What Is the Character Data Type in Python?


Larry Thompson

The character data type in Python is used to store a single character. In Python, characters are represented using the ‘str’ data type.

What is a character?
A character is a single symbol or letter that can be displayed on a screen or printed on paper. Examples of characters include letters (both uppercase and lowercase), digits, punctuation marks, and special symbols like ‘@’, ‘#’, ‘$’, etc.

How to define a character variable?
To define a variable as a character in Python, simply assign it within single quotes (”). For example:

character = 'a'

Note that even though we are assigning only one character, it is still considered as a string because strings in Python are just sequences of characters.

Character Comparison

Python allows comparison operators to be used with character variables. We can compare two characters using operators like ==, !=, <, >, <=, >=. The comparison is done based on the ASCII values of the characters.

  • ==: Checks if two characters are equal.
  • !=: Checks if two characters are not equal.
  • <: Checks if one character is smaller than another.
  • >: Checks if one character is greater than another.
  • <=: Checks if one character is smaller than or equal to another.
  • >=: Checks if one character is greater than or equal to another.

For example:

char1 = 'a'
char2 = 'c'

print(char1 == char2)  # False
print(char1 != char2)  # True
print(char1 < char2)   # True
print(char1 > char2)   # False

Character Manipulation

Python provides several built-in functions to manipulate characters. Here are some common ones:

len(): Returns the length of a character or string.

character = 'a'
print(len(character))  # 1

ord(): Returns the ASCII value of a character.

character = 'a'
print(ord(character))  # 97

chr(): Returns the character corresponding to an ASCII value.

ascii_value = 97
print(chr(ascii_value))  # a

These functions can be quite handy when working with characters in Python.


In Python, the character data type is represented using strings. Characters can be defined by enclosing them in single quotes.

Comparison operators can be used with characters, and various built-in functions allow for manipulation of characters. By understanding these concepts, you can effectively work with characters in Python.

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