Generating a random string of 6 characters long in Python 3.6.2

Posted on


I am learning Python, so pardon me if this is the very crude approach.
I am trying to generate a random string using alphanumeric characters.
Following is my code:

#Generating random 6 character string from list 'range'.
def code():
    # List of characters [a-zA-Z0-9]
    chars = ['a','b','c','d','e','f','g','h','i','j','k','l','m','n','o','p','q','r','s','t','u','v','w','x','y','z','A','B','C','D','E','F','G','H','I','J','K','L','M','N','O','P','Q','R','S','T','U','V','W','X','Y','Z','0','1','2','3','4','5','6','7','8','9']
    code = ''
    for i in range(6):
        n = random.randint(0,61)    # random index to select element.
        code = code + chars[n]      # 6-character string.
    return code

What I am trying to do is pick six random elements from the list of characters and append them.

Is there any better approach?


Simplicity + improvements:

  • chars list. Instead of hardcoding all lowercase, uppercase and digit chars – string module provides a convenient constants string.ascii_letters and string.digits
  • random.randint(0,61). Instead of generating random index for further search on chars sequence – random.choice already allows getting a random element from a specified sequence
  • for ... loop is easily replaced with generator expression

The final version:

import random
import string

def random_alnum(size=6):
    """Generate random 6 character alphanumeric string"""
    # List of characters [a-zA-Z0-9]
    chars = string.ascii_letters + string.digits
    code = ''.join(random.choice(chars) for _ in range(size))
    return code

if __name__ == "__main__":

Sample output:


Python’s string library has predefined constants for ASCII letters and digits. So after import string, chars could be expressed as chars = string.ascii_letters + string.digits. chars could also become a module-level constant, since it does not change in code(). According to PEP8, the official Style Guide for Python code, the name would then become CHARS.

The random module also features random.choice and random.choices (versions later than Python 3.6), which either draw a single or a given number of samples from a sequence, in your case chars. You could then do

code = "".join(random.choice(chars) for _ in range(6))


code = "".join(random.choices(chars, k=6))

depending on what is available to you.

You can use a string for chars to avoid the hassle of all the quotes and commas.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *