Lists are very commonly used to store sequences of values (for example, numbers) in Python. When working with lists, it can be handy to know how to quickly get the sum of values in a list. For example, you have a list of your recorded footsteps in the last seven days and you want to know the total sum. In this tutorial, we will look at how to get the sum of the elements in a list in Python with the help of some examples.

## How to get the sum of a list of numbers in Python?

You can use the python built-in `sum()`

function to get the sum of list elements. Alternatively, you can use a loop to iterate through the list items and use a variable to keep track of the sum.

Let’s look at the above-mentioned methods with the help of some examples.

### Using `sum()`

to get the total in a list

The built-in `sum()`

function in Python is used to return the sum of an iterable. To get the sum total of a list of numbers, you can pass the list as an argument to the `sum()`

function.

# create a list ls = [10, 15, 20, 25] # sum of list elements sum(ls)

Output:

70

We get the sum of the values in the list as a scaler value.

Note that the `sum()`

function may result in loss of precision with extended sums of floating-point numbers. For example –

# create a list ls = [0.1, 0.1, 0.1, 0.1, 0.1, 0.1, 0.1, 0.1, 0.1] # sum of list elements sum(ls)

Output:

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0.8999999999999999

As an alternative, you can use the `math`

standard library’s `fsum()`

function to get an accurate sum of floating-point numbers and prevent loss of precision.

import math # create a list ls = [0.1, 0.1, 0.1, 0.1, 0.1, 0.1, 0.1, 0.1, 0.1] # sum of list elements math.fsum(ls)

Output:

0.9

We get the accurate result this time. For more on the `fsum()`

function, refer to its documentation.

## Using loop to get the sum

Alternatively, you can use the straightforward method of iterating through the list elements and keeping track of the sum.

# create a list ls = [10, 15, 20, 25] # use a loop to get the sum total = 0 for item in ls: total += item print(total)

Output:

70

We get the sum of the values in the list.

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