Pandas – Understanding DataFrame.eval() Method (with examples)

Updated: February 22, 2024 By: Guest Contributor Post a comment


Pandas is a vital tool in a data scientist’s toolkit, renowned for its functionalities that simplify the process of data manipulation and analysis. One of the lesser-known yet powerful features is the eval() function. This tutorial aims to uncover the capabilities of the eval() method, guiding you through 5 examples from basic usage to more sophisticated applications.

Getting Started with eval()

The eval() method in Pandas allows for the evaluation of string expressions in the DataFrame context. This can significantly speed up operations that involve DataFrame columns. It’s syntactically simpler and computationally faster than traditional methods, especially for large DataFrames.

Example 1: Basic Arithmetic Operations

import pandas as pd
df = pd.DataFrame({'A': [1, 2, 3], 'B': [4, 5, 6], 'C': [7, 8, 9]})
print(df.eval('D = A + B + C'))


   A  B  C   D
0  1  4  7  12
1  2  5  8  15
2  3  6  9  18

This example showcases the simplicity of performing arithmetic operations on DataFrame columns using eval(). Columns A, B, and C are summed to create a new column D.

Example 2: Filtering with eval()

filtered_df = df.eval('A > 1')


0    False
1     True
2     True
Name: A, dtype: bool

This demonstrates how eval() can also be used for conditional evaluation, acting here as a filter to identify rows where column A’s value is greater than 1.

Advanced Column Operations

Example 3: Using String Functions

df = pd.DataFrame({'FirstName': ['Alice', 'Bob', 'Charlie'], 'LastName': ['Smith', 'Jones', 'Brown']})
print(df.eval("FullName = FirstName + ' ' + LastName"))


  FirstName LastName      FullName
0     Alice    Smith  Alice Smith
1       Bob    Jones    Bob Jones
2   Charlie   Brown Charlie Brown

This example illustrates the power of eval() in concatenating strings, a handy feature for data cleaning and preparation tasks.

Example 4: Inline Conditional Statements

df = pd.DataFrame({'A': [10, 20, 30], 'B': [20, 30, 40]})
print(df.eval('C = A*2 if A > 15 else B'))


    A   B   C
0  10  20  20
1  20  30  40
2  30  40  60

Here, the eval() method is used to apply conditional logic directly within the DataFrame, showcasing its flexibility for complex data manipulations.

Performance considerations

The eval() method can offer performance advantages, particularly with large DataFrames. These benefits arise from its ability to leverage NumExpr, a library that supports fast numerical expressions. The performance gain becomes noticeable with bigger datasets where traditional Python operations could become a bottleneck.


Throughout this exploration of the eval() method in Pandas, we’ve seen its efficacy in performing a range of operations from simple arithmetic to complex string manipulation and conditional logic directly within DataFrames. As showcased, eval() not only simplifies the syntax but can also offer significant performance benefits, making it an essential tool in the data manipulation arsenal.