Variable Scope in Python

Variable Scope in Python

The extraordinary short guide to Pythons crazy scoping rules .Variable Scope in Python

It’s obvious that you cannot access a variable before it was declared. But if it was declared inside a loop, can you access it outside a loop? If it was declared in a function, can you access the variable outside of the function?

This kind of “variable lifetime” is known as scoping. After reading this article, you will know the scoping rules of Python. Let’s start!

The 3 Scopes of Python

Python has 3 scopes:

  • Global: In the main part of the script. By default, this already contains the built-ins. You can access all global variables with globals()
  • Enclosed: In the outer function, if this is a nested function
  • Local: Within the current function. You can access all local variables with locals() . Within the main script, locals() == globals()

You can see all three in action here:

print(min([1, 2, 3]))

def foo():
    min = lambda n: "enclosing"

    def bar():
        """Bar is enclosed by 'foo'"""
        print(min([1, 2, 3]))

    def baz():
        """Baz is also enclosed by 'foo'"""
        min = lambda n: "local"
        print(min([1, 2, 3]))

    bar()
    baz()

min = lambda n: "global"
print(min([1, 2, 3]))

foo()

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