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How to Implement a Progress Bar in Python

To implement a progress bar in Python, write a function that takes its arguments the progress in percents, and the width of the bar. Then, based on the percentage:

  • Calculate the number of hashtags on the left.
  • Calculate the number of spaces on the right.
  • Print the hashtags, spaces, and the percentage on the same line.

If you only came for the code, here it is with example use:

from time import sleep

def progress(percent=0, width=40):
    left = width * percent // 100
    right = width - left
    tags = "#" * left
    spaces = " " * right
    percents = f"{percent:.0f}%"
    print("\r[", tags, spaces, "]", percents, sep="", end="", flush=True)

# Example run
for i in range(101):

This outputs a progress bar that fills up among the percentage.

[#################################             ] 75%

Next, let’s go through the code in detail to understand what happens.

Implementation of Progress Bar in Python

Let’s start with the 4th and 5th lines:

left = width * percent // 100
right = width - left

Here the left is the number of hashtags given the progress percentage. For example, at 30% it is (40 * 30) / 100 = 12. The right is the number of spaces on the right-hand side. In case of 30% progress it is 40 – 12 = 28.

On lines 7 and 8, we multiply a hashtag/empty space by the number of times they should occur:

tags = "#" * left
spaces = " " * right

On line 10, we format the number of percents to be displayed in the mix:

percents = f"{percent:.0f}%"

On line 12, we put it all together and print the hashtags, spaces, and percentages. There is so much going on in this line.

print("\r[", tags, spaces, "]", percents, sep="", end="", flush=True)

Let’s take a deeper look at each part of the line:

  • “\r[“ always prints “[“ on the same place in the line. The \r is called a carriage return. It always goes back to the same starting point of the line.
  • Then we add the tags, spaces, closing square bracket, and the percentage. This is all we need for the progress bar itself.
  • Next we specify an optional parameter sep. It acts as the separator between each printed item. By default it is a space. But we do not want a space so we specify it an empty string “”.
  • Then we tweak the end argument. By default, Python print() adds a line break at the end of the line. But this is not what we want. So we also specify the end as an empty string.
  • Finally, the flush is set True. By default, Python does not display consecutive print() calls if they do not have a line breaks. This is due to buffering, which optimizes performance.

This is all there is to it.

Now you should have a basic idea of how the progress bar code works in Python.


Thanks for reading.

Happy coding!

Further Reading

Python Tricks

How to Write to a File in Python

The with Statement in Python


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