In this tutorial, we’ll learn about Python Variable Scope – Global, Local, and Nonlocal with the help of examples.
In Python, we can declare variables in three different scopes: local scope, global, and nonlocal scope.
A variable scope specifies the region where we can access a variable. For example,
def add_numbers(): sum = 5 + 4
Here, the sum variable is created inside the function, so it can only be accessed within it (local scope). This type of variable is called a local variable.
Based on the scope, we can classify Python variables into three types:
- Local Variables
- Global Variables
- Nonlocal Variables
Python Variable Scope: Local Variables
When we declare variables inside a function, these variables will have a local scope (within the function). We cannot access them outside the function.
These types of variables are called local variables. For example,
def greet(): # local variable message = 'Hello' print('Local', message) greet() # try to access message variable # outside greet() function print(message)
OutputLocal Hello NameError: name 'message' is not defined
Here, the message variable is local to the
greet() function, so it can only be accessed within the function.
That’s why we get an error when we try to access it outside the
To fix this issue, we can make the variable named message global.
Python Variable Scope: Global Variables
In Python, a variable declared outside of the function or in global scope is known as a global variable. This means that a global variable can be accessed inside or outside of the function.
Let’s see an example of how a global variable is created in Python.
# declare global variable message = 'Hello' def greet(): # declare local variable print('Local', message) greet() print('Global', message)
OutputLocal Hello Global Hello
This time we can access the message variable from outside of the
greet() function. This is because we have created the message variable as the global variable.
# declare global variable message = 'Hello'
Now, message will be accessible from any scope (region) of the program.
Python Nonlocal Variables
In Python, nonlocal variables are used in nested functions whose local scope is not defined. This means that the variable can be neither in the local nor the global scope.
We use the
nonlocal keyword to create nonlocal variables.For example,
# outside function def outer(): message = 'local' # nested function def inner(): # declare nonlocal variable nonlocal message message = 'nonlocal' print("inner:", message) inner() print("outer:", message) outer()
Outputinner: nonlocal outer: nonlocal
In the above example, there is a nested
inner() function. We have used the
nonlocal keywords to create a nonlocal variable.
inner() function is defined in the scope of another function
NoteIf we change the value of a nonlocal variable, the changes appear in the local variable