How do I get a substring of a string in Python?


I want to get a new string from the third character to the end of the string, e.g. myString[2:end]. If omitting the second part means ’till the end’, and if you omit the first part, does it start from the start?

Asked By: Joan Venge



>>> x = "Hello World!"
>>> x[2:]
'llo World!'
>>> x[:2]
>>> x[:-2]
'Hello Worl'
>>> x[-2:]
>>> x[2:-2]
'llo Worl'

Python calls this concept “slicing” and it works on more than just strings. Take a look here for a comprehensive introduction.

Answered By: Paolo Bergantino

You’ve got it right there except for “end”. It’s called slice notation. Your example should read:

new_sub_string = myString[2:]

If you leave out the second parameter it is implicitly the end of the string.

Answered By: bouvard

One example seems to be missing here: full (shallow) copy.

>>> x = "Hello World!"
>>> x
'Hello World!'
>>> x[:]
'Hello World!'
>>> x==x[:]

This is a common idiom for creating a copy of sequence types (not of interned strings), [:]. Shallow copies a list, see Python list slice syntax used for no obvious reason.

Answered By: gimel

A common way to achieve this is by string slicing.

MyString[a:b] gives you a substring from index a to (b – 1).

Answered By: codingscientist

Just for completeness as nobody else has mentioned it. The third parameter to an array slice is a step. So reversing a string is as simple as:


Or selecting alternate characters would be:

"H-e-l-l-o- -W-o-r-l-d"[::2] # outputs "Hello World"

The ability to step forwards and backwards through the string maintains consistency with being able to array slice from the start or end.

Answered By: Endophage

Substr() normally (i.e. PHP and Perl) works this way:

s = Substr(s, beginning, LENGTH)

So the parameters are beginning and LENGTH.

But Python’s behaviour is different; it expects beginning and one after END (!). This is difficult to spot by beginners. So the correct replacement for Substr(s, beginning, LENGTH) is

s = s[ beginning : beginning + LENGTH]
Answered By: MichaƂ Leon

Maybe I missed it, but I couldn’t find a complete answer on this page to the original question(s) because variables are not further discussed here. So I had to go on searching.

Since I’m not yet allowed to comment, let me add my conclusion here. I’m sure I was not the only one interested in it when accessing this page:

 >>>myString = 'Hello World'
 >>>end = 5


If you leave the first part, you get


And if you left the : in the middle as well you got the simplest substring, which would be the 5th character (count starting with 0, so it’s the blank in this case):

 ' '
Answered By: Rudi Uhl

I would like to add two points to the discussion:

  1. You can use None instead on an empty space to specify “from the start” or “to the end”:

    'abcde'[2:None] == 'abcde'[2:] == 'cde'

    This is particularly helpful in functions, where you can’t provide an empty space as an argument:

    def substring(s, start, end):
        """Remove `start` characters from the beginning and `end` 
        characters from the end of string `s`.
        >>> substring('abcde', 0, 3)
        >>> substring('abcde', 1, None)
        return s[start:end]
  2. Python has slice objects:

    idx = slice(2, None)
    'abcde'[idx] == 'abcde'[2:] == 'cde'
Answered By: ostrokach

Using hardcoded indexes itself can be a mess.

In order to avoid that, Python offers a built-in object slice().

string = "my company has 1000$ on profit, but I lost 500$ gambling."

If we want to know how many money I got left.

Normal solution:

final = int(string[15:19]) - int(string[43:46])

Using slices:

EARNINGS = slice(15, 19)
LOSSES = slice(43, 46)
final = int(string[EARNINGS]) - int(string[LOSSES])

Using slice you gain readability.

Answered By: levi

Is there a way to substring a string in Python, to get a new string from the 3rd character to the end of the string?

Maybe like myString[2:end]?

Yes, this actually works if you assign, or bind, the name,end, to constant singleton, None:

>>> end = None
>>> myString = '1234567890'
>>> myString[2:end]

Slice notation has 3 important arguments:

  • start
  • stop
  • step

Their defaults when not given are None – but we can pass them explicitly:

>>> stop = step = None
>>> start = 2
>>> myString[start:stop:step]

If leaving the second part means ’till the end’, if you leave the first part, does it start from the start?

Yes, for example:

>>> start = None
>>> stop = 2
>>> myString[start:stop:step]

Note that we include start in the slice, but we only go up to, and not including, stop.

When step is None, by default the slice uses 1 for the step. If you step with a negative integer, Python is smart enough to go from the end to the beginning.

>>> myString[::-1]

I explain slice notation in great detail in my answer to Explain slice notation Question.

If myString contains an account number that begins at offset 6 and has length 9, then you can extract the account number this way: acct = myString[6:][:9].

If the OP accepts that, they might want to try, in an experimental fashion,


It works – no error is raised, and no default ‘string padding’ occurs.

Answered By: CopyPasteIt

Well, I got a situation where I needed to translate a PHP script to Python, and it had many usages of substr(string, beginning, LENGTH).
If I chose Python’s string[beginning:end] I’d have to calculate a lot of end indexes, so the easier way was to use string[beginning:][:length], it saved me a lot of trouble.


In the above code, [:-1] declares to print from the starting till the maximum limit-1.


>>> Hello

Note: Here a [:-1] is also the same as a [0:-1] and a [0:len(a)-1]

a="I Am Siva"


>>> Am Siva

In the above code a [2:] declares to print a from index 2 till the last element.

Remember that if you set the maximum limit to print a string, as (x) then it will print the string till (x-1) and also remember that the index of a list or string will always start from 0.

Answered By: Code Carbonate
str1='There you are'
>>> str1[:]
'There you are'

>>> str1[1:]
'here you are'

#To print alternate characters skipping one element in between

>>> str1[::2]

#To print last element of last two elements
>>> str1[:-2:-1]

>>> str1[:-2:-1]

#Using slice datatype

>>> str1='There you are'
>>> s1=slice(2,6)
>>> str1[s1]
'ere '

Answered By: Harsh

I have a simpler solution using for loop to find a given substring in a string.
Let’s say we have two string variables,

main_string = "lullaby"
match_string = "ll"

If you want to check whether the given match string exists in the main string, you can do this,

match_string_len = len(match_string)
for index,value in enumerate(main_string):
    sub_string = main_string[index:match_string_len+index]
    if sub_string == match_string:
       print("match string found in main string")
Answered By: kannappan
text = "StackOverflow"
#using python slicing, you can get different subsets of the above string

#reverse of the string
text[::-1] # 'wolfrevOkcatS' 

#fist five characters
text[:5] # Stack'

#last five characters
text[-5:] # 'rflow'

#3rd character to the fifth character
text[2:5] # 'rflow'

#characters at even positions
text[1::2] # 'tcOefo'
Answered By: Ayeni Lawrence
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