Pandas: How to get the list of indexes in a Series (4 ways)

Updated: February 17, 2024 By: Guest Contributor Post a comment


Pandas is an open-source data analysis and manipulation tool built on top of the Python programming language. It offers data structures and operations for manipulating numerical tables and time series.

A Pandas Series is a one-dimensional array-like object that can hold many data types, including objects. Each element in a Series is associated with an index. The default index range is from 0 to n-1, where n is the length of the data. However, indexes in Pandas are highly flexible and can be explicitly defined to suit various requirements, making knowledge of how to interact with them invaluable.

This tutorial will guide you through various methods to get a list of indexes in a Pandas Series, covering basic to advanced techniques with code examples and outputs where applicable.

Getting Started with Indexes in a Series

First, ensure you have Pandas installed in your environment:

pip install pandas

Next, let’s create a basic Series object to work with:

import pandas as pd

data = [10, 20, 30, 40, 50]
series = pd.Series(data)

This will output:

0    10
1    20
2    30
3    40
4    50
dtype: int64

Here, each value in the Series is associated with a default zero-based index.

Method 1: Using the .index Attribute

The simplest way to get a list of indexes in a Series is by accessing the .index attribute. This attribute returns an Index object, which can easily be converted to a list:

index_list = series.index.tolist()

This will output:

[0, 1, 2, 3, 4]

This method is straightforward and works well for most use cases.

Custom Indexes

Before proceeding to more advanced techniques, it’s important to understand that Series can have custom indexes defined. For instance:

data = ['a', 'b', 'c', 'd', 'e']
series_with_custom_index = pd.Series(data, index=[100, 101, 102, 103, 104])

This will output:

100    a
101    b
102    c
103    d
104    e
dtype: object

This flexibility can be especially useful when data has an intrinsic identification index that you want to preserve or utilize within your analysis.

Method 2: Looping Through the Index

While .index followed by .tolist() is the straightforward method, there are situations where you may need to loop through the index. This approach is useful when you need to process or filter indexes based on certain conditions. For example:

index_list = [i for i in series.index]

This will also output a list of the indexes:

[0, 1, 2, 3, 4]

This method gives you more control over the indexes you want to extract, especially when paired with conditionals.

Advanced Techniques

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s explore some more advanced techniques that involve indexes.

Method 3: Using Boolean Indexing

Boolean indexing is a powerful feature in Pandas that allows you to select data based on the actual values. You can use this feature to filter out indexes based on the series values:

boolean_series = series > 20
filtered_indexes = series[boolean_series].index.tolist()

This will output:

[2, 3, 4]

Here, we only extract indexes of elements where the value is greater than 20. Boolean indexing is particularly useful when working with large datasets and you need to perform operations on specific subsets of data.

Method 4: Using the .loc and .iloc Accessors

The .loc and .iloc accessors are two powerful tools that provide various ways to access a Series data. While they are commonly used to select data based on labels (.loc) or positions (.iloc), they can also be used to access indexes indirectly by performing operations that involve the index. This method requires a bit more Pandas knowledge and is more indirect compared to the others mentioned. However, it offers flexibility in data selection, especially when dealing with complicated index structures.

Here’s an example that demonstrates how to use both .loc and .iloc to indirectly work with indexes in a Series:

import pandas as pd

# Creating a Series with a custom index
data = pd.Series([100, 200, 300, 400, 500], index=['a', 'b', 'c', 'd', 'e'])

# Using .loc to access data and then getting the index of the resulting subset
# For example, getting indexes for values greater than 300
filtered_data_loc = data.loc[data > 300]
indexes_from_loc = filtered_data_loc.index
print("Indexes from .loc:", indexes_from_loc)

# Using .iloc indirectly is less straightforward because it deals with positions.
# However, you can convert conditions to positions. For instance, finding positions where values are less than 400
positions = [i for i, value in enumerate(data) if value < 400]
# Now, use .iloc to access this data and get indexes
filtered_data_iloc = data.iloc[positions]
indexes_from_iloc = filtered_data_iloc.index
print("Indexes from .iloc:", indexes_from_iloc)


  • The .loc accessor is used with a boolean mask (data > 300) to filter the Series for values greater than 300. The resulting Series subset retains the original indexes, which can be accessed via .index.
  • For .iloc, since it’s inherently position-based, we first manually compute the positions where values satisfy a certain condition (here, < 400) by iterating through the Series. These positions are then used with .iloc to access the corresponding subset of the Series, from which we can get the indexes.

Remember, .iloc is inherently about integer-location based indexing, so using it to “indirectly” get indexes based on value conditions requires an intermediate step of translating those conditions into integer positions.


In summary, this guide covered several methods for getting a list of indexes in a Pandas Series, from simple attribute access to more advanced techniques involving Boolean indexing and Pandas data accessors. Understanding how to effectively interact with indexes in Pandas can greatly enhance your data analysis and manipulation capabilities.

Remember, the method you choose depends on your specific needs and the complexity of your dataset. Mastering these techniques will make you a more proficient data analyst or data scientist, capable of handling various data processing tasks with ease.