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Dictionary Functions in Python

Last Updated on March 3, 2023 by Prepbytes

Python provides four main data structures, which are: Lists, tuples, sets, and dictionaries. A dictionary is an unordered collection of key-value pairs, where each key is unique, and each value can be of any data type. Dictionaries are enclosed in curly braces {} and can be used to store and manipulate data efficiently. In this article, we will discuss the dictionary, some dictionary functions in python, advantages of dictionary functions in python

What is a Dictionary in Python?

A Python dictionary is a built-in data structure that allows you to store and manipulate key-value pairs. It is an unordered collection of elements, where each element is represented by a unique key and a corresponding value. You can access the values in a dictionary by using their keys, making it an efficient way to look up data. Python dictionaries are mutable, which means that you can add, delete, or modify key-value pairs in a dictionary. They are also versatile and can be used in a wide range of applications, from data analysis and machine learning to web development and network programming.

In Python, dictionaries are represented using curly braces {}, with each key-value pair separated by a colon:

For example, my_dict = {‘apple’: 2, ‘banana’: 3, ‘orange’: 4} creates a dictionary with keys ‘apple’, ‘banana’, and ‘orange’, each mapped to values 2, 3, and 4 respectively.

Example of dictionary in python:

Here we have another example of dictionary

my_dict={1: "prep",2: "bytes"}



{1: 'prep', 2: 'bytes'}

Explanation of the above example:
In this above python program we have first created dictionary name as my_dict so first we print the whole dictionary and then we print the value with their respective keys, here for 1 we have “prep” and for 2 we have “bytes”.

One of the advantages of using dictionaries is that they provide fast access to values based on their keys. When you want to access a value in a dictionary, you simply provide the key and Python returns the corresponding value. This is much faster than searching through a list or tuple to find a value.

What are Dictionary Functions in Python?

Python provides several built-in functions for working with dictionaries.
Here are some dictionary functions in python :

  • len(dict): Returns the length (i.e., the number of key-value pairs) of the dictionary.
  • dict[key]: Returns the value associated with the specified key. If the key is not found, a KeyError is raised.
  • dict.get(key, default=None): Returns the value associated with the specified key, or the default value if the key is not found. If the default parameter is not specified, it defaults to None.
  • dict.keys(): Returns a list of all the keys in the dictionary.
  • dict.values(): Returns a list of all the values in the dictionary.
  • dict.items(): Returns a list of all the key-value pairs in the dictionary, as tuples.
  • dict.clear(): Removes all key-value pairs from the dictionary.
  • dict.pop(key, default=None): Removes the key-value pair with the specified key from the dictionary and returns the value. If the key is not found and the default is not specified, a KeyError is raised.
  • dict.popitem(): Removes and returns an arbitrary key-value pair from the dictionary. If the dictionary is empty, a KeyError is raised.
  • dict.update(other_dict): Updates the dictionary with key-value pairs from another dictionary. If a key exists in both dictionaries, the value in the other dictionary overwrites the value in the original dictionary.
  • dict.fromkeys(seq, value=None): Creates a new dictionary with keys from the specified sequence (e.g., a list, tuple, or set) and values set to the specified value. If the value parameter is not specified, it defaults to None.

Advantages of Dictionary Functions in Python?

Python offers a wide range of built-in functions for working with dictionaries, which provide several advantages, including:

  • Quick access to dictionary keys, values, and items: The built-in keys(), values(), and items() functions make it easy to access the keys, values, and key-value pairs in a dictionary, respectively. These functions allow you to quickly iterate over the contents of a dictionary and perform operations on the keys and values.
  • Efficient data manipulation: Python’s dictionary functions make it easy to manipulate data in a dictionary. For example, you can use the update() function to merge two dictionaries, the pop() function to remove a key-value pair from a dictionary, and the clear() function to remove all key-value pairs from a dictionary.
  • Efficient data lookup: Python’s dictionary functions allow you to efficiently look up data in a dictionary. For example, the get() function allows you to look up the value of a key in a dictionary, and the setdefault() function allows you to set a default value for a key if it doesn’t already exist in the dictionary.
  • Convenient data conversion: Python’s dictionary functions make it easy to convert dictionaries to other data types, such as lists or tuples. For example, you can use the keys() and values() functions to convert a dictionary to a list of its keys or values, respectively.
  • Customizable sorting: Python’s sorted() function allows you to sort a dictionary by its keys or values, based on your desired criteria. This allows you to customize the sorting of data in a dictionary, which can be useful for certain applications.

Dictionaries in Python offer fast and efficient access to data based on keys, flexibility in how data is organized, and easy modification of data. They are versatile data structures that can be used for a wide range of programming tasks, making them an essential tool in many Python applications. Dictionary functions in python provide several advantages, including quick access to dictionary keys, efficient data manipulation and lookup, convenient data conversion, and customizable sorting. These functions make it easier to work with dictionaries and allow you to perform a wide range of data manipulation tasks efficiently and effectively.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ):

Here are some FAQs on dictionary functions in python:

Q1: What happens if I try to access a key that doesn’t exist in a dictionary?
Ans: If you try to access a key that doesn’t exist in a dictionary, Python will raise a KeyError. To avoid this error, you can use the get() method, which returns the value associated with the key, or a default value if the key is not found.

Q2: Can I modify the keys in a dictionary?
Ans: No, the keys in a dictionary must be immutable. This means that you can’t change the value of a key once it’s been added to the dictionary. However, you can modify the value associated with a key.

Q3: Can I add or remove items from a dictionary?
Ans: Yes, you can add or remove items from a dictionary using the update() method to add or update items, and the pop() method to remove an item by key.

Q4: How can I iterate over a dictionary?
Ans: You can use a for loop to iterate over a dictionary, which will iterate over the keys by default. To iterate over both the keys and values, you can use the items() method to get a list of tuples, where each tuple contains a key-value pair.

Q5: Can I sort a dictionary by key or value?
Ans: Yes, you can sort a dictionary by key or value using the sorted() function, which returns a sorted list of keys or values. For example, to sort a dictionary by key, you can use sorted(my_dict.keys()), and to sort a dictionary by value, you can use sorted(my_dict.values()).

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