Marc Chen Marc Chen - 5 months ago 21
Python Question

"Counting digits" on numbers input by user (Python 2.x)

Please bear with my novice question as I just started learning Python (2.x).
I'm trying to run a script where user could enter any number (e.g. ints or float) and the expected output would be the total digit numbers of that input number.

However, I've encountered the following problems and wondered if you could kindly help guide me through solving them. Many thanks!! :)


  1. In the printout message, the n value was always 0; whereas I wished to print out the original input number by the user.

  2. I wished it would also process the float number. For now, a 'ValueError' was returned and the script was halted whenever a float number was entered.

  3. If user enters any string or blank character, the script should ignore the input and repeat all over again asking for the user input until the number with correct format (i.e. either integer or float number) was entered.


def num_digits(n):
count = 0
while n:
count = count + 1
n = n/10
print 'The total digits for this number, ', n, ', are: ', count
return count

user_input = abs(int(raw_input('Enter a number:\n')))


Since you also want to be able to count the digits of floats, simply doing n/10 isn't enough. With float values, your loop will end up being infinite, since it will be doing float division instead of int division. (Ex. 16.3 / 10 = 1.63 --> 1.63 / 10 = .163 etc -- it will never reach 0)

To avoid this problem, I recommend treating the number as a string and counting the number of characters in the string which are digits.

def num_digits(n):
    count = 0
    curr = n # remaining string you're currently evaluating
    while (curr != ''):
        digit = curr[len(curr)-1] # get final char
        curr = curr[:len(curr)-1] # trim last char off the string
        if (not digit.isdigit()):
            # ignore things like decimal points or negative signs
        count += 1
    return count

while True:
    value = raw_input('Enter a number:\n') # keep it in string form
        convert = float(value) # if it's a valid float, then it's also a valid int
        print "not a number. enter a valid number"

nd = num_digits(value)
print('{} has {} digits'.format(value, nd))

Sample output:

# float number, ignores negative sign and decimal point
$ python 
Enter a number:
-16.3 has 3 digits

# asks for input until it has a valid number
$ python 
Enter a number:
not a number. enter a valid number
Enter a number:
not a number. enter a valid number
Enter a number:
89 has 2 digits