python – How to add an empty column to a dataframe?

The Question :

312 people think this question is useful

What’s the easiest way to add an empty column to a pandas DataFrame object? The best I’ve stumbled upon is something like

df['foo'] = df.apply(lambda _: '', axis=1)

Is there a less perverse method?

The Question Comments :
  • Do you actually want a column containing empty strings or rather N/A?
  • Could you please explain why you would want to create an empty column instead of just assembling a list of values and assigning directly at the end?

The Answer 1

490 people think this answer is useful

If I understand correctly, assignment should fill:

>>> import numpy as np
>>> import pandas as pd
>>> df = pd.DataFrame({"A": [1,2,3], "B": [2,3,4]})
>>> df
   A  B
0  1  2
1  2  3
2  3  4
>>> df["C"] = ""
>>> df["D"] = np.nan
>>> df
   A  B C   D
0  1  2   NaN
1  2  3   NaN
2  3  4   NaN

The Answer 2

59 people think this answer is useful

To add to DSM’s answer and building on this associated question, I’d split the approach into two cases:

  • Adding a single column: Just assign empty values to the new columns, e.g. df['C'] = np.nan

  • Adding multiple columns: I’d suggest using the .reindex(columns=[...]) method of pandas to add the new columns to the dataframe’s column index. This also works for adding multiple new rows with .reindex(rows=[...]). Note that newer versions of Pandas (v>0.20) allow you to specify an axis keyword rather than explicitly assigning to columns or rows.

Here is an example adding multiple columns:

mydf = mydf.reindex(columns = mydf.columns.tolist() + ['newcol1','newcol2'])


mydf = mydf.reindex(mydf.columns.tolist() + ['newcol1','newcol2'], axis=1)  # version > 0.20.0

You can also always concatenate a new (empty) dataframe to the existing dataframe, but that doesn’t feel as pythonic to me 🙂

The Answer 3

43 people think this answer is useful

an even simpler solution is:

df = df.reindex(columns = header_list)                

where “header_list” is a list of the headers you want to appear.

any header included in the list that is not found already in the dataframe will be added with blank cells below.

so if

header_list = ['a','b','c', 'd']

then c and d will be added as columns with blank cells

The Answer 4

25 people think this answer is useful

Starting with v0.16.0, DF.assign() could be used to assign new columns (single/multiple) to a DF. These columns get inserted in alphabetical order at the end of the DF.

This becomes advantageous compared to simple assignment in cases wherein you want to perform a series of chained operations directly on the returned dataframe.

Consider the same DF sample demonstrated by @DSM:

df = pd.DataFrame({"A": [1,2,3], "B": [2,3,4]})
   A  B
0  1  2
1  2  3
2  3  4

   A  B C   D
0  1  2   NaN
1  2  3   NaN
2  3  4   NaN

Note that this returns a copy with all the previous columns along with the newly created ones. In order for the original DF to be modified accordingly, use it like : df = df.assign(...) as it does not support inplace operation currently.

The Answer 5

23 people think this answer is useful

I like:

df['new'] = pd.Series(dtype='your_required_dtype')

If you have an empty dataframe, this solution makes sure that no new row containing only NaN is added.

Specifying dtype is not strictly necessary, however newer Pandas versions produce a DeprecationWarning if not specified.

The Answer 6

6 people think this answer is useful

if you want to add column name from a list

for i in a:

The Answer 7

5 people think this answer is useful

@emunsing’s answer is really cool for adding multiple columns, but I couldn’t get it to work for me in python 2.7. Instead, I found this works:

mydf = mydf.reindex(columns = np.append( mydf.columns.values, ['newcol1','newcol2'])

The Answer 8

2 people think this answer is useful

The below code address the question “How do I add n number of empty columns to my existing dataframe”. In the interest of keeping solutions to similar problems in one place, I am adding it here.

Approach 1 (to create 64 additional columns with column names from 1-64)

m = list(range(1,65,1)) 
df.join(dd).replace(np.nan,'') #df is the dataframe that already exists

Approach 2 (to create 64 additional columns with column names from 1-64)

df.reindex(df.columns.tolist() + list(range(1,65,1)), axis=1).replace(np.nan,'')

The Answer 9

1 people think this answer is useful

You can do

df['column'] = None #This works. This will create a new column with None type
df.column = None #This will work only when the column is already present in the dataframe 

The Answer 10

1 people think this answer is useful

One can use df.insert(index_to_insert_at, column_header, init_value) to insert new column at a specific index.

cost_tbl.insert(1, "col_name", "") 

The above statement would insert an empty Column after the first column.

The Answer 11

0 people think this answer is useful

Sorry for I did not explain my answer really well at beginning. There is another way to add an new column to an existing dataframe. 1st step, make a new empty data frame (with all the columns in your data frame, plus a new or few columns you want to add) called df_temp 2nd step, combine the df_temp and your data frame.

df_temp = pd.DataFrame(columns=(df_null.columns.tolist() + ['empty']))
df = pd.concat([df_temp, df])

It might be the best solution, but it is another way to think about this question.

the reason of I am using this method is because I am get this warning all the time:

: SettingWithCopyWarning: 
A value is trying to be set on a copy of a slice from a DataFrame.
Try using .loc[row_indexer,col_indexer] = value instead

See the caveats in the documentation:
  df["empty1"], df["empty2"] = [np.nan, ""]

great I found the way to disable the Warning

pd.options.mode.chained_assignment = None 

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