How to Split a String in Python


2 min read

One of the common operation when working with strings is to split a string to an array of substrings using a given delimiter.

In this article, we will talk about how to split string in Python.

.split() Method

In Python, strings are represented as immutable str objects. The str class comes with a number of string methods that allow you to manipulate the string.

The .split() method returns a list of substrings separated by a delimiter. It takes the following syntax:

str.split(delim=None, maxsplit=-1)

The delimiter can be a character or sequence of characters, not a regular expression.

In the example below the string s will be split using the comma , as a delimiter.

s = 'Sansa,Tyrion,Jon'

The result will be a list of strings:

['Sansa', 'Tyrion', 'Jon']
String literals are usually enclosed by single quotes, although double quotes can be used too.

A sequence of characters can also be used as a delimiter:

s = 'Sansa::Tyrion::Jon'
['Sansa', 'Tyrion', 'Jon']

When maxsplit is given it will limit the number of splits. If not specified or -1, there is no limit on the number of splits.

s = 'Sansa;Tyrion;Jon'
s.split(';', 1)

The result list will have maximum maxsplit+1 elements:

['Sansa', 'Tyrion;Jon']

If the delim is not specified or it is Null, the string will be split using whitespace as a delimiter. All consecutive whitespace are considered as a single separator. Also if the string contains trailing and leading whitespaces the result will have no empty strings.

To better illustrate this let’s take a look at the following example:

' Daenerys  Hodor Arya   Jaime Bran '.split()
['Daenerys', 'Hodor', 'Arya', 'Jaime', 'Bran']
' Daenerys  Hodor Arya   Jaime Bran '.split(' ')
['', 'Daenerys', '', 'Hodor', 'Arya', '', '', 'Jaime', 'Bran', '']

When no delimiter is used, the returning list contains no empty strings. If the delimiter is set to an empty space ' ' the leading, trailing and consecutive whitespace will cause the result to contain empty strings.


Splitting strings is one of the most basic operations. After reading this tutorial, you should have a good understanding of how to split strings in Python.

If you have any questions or feedback, feel free to leave a comment.