# How to toggle a value in Python

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What is the most efficient way to toggle between `0` and `1`?

• 272

## Solution using NOT

If the values are boolean, the fastest approach is to use the not operator:

``````>>> x = True
>>> x = not x        # toggle
>>> x
False
>>> x = not x        # toggle
>>> x
True
>>> x = not x        # toggle
>>> x
False
``````

## Solution using subtraction

If the values are numerical, then subtraction from the total is a simple and fast way to toggle values:

``````>>> A = 5
>>> B = 3
>>> total = A + B
>>> x = A
>>> x = total - x    # toggle
>>> x
3
>>> x = total - x    # toggle
>>> x
5
>>> x = total - x    # toggle
>>> x
3
``````

## Solution using XOR

If the value toggles between 0 and 1, you can use a bitwise exclusive-or:

``````>>> x = 1
>>> x ^= 1
>>> x
0
>>> x ^= 1
>>> x
1
``````

The technique generalizes to any pair of integers. The xor-by-one step is replaced with a xor-by-precomputed-constant:

``````>>> A = 205
>>> B = -117
>>> t = A ^ B        # precomputed toggle constant
>>> x = A
>>> x ^= t           # toggle
>>> x
-117
>>> x ^= t           # toggle
>>> x
205
>>> x ^= t           # toggle
>>> x
-117
``````

(This idea was submitted by Nick Coghlan and later generalized by @zxxc.)

## Solution using a dictionary

If the values are hashable, you can use a dictionary:

``````>>> A = 'xyz'
>>> B = 'pdq'
>>> d = {A:B, B:A}
>>> x = A
>>> x = d[x]         # toggle
>>> x
'pdq'
>>> x = d[x]         # toggle
>>> x
'xyz'
>>> x = d[x]         # toggle
>>> x
'pdq'
``````

## Solution using a conditional expression

The slowest way is to use a conditional expression:

``````>>> A = [1,2,3]
>>> B = [4,5,6]
>>> x = A
>>> x = B if x == A else A
>>> x
[4, 5, 6]
>>> x = B if x == A else A
>>> x
[1, 2, 3]
>>> x = B if x == A else A
>>> x
[4, 5, 6]
``````

## Solution using itertools

If you have more than two values, the itertools.cycle() function provides a generic fast way to toggle between successive values:

``````>>> import itertools
>>> toggle = itertools.cycle(['red', 'green', 'blue']).next
>>> toggle()
'red'
>>> toggle()
'green'
>>> toggle()
'blue'
>>> toggle()
'red'
>>> toggle()
'green'
>>> toggle()
'blue'
``````

Note that in Python 3 the `next()` method was changed to `__next__()`, so the first line would be now written as `toggle = itertools.cycle(['red', 'green', 'blue']).__next__`

• The last example seems so slick and intuitive, but doesn't work in Python 3+ with the removal of .next(). Is there a way to make it work similarly in later version of python?
• 2
• @labarna In Python 3, the `.next()` has been replaced by a global `next()` function. The above example would be: `toggle = itertools.cycle(...); next(toggle)`
• 1
• `toggle = itertools.cycle(['red', 'green', 'blue'])` `next(toggle)`
• 2
• The XOR example can be generalised to toggle between values `a` and `b` using `x = x ^ (a ^ b)`.
• 1
• `int(not 0)` and `int(not 1)`... hrmmm

I always use:

``````p^=True
``````

If p is a boolean, this switches between true and false.

• Perfect! `p` doesn't need to be referenced twice for this method to work!! Idea if you are toggling a value with a long long reference.
• what is this operator called?
• This is the XOR operator.
• 2
• @mix3d `^=` is bitwise xor assigment

Here is another non intuitive way. The beauty is you can cycle over multiple values and not just two [0,1]

For Two values (toggling)

``````>>> x=[1,0]
>>> toggle=x[toggle]
``````

For Multiple Values (say 4)

``````>>> x=[1,2,3,0]
>>> toggle=x[toggle]
``````

I didn't expect this solution to be almost the fastest too

``````>>> stmt1="""
toggle=0
for i in xrange(0,100):
toggle = 1 if toggle == 0 else 0
"""
>>> stmt2="""
x=[1,0]
toggle=0
for i in xrange(0,100):
toggle=x[toggle]
"""
>>> t1=timeit.Timer(stmt=stmt1)
>>> t2=timeit.Timer(stmt=stmt2)
>>> print "%.2f usec/pass" % (1000000 * t1.timeit(number=100000)/100000)
7.07 usec/pass
>>> print "%.2f usec/pass" % (1000000 * t2.timeit(number=100000)/100000)
6.19 usec/pass
stmt3="""
toggle = False
for i in xrange(0,100):
toggle = (not toggle) & 1
"""
>>> t3=timeit.Timer(stmt=stmt3)
>>> print "%.2f usec/pass" % (1000000 * t3.timeit(number=100000)/100000)
9.84 usec/pass
>>> stmt4="""
x=0
for i in xrange(0,100):
x=x-1
"""
>>> t4=timeit.Timer(stmt=stmt4)
>>> print "%.2f usec/pass" % (1000000 * t4.timeit(number=100000)/100000)
6.32 usec/pass
``````
• well, your one is the most interesting, but its not what i personally need for the thing i was asking about, so ok, i think the simple math one then is probably the best for me, shouldnt that be 1-x there ?
• 1
• Yep, but that shouldn't make the speed any different.
• 2
• ai, but it would make it wrong though wouldnt it ? some great answers here, SO rocks!
• yeah thats schweet as a nut. thanks everyone this is fun looking at how different people approach the problem (and informative.)
• Nice, it's a miniature state machine.

The `not` operator negates your variable (converting it into a boolean if it isn't already one). You can probably use `1` and `0` interchangeably with `True` and `False`, so just negate it:

``````toggle = not toggle
``````

But if you are using two arbitrary values, use an inline `if`:

``````toggle = 'a' if toggle == 'b' else 'b'
``````
• 1
• +1 but `toggle = 0 if toggle else 1` is shorter and more general
• 1
• Sorry, I'll swap variables to make it clearer. I was using the inline `if` to toggle between two arbitrary variables, not just `1` and `0`.

Just between 1 and 0, do this

``````1-x
``````

x can take 1 or 0

• 2
• Since (in Python 2.x, anyway) `True` and `False` are actually integers, albeit ones with a surprisingly verbose `__str__()` method, `x` can also be `True` or `False` here. You'll get 1 or 0 back, though.

Trigonometric approach, just because `sin` and `cos` functions are cool.

``````>>> import math
>>> def generator01():
...     n=0
...     while True:
...         yield abs( int( math.cos( n * 0.5 * math.pi  ) ) )
...         n+=1
...
>>> g=generator01()
>>> g.next()
1
>>> g.next()
0
>>> g.next()
1
>>> g.next()
0
``````

Surprisingly nobody mention good old division modulo 2:

``````In : x = (x + 1)  % 2 ; x
Out: 1

In : x = (x + 1)  % 2 ; x
Out: 0

In : x = (x + 1)  % 2 ; x
Out: 1

In : x = (x + 1)  % 2 ; x
Out: 0
``````

Note that it is equivalent to `x = x - 1`, but the advantage of modulo technique is that the size of the group or length of the interval can be bigger then just 2 elements, thus giving you a similar to round-robin interleaving scheme to loop over.

Now just for 2, toggling can be a bit shorter (using bit-wise operator):

``````x = x ^ 1
``````
• 2
• Obviously the finite-state-machine with tuple like x=(1,2,3,0); token=0;token=x[token] is extremely exciting, since it can be even more general than just group operation.
• 2
• I am not sure how "pythonic" is this (C-like) modulo arithmetic (i,e, whether "pythonic" applies?). I guess it's just arithmetic, works everywhere else where you have binary.

one way to toggle is by using Multiple assignment

``````>>> a = 5
>>> b = 3

>>> t = a, b = b, a
>>> t[0]
3

>>> t = a, b = b, a
>>> t[0]
5
``````

Using itertools:

``````In [12]: foo = itertools.cycle([1, 2, 3])

In [13]: next(foo)
Out[13]: 1

In [14]: next(foo)
Out[14]: 2

In [15]: next(foo)
Out[15]: 3

In [16]: next(foo)
Out[16]: 1

In [17]: next(foo)
Out[17]: 2
``````

The easiest way to toggle between 1 and 0 is to subtract from 1.

``````def toggle(value):
return 1 - value
``````

Using exception handler

``````>>> def toogle(x):
...     try:
...         return x/x-x/x
...     except  ZeroDivisionError:
...         return 1
...
>>> x=0
>>> x=toogle(x)
>>> x
1
>>> x=toogle(x)
>>> x
0
>>> x=toogle(x)
>>> x
1
>>> x=toogle(x)
>>> x
0
``````

Ok, I'm the worst:

``````import math
import sys

d={1:0,0:1}
l=[1,0]

def exception_approach(x):
try:
return x/x-x/x
except  ZeroDivisionError:
return 1

def cosinus_approach(x):
return abs( int( math.cos( x * 0.5 * math.pi  ) ) )

def module_approach(x):
return  (x + 1)  % 2

def subs_approach(x):
return  x - 1

def if_approach(x):
return 0 if x == 1 else 1

def list_approach(x):
global l
return l[x]

def dict_approach(x):
global d
return d[x]

def xor_approach(x):
return x^1

def not_approach(x):
b=bool(x)
p=not b
return int(p)

funcs=[ exception_approach, cosinus_approach, dict_approach, module_approach, subs_approach, if_approach, list_approach, xor_approach, not_approach ]

f=funcs[int(sys.argv[1])]
print "\n\n\n", f.func_name
x=0
for _ in range(0,100000000):
x=f(x)
``````

How about an imaginary toggle that stores not only the current toggle, but a couple other values associated with it?

``````toggle = complex.conjugate
``````

Store any + or - value on the left, and any unsigned value on the right:

``````>>> x = 2 - 3j
>>> toggle(x)
(2+3j)
``````

Zero works, too:

``````>>> y = -2 - 0j
>>> toggle(y)
(-2+0j)
``````

Easily retrieve the current toggle value (`True` and `False` represent + and -), LHS (real) value, or RHS (imaginary) value:

``````>>> import math
>>> curr = lambda i: math.atan2(i.imag, -abs(i.imag)) > 0
>>> lhs = lambda i: i.real
>>> rhs = lambda i: abs(i.imag)
>>> x = toggle(x)
>>> curr(x)
True
>>> lhs(x)
2.0
>>> rhs(x)
3.0
``````

Easily swap LHS and RHS (but note that the sign of the both values must not be important):

``````>>> swap = lambda i: i/-1j
>>> swap(2+0j)
2j
>>> swap(3+2j)
(2+3j)
``````

Easily swap LHS and RHS and also toggle at the same time:

``````>>> swaggle = lambda i: i/1j
>>> swaggle(2+0j)
-2j
>>> swaggle(3+2j)
(2-3j)
``````

Guards against errors:

``````>>> toggle(1)
Traceback (most recent call last):
File "<stdin>", line 1, in <module>
TypeError: descriptor 'conjugate' requires a 'complex' object but received a 'int'
``````

Perform changes to LHS and RHS:

``````>>> x += 1+2j
>>> x
(3+5j)
``````

...but be careful manipulating the RHS:

``````>>> z = 1-1j
>>> z += 2j
>>> z
(1+1j) # whoops! toggled it!
``````

Variables a and b can be ANY two values, like 0 and 1, or 117 and 711, or "heads" and "tails". No math is used, just a quick swap of the values each time a toggle is desired.

``````a = True
b = False

a,b = b,a   # a is now False
a,b = b,a   # a is now True
``````

I use abs function, very useful on loops

``````x = 1
for y in range(0, 3):
x = abs(x - 1)
``````

x will be 0.

Let's do some frame hacking. Toggle a variable by name. Note: This may not work with every Python runtime.

Say you have a variable "x"

``````>>> import inspect
>>> def toggle(var_name):
>>>     frame = inspect.currentframe().f_back
>>>     vars = frame.f_locals
>>>     vars[var_name] = 0 if vars[var_name] == 1 else 1

>>> x = 0
>>> toggle('x')
>>> x
1
>>> toggle('x')
>>> x
0
``````
``````X = 0  # or X = 1