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Python Built-in Functions

Last Updated on September 22, 2023 by Mayank Dham

In Python programming, there exists a versatile and comprehensive toolbox of functionality right at your fingertips: Python’s built-in functions. These functions are an essential part of the language, providing a wide range of tools to streamline coding, manipulate data, and perform various operations. Built-in functions in Python serve as the bedrock upon which countless applications are built, enabling developers to achieve tasks efficiently and concisely. From simple tasks like printing output and calculating mathematical expressions to more complex operations involving data manipulation, string formatting, and list processing, Python’s built-in functions offer a ready-made toolkit that spans a multitude of domains. Understanding and harnessing these functions empowers programmers to create efficient, expressive, and elegant code that addresses a diverse array of challenges. Let’s embark on a journey through the realm of Python’s built-in functions, exploring their diverse capabilities and the pivotal role they play in shaping the language’s versatility.

What are Built-in Functions?

The compiler creates inline code for built-in functions during the compilation process. Every call to a built-in function replaces a runtime call to the library function of the same name.
A program uses built-in functions while it is running without referencing the dynamic library. Although built-in functions slightly expand the size of an application, this effect should be offset by the enhanced performance brought about by the elimination of the overhead of dynamic calls.

A few built-in library functions are mentioned below:

  • abs()
  • strcmp()
  • strcpy()
  • strlen()
  • memset()

Preprocessor macros defined in the common header files can access the built-in versions of these functions. The relevant header file, such as math.h, stdlib.h, or string.h must be present in the source code before they may be utilized.
The program will only utilize the built-in version of the standard function if the matching standard header file is present. Some functions, however, are only implemented as built-in functions. Without the relevant header file, they are not accessible.

What are Python Built-in Functions?

The functions whose functionality is predefined in Python are referred to as Python built-in functions. A number of functions are available at all times in the Python interpreter. Such operations are referred to as Python built-in operations.
Depending on the user’s needs, these functions carry out a specific purpose and can be utilized in any software.

List of python built-in functions

The most important Python built-in functions are

  • Print(): This python built-in function prints the specified message to the screen, or other standard output devices. The message can be a string or any other object, the object will be first converted into a string format before being written on the screen.

    Print prepBytes message onto the screen:



  • abs(): This python built-in function is used to return the absolute value of a number.


    Number = -20
    print('absolute value of -20 is', abs(number))


    absolute value of -20 is 20
  • round(): This python built-in function returns a floating point number that is a rounded version of the specified number, with the specified number of decimals.
    The number of decimals is by default 0, implying that the method will return the nearest integer.


    x = round(5.76543)


  • min(): This python built-in function returns the item with the lowest value.


     X = min(-10,-12)


  • max(): This python built-in function returns the item with the highest value.


    X = max(15,25)


  • sorted(): This python built-in function returns a sorted list of specified objects.


    list = ("b", "a", "g", "d", "c")
    x  = sorted(list)

    Output :

  • sum(): This python built-in function returns a number, sum of all items in a tuple.


    x = (2,3,5,-2,6)
    a  = sum(x)


  • len(): This python built-in function returns the number of items in a list or an object.


    persons = ["Harsh", "Neeraj", "Naman", "Nakul"]
    counter = len(persons)


  • pow(): This python built-in function returns the value of x to the power y (x^y)


    x = pow(4,2)


  • type(): This python built-in function returns the type of the specified object


    X = "PrepBytes"
    Y = 57



Advantages of using Python Built-in Functions

There are a few advantages of python built-in functions:

  • Convenience: Python built-in functions are easy to use, which means that programmers can perform common tasks without writing their own code.
  • Efficiency: Python built-in functions are typically implemented in C or C++, which implies these functions are faster and more efficient.
  • Consistency: Python built-in functions are part of the python standard library, which implies they are well-documented and well-tested, and they adopt a consistent naming and parameter convention.
  • Portability: Because python built-in functions are part of the Python standard library, they are portable across various platforms and environments.

Disadvantages of using Python Built-in Functions

There are a few disadvantages of using python built-in functions:

  • Control: Because python built-in functions are pre-written, programmers have less control over how they work and less flexibility to customize their behavior.
  • Scope: Python built-in functions can only perform specific, predefined tasks, which may not be suitable for all situations.
  • Knowledge: Python built-in functions can only work with the data types and parameters that are explicitly defined, which means that any additional functionality needs to be provided by the developer.
  • Performance: Although Python built-in functions are usually faster and more efficient than Python code, they need not be as fast as C/C++ code.

In this article, we discussed what are built-in functions, and what are python built-in functions, we also look at some python built-in functions. We also talked about the advantages and disadvantages of using python built-in functions.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here are some of the frequently asked questions on built in functions in Python in Python.

1. What are Python built-in functions?
Python built-in functions are pre-defined functions that are included in the Python programming language. They cover a wide range of tasks, from performing basic operations like printing and mathematical calculations to advanced tasks like string manipulation and list processing.

2. How are built-in functions used in Python?
Built-in functions are invoked by their names followed by parentheses. The parentheses can contain arguments, which are inputs to the function. For example, print("Hello, world!") calls the print function to display the specified message.

3. Are built-in functions the same as user-defined functions?
No, built-in functions are provided by the Python language itself and are available for use without requiring any additional definitions. User-defined functions, on the other hand, are created by programmers to encapsulate specific tasks and can be customized as needed.

4. What’s the advantage of using built-in functions?
Using built-in functions saves time and effort, as these functions are already implemented and optimized for various tasks. They provide a standardized and efficient way to accomplish common operations without having to write custom code for each task.

5. Can built-in functions be extended or customized?
Built-in functions are part of the Python language and cannot be directly extended or modified. However, Python’s versatility allows you to create your own functions (user-defined functions) to supplement or build upon the functionality provided by built-in functions.

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