What Is User-Defined Data Structure in Python?


Larry Thompson

User-defined data structures are an essential concept in Python programming. They allow programmers to create their own custom data types, tailored to their specific needs. In this tutorial, we will explore what user-defined data structures are and how to create them in Python.

What is a Data Structure?

Before diving into user-defined data structures, let’s quickly recap what a data structure is. In simple terms, a data structure is a way of organizing and storing data so that it can be accessed and manipulated efficiently.

Python provides several built-in data structures such as lists, tuples, dictionaries, and sets. These built-in data structures have predefined methods and attributes that make them versatile and powerful for various applications.

User-Defined Data Structures

User-defined data structures, as the name suggests, are created by the user or programmer. They allow us to define our own custom data types with specific attributes and methods. By defining our own data structure, we have more control over how the data is organized and accessed.

Classes as User-Defined Data Structures

In Python, the most common way to create user-defined data structures is by using classes. A class is essentially a blueprint for creating objects of that type. Within a class definition, we can define attributes (variables) and methods (functions) specific to that class.


class Point:
def __init__(self, x=0, y=0):
self.x = x
self.y = y

def display(self):
print(f”({self.x}, {self.y})”)

In the above example, we defined a class called “Point.” This class has two attributes: “x” and “y,” which represent the coordinates of a point in 2D space. We also defined a method called “display” that prints the coordinates of the point.

Creating Objects from User-Defined Data Structures

Once we have defined a user-defined data structure, we can create objects (instances) of that class. Objects are specific instances of a class and have access to the attributes and methods defined within the class.

p1 = Point(2, 3)
p1.display() # Output: (2, 3)

p2 = Point(5, -1)
p2.display() # Output: (5, -1)

In the above example, we created two objects (“p1” and “p2”) of the “Point” class. Each object has its own set of attributes (x and y) and can invoke the methods defined within the class.

Advantages of User-Defined Data Structures

User-defined data structures offer several advantages over built-in data structures:

  • Customization: With user-defined data structures, we can tailor our data types to match our specific needs. We have complete control over how the data is organized and accessed.
  • Abstraction: User-defined data structures allow us to encapsulate complex functionalities within a single object.

    This improves code organization and makes it easier to manage large-scale projects.

  • Reusability: Once we define a user-defined data structure, we can reuse it throughout our program or even in other programs. This promotes code modularity and reduces redundancy.


In this tutorial, we explored what user-defined data structures are and how to create them in Python using classes. We learned that user-defined data structures offer customization, abstraction, and reusability benefits.

By creating our own custom data types, we can improve code organization and build more efficient programs. So go ahead and experiment with user-defined data structures to unleash the full potential of Python programming!

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