How to Insert Values into Pandas DataFrame Columns

What Will You Learn?

In this comprehensive guide, you will delve into the world of pandas DataFrames and learn various techniques to insert values into DataFrame columns. By the end of this tutorial, you will master the art of enriching your datasets by adding new data, filling missing values, and expanding your DataFrame efficiently.

Introduction to Problem and Solution

When working with data in Python, pandas stands out as a powerful tool for data manipulation and analysis. One common task is enhancing a DataFrame by inserting new values into existing columns or creating entirely new columns based on specific criteria. This can be crucial for tasks like data cleaning, feature engineering in machine learning projects, or simply augmenting your dataset with additional information.

To tackle this challenge effectively, we will utilize pandas methods such as .loc, .iloc, and assign() to seamlessly add values to our DataFrame columns. Additionally, we will explore conditional value assignment for more intricate scenarios where straightforward insertion is insufficient.


import pandas as pd

# Sample DataFrame creation
data = {'Name': ['John', 'Anna', 'Peter', 'Linda'],
        'Age': [28, 34, 29, 32]}
df = pd.DataFrame(data)

# Adding a new column with default value
df['City'] = 'Unknown'

# Updating specific cells in an existing column
df.loc[0,'City'] = 'New York'
df.loc[1,'City'] = 'Los Angeles'

# Conditionally updating/adding values based on another column 
df['IsSenior'] = df['Age'].apply(lambda x: True if x >= 65 else False)


# Copyright PHD


  • Adding a New Column: Introduce a new column by directly assigning it a default value across all rows.

  • Updating Specific Cells: Use .loc[] to target specific rows within a column for updates.

  • Conditional Value Addition: Apply conditions using .apply() to create a new column based on certain criteria.

  1. How do I add multiple columns at once?

  2. You can use the assign() method of pandas DataFrames to add multiple new columns simultaneously by passing keyword arguments representing each new column.

  3. Can I use functions when adding new elements?

  4. Absolutely! Custom functions or lambda expressions can be utilized when conditionally inserting or updating dataframe elements.

  5. What if I want to insert a row instead of modifying columns?

  6. For inserting rows into your dataframe, consider using .append() for single row additions or pd.concat() for flexible concatenation options.

  7. Is there any way to update based on index instead of label?

  8. Yes! Utilize .iloc[] which selects based on integer positions rather than labels/indexes.

  9. How do I handle NaN/missing values when adding new data?

  10. When dealing with missing data points (NaNs), consider using methods like .fillna(value) post-update/addition operation(s).


Mastering the skills of adding and updating values within pandas DataFrames is essential for effective data manipulation and analysis. From simple additions through direct assignment to complex conditional updates, these techniques significantly enhance your ability to work with real-world datasets efficiently.

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