pm" if hours > 12 else "am")

or the string formatting % operator for even older versions of Python, but see the note in the docs:

"%02d:%02d:%02d" % (hours, minutes, seconds)

And for your specific case of formatting time, there’s time.strftime:

import time

t = (0, 0, 0, hours, minutes, seconds, 0, 0, 0)
time.strftime('%I:%M:%S %p', t)
131
5/7/2019 1:06:04 PM

Starting in Python 2.6, there is an alternative: the str.format() method. Here are some examples using the existing string format operator (%):

>>> "Name: %s, age: %d" % ('John', 35) 
'Name: John, age: 35' 
>>> i = 45 
>>> 'dec: %d/oct: %#o/hex: %#X' % (i, i, i) 
'dec: 45/oct: 055/hex: 0X2D' 
>>> "MM/DD/YY = %02d/%02d/%02d" % (12, 7, 41) 
'MM/DD/YY = 12/07/41' 
>>> 'Total with tax: $%.2f' % (13.00 * 1.0825) 
'Total with tax: $14.07' 
>>> d = {'web': 'user', 'page': 42} 
>>> 'http://xxx.yyy.zzz/%(web)s/%(page)d.html' % d 
'http://xxx.yyy.zzz/user/42.html' 

Here are the equivalent snippets but using str.format():

>>> "Name: {0}, age: {1}".format('John', 35) 
'Name: John, age: 35' 
>>> i = 45 
>>> 'dec: {0}/oct: {0:#o}/hex: {0:#X}'.format(i) 
'dec: 45/oct: 0o55/hex: 0X2D' 
>>> "MM/DD/YY = {0:02d}/{1:02d}/{2:02d}".format(12, 7, 41) 
'MM/DD/YY = 12/07/41' 
>>> 'Total with tax: ${0:.2f}'.format(13.00 * 1.0825) 
'Total with tax: $14.07' 
>>> d = {'web': 'user', 'page': 42} 
>>> 'http://xxx.yyy.zzz/{web}/{page}.html'.format(**d) 
'http://xxx.yyy.zzz/user/42.html'

Like Python 2.6+, all Python 3 releases (so far) understand how to do both. I shamelessly ripped this stuff straight out of my hardcore Python intro book and the slides for the Intro+Intermediate Python courses I offer from time-to-time. :-)

Aug 2018 UPDATE: Of course, now that we have the f-string feature in 3.6, we need the equivalent examples of that, yes another alternative:

>>> name, age = 'John', 35
>>> f'Name: {name}, age: {age}'
'Name: John, age: 35'

>>> i = 45
>>> f'dec: {i}/oct: {i:#o}/hex: {i:#X}'
'dec: 45/oct: 0o55/hex: 0X2D'

>>> m, d, y = 12, 7, 41
>>> f"MM/DD/YY = {m:02d}/{d:02d}/{y:02d}"
'MM/DD/YY = 12/07/41'

>>> f'Total with tax: ${13.00 * 1.0825:.2f}'
'Total with tax: $14.07'

>>> d = {'web': 'user', 'page': 42}
>>> f"http://xxx.yyy.zzz/{d['web']}/{d['page']}.html"
'http://xxx.yyy.zzz/user/42.html'

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