Python Enums Tutorial


Enums (short for Enumerations) are a way to define a set of named values. They are useful for representing a collection of related constants and improving code readability and maintainability. Python provides the enum module to create and work with enumerations. This tutorial covers the basics of creating and using Enums in Python.

Table of Contents

  1. What is an Enum?
  2. Creating Enums
  3. Accessing Enum Members
  4. Iterating through Enums
  5. Comparing Enums
  6. Using Enums in Conditional Statements
  7. Enum Methods
  8. Extending Enums
  9. Auto-assigning Values
  10. Conclusion

1. What is an Enum?

An Enum is a symbolic name for a set of values. Enums are treated as data types and you can use them to create sets of constants for use with variables and properties.

2. Creating Enums

To create an Enum, import the Enum class from the enum module and define a class inheriting from Enum.


from enum import Enum

class Color(Enum):
    RED = 1
    GREEN = 2
    BLUE = 3

print(Color.RED)     # Output: Color.RED
print(Color.GREEN)   # Output: Color.GREEN
print(Color.BLUE)    # Output: Color.BLUE

3. Accessing Enum Members

Enum members can be accessed in two ways: by name and by value.


# Accessing by name
print(Color.RED)     # Output: Color.RED

# Accessing by value
print(Color(1))      # Output: Color.RED

# Accessing name of the member
print(  # Output: RED

# Accessing value of the member
print(Color.RED.value) # Output: 1

4. Iterating through Enums

You can iterate through the members of an Enum using a for loop.


for color in Color:

# Output:
# Color.RED
# Color.GREEN
# Color.BLUE

5. Comparing Enums

Enum members can be compared using identity and equality operators.


# Comparing Enums
print(Color.RED == Color.RED)    # Output: True
print(Color.RED == Color.GREEN)  # Output: False

# Using identity operator
print(Color.RED is Color.RED)    # Output: True
print(Color.RED is Color.GREEN)  # Output: False

6. Using Enums in Conditional Statements

Enums can be used in conditional statements for more readable code.


favorite_color = Color.RED

if favorite_color == Color.RED:
    print("Your favorite color is red.")
elif favorite_color == Color.GREEN:
    print("Your favorite color is green.")
    print("Your favorite color is blue.")

7. Enum Methods

Python Enums provide several useful methods.


# List all members of the Enum
# Output: [<Color.RED: 1>, <Color.GREEN: 2>, <Color.BLUE: 3>]

# Get all names of the Enum
print([ for color in Color])
# Output: ['RED', 'GREEN', 'BLUE']

# Get all values of the Enum
print([color.value for color in Color])
# Output: [1, 2, 3]

8. Extending Enums

Enums cannot be extended once they are created. You can, however, create a new Enum that includes all members of an existing Enum.


from enum import Enum

class ExtendedColor(Enum):
    YELLOW = 4
    ORANGE = 5

# Creating a new Enum that includes both Color and ExtendedColor members
class CombinedColor(Color, ExtendedColor):

# Output: [<Color.RED: 1>, <Color.GREEN: 2>, <Color.BLUE: 3>, <ExtendedColor.YELLOW: 4>, <ExtendedColor.ORANGE: 5>]

9. Auto-assigning Values

You can use the auto() function from the enum module to automatically assign values to the members.


from enum import Enum, auto

class AutoColor(Enum):
    RED = auto()
    GREEN = auto()
    BLUE = auto()

print(AutoColor.RED.value)   # Output: 1
print(AutoColor.GREEN.value) # Output: 2
print(AutoColor.BLUE.value)  # Output: 3


Enums in Python provide a way to define a set of named values, improving code readability and maintainability. By understanding how to create, access, iterate, and compare Enum members, you can effectively use Enums in your Python projects. This tutorial covered the basics of Enums, including creating Enums, accessing members, iterating, comparing, using Enums in conditional statements, Enum methods, extending Enums, and auto-assigning values.