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Interpolate Strings in Python: Effortlessly Combine Data


Python’s F-String for String Interpolation and Formatting

by Joanna Jablonski Oct 18, 2023

Python f-strings provide a quick way to interpolate and format strings. They’re readable, concise, and less prone to error than traditional string interpolation and formatting tools, such as the .format() method and the modulo operator (%). An f-string is also a bit faster than those tools!

By the end of this tutorial, you’ll know why f-strings are such a powerful tool that you should learn and master as a Python developer.

In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to:

  • Interpolate values, objects, and expressions into your strings using f-strings
  • Format f-strings using Python’s string formatting mini-language
  • Leverage some cool features of f-strings in Python 3.12 and beyond
  • Decide when to use traditional interpolation tools instead of f-strings

To get the most out of this tutorial, you should be familiar with Python’s string data type. It’s also beneficial to have experience with other string interpolation tools like the modulo operator (%) and the .format() method.

Interpolating and Formatting Strings Before Python 3.6

Before Python 3.6, you had two main tools for interpolating values, variables, and expressions inside string literals:

  1. The string interpolation operator (%), or modulo operator
  2. The str.format() method

The Modulo Operator, %

The modulo operator can be used to insert values into a string by using placeholders. For example:

name = "John"
age = 25
message = "My name is %s and I am %d years old." % (name, age)


My name is John and I am 25 years old.

The str.format() Method

The str.format() method provides a more versatile way of formatting strings. It uses curly braces {} as placeholders and supports various formatting options. For example:

name = "Alice"
age = 30
message = "My name is {} and I am {} years old.".format(name, age)


My name is Alice and I am 30 years old.

Doing String Interpolation With F-Strings in Python

F-strings, introduced in Python 3.6, provide a more concise and readable way to interpolate values into strings. F-strings start with the letter ‘f’ and use curly braces {} to enclose expressions. For example:

name = "Bob"
age = 35
message = f"My name is {name} and I am {age} years old."


My name is Bob and I am 35 years old.

Interpolating Values and Objects in F-Strings

F-strings can interpolate not only values but also objects. You can directly reference attributes or call methods on objects inside the curly braces. For example:

class Person:
def __init__(self, name, age): = name
self.age = age
person = Person("Sarah", 28)
message = f"My name is {} and I am {person.age} years old."


My name is Sarah and I am 28 years old.

Embedding Expressions in F-Strings

F-strings allow you to embed expressions within the curly braces. These expressions will be evaluated and interpolated into the string. For example:

x = 10
y = 5
message = f"The sum of {x} and {y} is {x + y}."


The sum of 10 and 5 is 15.

Formatting Strings With Python’s F-String

F-strings support the use of Python’s string formatting mini-language, which allows you to control the formatting of interpolated values. You can specify various formatting options, such as decimal places and padding. For example:

pi = 3.14159
message = f"The value of pi is approximately {pi:.2f}"


The value of pi is approximately 3.14

Other Relevant Features of F-Strings

F-strings offer additional features that make them even more powerful and versatile.

Using an Object’s String Representations in F-Strings

F-strings automatically call the __str__ or __repr__ methods of objects when interpolating them. This allows you to control how objects are represented as strings. For example:

class Person:
def __init__(self, name): = name
def __str__(self):
return f"Person: {}"
person = Person("Alice")
message = f"{person}"


Person: Alice

Self-Documenting Expressions for Debugging

F-strings allow you to include expressions inside the curly braces without any interpolation. This can be useful for self-documenting purposes and debugging. For example:

x = 10
y = 5
message = f"Debugging info: x = {x}, y = {y}, sum = {x + y}"


Debugging info: x = 10, y = 5, sum = 15

Comparing Performance: F-String vs Traditional Tools

F-strings have been optimized for performance and are generally faster than traditional string interpolation tools. While the difference may be negligible for small operations, it can become significant for larger-scale operations. You can test the performance difference for yourself in your specific use cases.

Upgrading F-Strings: Python 3.12 and Beyond

In Python 3.12 and beyond, f-strings will introduce some new features and improvements.

Using Quotation Marks

Currently, f-strings only accept curly braces as delimiters. However, in Python 3.12, you’ll be able to use single or double quotation marks as delimiters, which can make f-strings more flexible and readable.

Using Backslashes

In Python 3.12, you’ll also be able to use backslashes within f-strings, allowing you to escape special characters or insert line breaks.

Writing Inline Comments

Python 3.12 will introduce the ability to write inline comments within f-strings, which can make your code more self-explanatory and easier to understand.

Deciphering F-String Error Messages

Python 3.12 will improve the error messages related to f-strings, making them more informative and easier to understand when debugging.

Using Traditional String Formatting Tools Over F-Strings

While f-strings provide a powerful and concise way to interpolate and format strings, there are still scenarios where traditional interpolation tools may be more suitable. Some of these scenarios include:

  • Dictionary Interpolation: When interpolating values from dictionaries, the .format() method or the % operator can provide more flexibility.
  • Lazy Evaluation in Logging: Traditional interpolation tools allow for lazy evaluation of expressions, which can be beneficial when performance is a concern.
  • SQL Database Queries: When constructing SQL queries, using parameterized queries or an ORM might be preferred over f-strings to prevent potential SQL injection vulnerabilities.
  • Internationalization and Localization: For multi-language support and localization, dedicated localization libraries may offer more extensive features.

Converting Old String Into F-Strings Automatically

If you have a codebase that extensively uses traditional string formatting, you can automatically convert the old-style strings into f-strings using tools like 2to3 or external libraries.

Key Takeaways

Python f-strings provide a powerful and efficient way to interpolate and format strings. They offer concise syntax, support for object interpolation, and advanced formatting options. F-strings are the recommended way to do string interpolation and formatting in Python 3.6 and above.

To learn more about f-strings and see more examples, you can download the free sample code provided with this tutorial. Get started with f-strings and elevate your string manipulation capabilities in Python!