Loops are one of the main control structures in any programming language, and Python is no different.

In this article, we will look at a couple of examples using for loops with Python's range() function.

Here's an Interactive Scrim of a Python For Loop

For Loops in Python

for loops repeat a portion of code for a set of values.

As discussed in Python's documentation, for loops work slightly differently than they do in languages such as JavaScript or C.

A for loop sets the iterator variable to each value in a provided list, array, or string and repeats the code in the body of the for loop for each value of the iterator variable.

In the example below, we use a for loop to print every number in our array.

# Example for loop
for i in [1, 2, 3, 4]:
    print(i, end=", ") # prints: 1, 2, 3, 4,

We can include more complex logic in the body of a for loop as well. In this example we print the result of a small computation based on the value of our iterator variable.

# More complex example
for i in [1, 3, 5, 7, 9]:
    x = i**2 - (i-1)*(i+1)
    print(x, end=", ") # prints 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 

When the values in the array for our for loop are sequential, we can use Python's range() function instead of writing out the contents of our array.

The Range function in Python

The range() function provides a sequence of integers based upon the function's arguments. Additional information can be found in Python's documentation for the range() function.

range(start, stop[, step])

The start argument is the first value in the range. If range() is called with only one argument, then Python assumes start = 0.

The stop argument is the upper bound of the range. It is important to realize that this upper value is not included in the range.

In the example below, we have a range starting at the default value of 0 and including integers less than 5.

# Example with one argument
for i in range(5):
    print(i, end=", ") # prints: 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 

In our next example, we set start = -1 and again include integers less than 5.

# Example with two arguments
for i in range(-1, 5):
    print(i, end=", ") # prints: -1, 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 

The optional step value controls the increment between the values in the range. By default, step = 1.

In our final example, we use the range of integers from -1 to 5 and set step = 2.

# Example with three arguments
for i in range(-1, 5, 2):
    print(i, end=", ") # prints: -1, 1, 3, 


In this article, we looked at for loops in Python and the range() function.

for loops repeat a block of code for all of the values in a list, array, string, or range().

We can use a range() to simplify writing a for loop. The stop value of the range() must be specified, but we can also modify the starting value and the step between integers in the range().