# Python NumPy arange() Tutorial

The NumPy `arange()`

function is used to generate a sequence of values within a given interval. You can think of it as a numerical range maker. It allows you to create a NumPy array with evenly spaced values within a specified range.

It offers more functionality, like the ability to work with floating point numbers and the flexibility to define the interval of the values contained in the array explicitly.

Throughout this tutorial, we’ll explore the syntax, parameters, and various use-cases of the `np.arange()`

function, showcasing its versatility and utility in data creation, manipulation, and difference between `arange()`

and other functions such as `linspace()`

and Python `range()`

.

**Table of Contents**hide

- 1 Syntax and Parameters
- 2 What does np.arange function do?
- 3 Generating an Array of Evenly Spaced Values
- 4 Using arange() with Floating Point Numbers
- 5 Negative Step Size in arange() (Reverse Array)
- 6 Handling Memory Efficiency with dtype Parameter
- 7 Differences between arange() and linspace()
- 8 Differences Between arange() and Python range()
- 9 NumPy arange() in Realworld
- 10 Further Reading

## Syntax and Parameters

The `np.arange()`

function in NumPy has a straightforward syntax:

numpy.arange([start, ]stop, [step, ]dtype=None)

The function takes the following positional arguments:

**start**: This is an optional argument, representing the start of the interval. If not provided, the function assumes start = 0.**stop**: This is a mandatory argument that defines the end of the interval. The stop value is not included in the generated sequence unless explicitly instructed otherwise.**step**: This is also an optional argument, defining the spacing between values. The default step size is 1.**dtype**: This is an optional argument where you can specify the desired data type of the resulting array. If not provided, the function will infer the data type from the other input arguments.Here’s how to use the`np.arange()`

function with the`dtype`

parameter:

import numpy as np arr = np.arange(0, 20, 2, dtype=int) print(arr)

**Output:**

array([ 0, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18])

In this example, we create an array with the `dtype`

parameter explicitly set to `int`

. We define the interval [0,20) with a step value of 2.

The function returns an array with evenly spaced integer values within the given interval.

## What does np.arange function do?

The `np.arange`

function, part of the NumPy library, is a function used to generate a one-dimensional array of numeric values within a defined interval.

The elements in the array are evenly spaced as per the interval and step size provided to the function.

Here is another demonstration of the function:

import numpy as np arr = np.arange(5, 15) print(arr)

**Output:**

array([ 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14])

In this example, we use the NumPy arange function to create an array with values between 5 and 15.

Notice how the resulting array begins with the start value, 5, and includes every subsequent integer (due to the default step size of 1), up to but not including the end value, 15.

## Generating an Array of Evenly Spaced Values

The NumPy arange function generates an array with evenly spaced values based on a specified interval and step value. Let’s consider a more detailed example:

import numpy as np # create an array with a specified step value arr = np.arange(0, 50, 5) print(arr)

**Output:**

array([ 0, 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45])

In the above code, we use the NumPy arange function to create an array starting from 0, ending at 50, with a step size of 5. The array returned by the function includes evenly spaced values within the defined interval.

The step value dictates the difference between consecutive numbers in the array.

In this example, every number is 5 greater than the preceding number, indicating an evenly spaced sequence as per the interval and step size.

This kind of array with evenly spaced elements is helpful in scenarios where you need data in a particular range with a specific difference between consecutive values.

## Using arange() with Floating Point Numbers

The `np.arange()`

function is versatile and can also be used to generate an array of floating point numbers.

This is especially useful when you need a more granular sequence of decimal values.

Here’s how you can create an array with floating point numbers:

import numpy as np # Create an array with floating point numbers arr = np.arange(0.0, 1.0, 0.1) print(arr)

**Output:**

array([0. , 0.1, 0.2, 0.3, 0.4, 0.5, 0.6, 0.7, 0.8, 0.9])

In this example, we use the NumPy arange function to create an array with evenly spaced decimal values between 0.0 and 1.0.

The function takes the start, stop, and step values as arguments, generating an array that starts at 0.0 (inclusive) and ends at 1.0 (exclusive), with a step value of 0.1.

As a result, the function returns an array of floating-point numbers with evenly spaced elements as per the interval specified. This is particularly useful when precision is required in the sequence of values.

## Negative Step Size in arange() (Reverse Array)

The `np.arange()`

function also supports a negative step size, allowing us to create a descending sequence of numbers.

Let’s illustrate this with an example:

import numpy as np # Create an array with a negative step size arr = np.arange(10, 0, -1) print(arr)

**Output:**

array([10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1])

In this code snippet, we use the NumPy arange function to create a descending array starting from 10 and ending at 0 (exclusive), with a step size of -1.

When a negative step size is used, the start value should be greater than the stop value to get a non-empty array.

The resulting array comprises a sequence of values, with each value being 1 less than the preceding value due to the step value of -1.

This feature is particularly useful when you need to generate a reverse array.

## Handling Memory Efficiency with dtype Parameter

One of the advantages of using NumPy functions for array creation is their efficient memory management.

The `np.arange()`

function offers a `dtype`

parameter, which allows you to specify the data type of the elements in the array.

By selecting an appropriate data type, you can control the memory allocation for the array.

Here’s an example of how to do it:

import numpy as np # Create an array with dtype parameter arr = np.arange(0, 10, dtype=np.int8) print(arr)

**Output:**

array([0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9], dtype=int8)

In this example, we create an array using the NumPy arange function and explicitly specify the data type of the elements as `np.int8`

.

This is an 8-bit integer type, which can hold values from -128 to 127, thus using less memory compared to higher bit integers.

This approach can be particularly helpful when you are working with large arrays and want to optimize memory usage.

## Differences between arange() and linspace()

While both `np.arange()`

and `np.linspace()`

are used to create arrays with evenly spaced values, they differ in how they define the spacing and the endpoint.

To clarify the differences, let’s create similar arrays using both functions.

With `np.arange()`

:

import numpy as np arr = np.arange(0, 10, 2) print(arr)

**Output:**

array([0, 2, 4, 6, 8])

With `np.linspace()`

:

import numpy as np arr = np.linspace(0, 8, 5) print(arr)

**Output:**

array([0., 2., 4., 6., 8.])

The primary differences are:

**Endpoint Inclusion**:`np.arange()`

does not include the endpoint by default, while`np.linspace()`

does include the endpoint.**Return Type**: Both functions return a numpy.ndarray, but`np.linspace()`

can return an array with floating point numbers even when the inputs are integers due to its internal computations.

### Pros and Cons of Using arange() Over linspace()

`np.arange()`

and `np.linspace()`

are both powerful functions in NumPy that generate arrays with evenly spaced values.

However, depending on your needs, one function may be more suitable than the other. Here’s a comparison of their advantages and disadvantages.**Pros of Using arange():**

**Simplicity**:`np.arange()`

is similar to Python’s built-in range function, making it intuitive for those transitioning from vanilla Python to NumPy.**Step-Based Spacing**:`np.arange()`

generates sequences based on a defined ‘step’ size, which is helpful when you want specific increments between values.

**Cons of Using arange():**

**Excluding the Stop Value**: By default,`np.arange()`

doesn’t include the stop value in the array, which can be a source of confusion.**Precision with Floating Point**: When using`np.arange()`

with floating-point step values, the output size may not be as predictable due to the finite precision of floating point arithmetic.

**Pros of Using linspace():**

**Including the Endpoint**:`np.linspace()`

includes the endpoint by default, which can be desirable in many cases.**Control Over Number of Elements**: With`np.linspace()`

, you can specify the exact number of elements you want in your array, which provides finer control when you need a specific size of the array.

**Cons of Using linspace():**

**Complexity**:`np.linspace()`

requires understanding of the ‘num’ parameter, which may not be as straightforward as the ‘step’ parameter in`np.arange()`

.

In summary, your choice between `np.arange()`

and `np.linspace()`

will depend on your specific needs, whether you want control over the step size or the total number of points, and whether you want the endpoint included or not.

## Differences Between arange() and Python range()

The Python built-in `range()`

function and NumPy’s `arange()`

function both generate sequences of numbers, but they have significant differences in their use, flexibility, and functionality.

Here’s a comparison using examples from both:

With Python’s `range()`

:

arr = list(range(0, 10, 2)) print(arr)

**Output:**

[0, 2, 4, 6, 8]

With NumPy’s `arange()`

:

import numpy as np arr = np.arange(0, 10, 2) print(arr)

**Output:**

array([0, 2, 4, 6, 8])

Here are the key differences:

**Return Type**: Python’s`range()`

function returns a`range`

object that needs to be converted to a list to display its values. On the other hand,`np.arange()`

directly returns a NumPy array (numpy.ndarray).**Usage with Floats**: Python’s`range()`

only works with integer start, stop, and step values, while`np.arange()`

can accept floating point numbers.**Performance**:`np.arange()`

is faster and more efficient for large ranges because it directly creates an array in memory. In contrast, Python’s`range()`

is better for small ranges as it creates elements on the fly and doesn’t consume memory unnecessarily.

These differences highlight how `np.arange()`

can be more versatile and efficient for numerical computations involving arrays, particularly with large datasets or complex numerical tasks.

## NumPy arange() in Realworld

I was hired by a client to help them understand and visualize their large dataset, which consisted of temperature readings taken every hour over the past year.

The raw dataset was just a plain sequence of 24 * 365 = 8760 temperature values, with no corresponding timestamps.

The client wanted to see how the temperature trend evolved over time, and the first thing I realized was that I needed to align the temperature values with their respective timestamps.

Since the temperature data was collected hourly, I needed to create an array representing each hour of the year as a way to model time.

And here it comes NumPy `arange()`

function.

I wrote the following piece of code to generate the required time data:

import numpy as np # Creating an array with each hour of the year hours = np.arange(0, 8760)

This code efficiently created a numpy array from 0 to 8759 (representing each hour of the year), which I used as the X-axis values for the plot.

Next, I plotted the temperature data against these timestamps using `matplotlib`

.

The temperature readings were stored in the `temperature_values`

array. I used the following code to create the plot:

import matplotlib.pyplot as plt plt.plot(hours, temperature_values) plt.xlabel('Hour of the Year') plt.ylabel('Temperature') plt.show()

The NumPy `arange()`

function made it incredibly easy and efficient to create the necessary time data.

## Further Reading

https://numpy.org/doc/stable/reference/generated/numpy.arange.html

Mokhtar is the founder of LikeGeeks.com. He is a seasoned technologist and accomplished author, with expertise in Linux system administration and Python development. Since 2010, Mokhtar has built an impressive career, transitioning from system administration to Python development in 2015. His work spans large corporations to freelance clients around the globe. Alongside his technical work, Mokhtar has authored some insightful books in his field. Known for his innovative solutions, meticulous attention to detail, and high-quality work, Mokhtar continually seeks new challenges within the dynamic field of technology.