Python Bit Functions – Beginners Overview

Python Bit Functions

Hello, readers! In this article, we will be focusing on Important Python Bit functions, in detail.

So, let us begin!! 🙂

Understanding Python bit functions

With formats of data like octal, hexadecimal, numeric, etc, bits play an important role in data manipulation. This makes it easier for us to deal with bit-level information and progress over the system integrations and programming.

In Python, we have functions to ease our process on its way 🙂

Bit Functions in Python

Yes, the below functions helps us analyze bit level information and inspect the integer data on the same grounds-

  1. The bit_length() function
  2. The to_bytes() function
  3. The from_bytes() function

Let us focus on each one of them in the upcoming sections.

1. Python bit_length() function

The Python bit_length() function enables us to calculate the count of the bits that are inherited by the binary representation of any integer value altogether.

At first, the function converts the integer value to its equivalent binary representation. Further, it counts the bits and returns the score. During this, the bit_length() function ignores the leading zeros from the representation and also drops the sign values too.


Here, we actually store the number/integer value into a variable and then associate the variable with the bit_length() function.



Now, in the first case, we have passed 3 as the number to be associated with the bit_length() function. The integer value is converted to its binary equivalent – 0011. As discussed above, the bit_length() function neglects the leading zeros, that is the reason the output returned is 2 (for the two digits (1 and 1).

In the second case, we pass -2 as the integer to the function. The bit_length() function treats every negative number as another non-negative number because it neglects the signed score for the same. So, the binary equivalent of 2 is 0010, and as the leading zeros are not considered, we have 2 as the output.

z = 3

x = -2



2. Python from_bytes() function

The from_bytes() function enables us to convert the byte level data into the integer format based on certain parameters.

We need to pass an array of bytes to the function, along with byteorder as a parameter. It evaluates and represents the integer value corresponding to the array of bytes.

The byteorder parameter decides the placeholder for the most significant bits in the final integer representation.


int.from_bytes(bytes, byteorder, signed=False)
  • length: Represents the length of the output array.
  • byteorder: If set to ‘big’, the most significant byte is placed at the beginning of the array. If set to ‘little’, the most significant byte is at the end of the byte array.
  • signed: If True, it makes use of two’s complement to represent the integer as an array of bytes.


print(int.from_bytes(b'\x00\x12', byteorder ='big'))



3. Python to_bytes() function

Python to_bytes() function is the complete opposite of from_bytes() function. It takes an integer value as input and returns bytes value representation of the output.

That is, it accepts integer value as input and returns the array of bytes as output. We can customize the length of the output byte representation using the length parameter of the function.


int.to_bytes(length, byteorder, signed=False)


Here, we have 1024 as an array of bytes and the most significant bit is at the starting of the array, we have passed 2 as the length that the output should be.

print((1024).to_bytes(2, byteorder ='big'))




By this, we have come to the end of this topic. Feel free to comment below, in case you have any questions.

For more such posts related to Python programming, stay tuned with us.

Till then, Happy Learning!! 🙂

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