How to Update a Pandas DataFrame Row with New Values

As a data scientist or software engineer, you may often need to update a Pandas DataFrame row with new values. This can be done easily and efficiently using the Pandas library in Python. In this blog post, we will explain how to update a Pandas DataFrame row with new values, a step by step.

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction to Pandas DataFrame
  2. Updating a Pandas DataFrame Row
  1. Common Errors
  2. Pros and cons
  3. Conclusion

Introduction to Pandas DataFrame

Before we dive into the process of updating a Pandas DataFrame row, let’s first understand what a Pandas DataFrame is and how it works.

A Pandas DataFrame is a two-dimensional size-mutable, tabular data structure with rows and columns, similar to a spreadsheet or SQL table. It is built on top of the NumPy library and provides powerful data manipulation capabilities, including slicing, indexing, filtering, merging, and grouping.

Updating a Pandas DataFrame Row

There are several ways to update a row in a Pandas DataFrame. Here are some common methods:

Using .loc[] or .iloc[]

To update a Pandas DataFrame row with new values, we first need to locate the row we want to update. This can be done using the loc or iloc methods, depending on whether we want to locate the row by label or integer index.

Once we have located the row, we can update the values of the row using the assignment operator =. We simply need to assign the new values to the row using the column names as keys.

Here’s an example. Let’s say we have a Pandas DataFrame with three columns: Name, Age, and Gender. We want to update the row with Name = “John” and set the Age to 35 and Gender to “Male”. We can do this as follows:

import pandas as pd

# create a sample dataframe
df = pd.DataFrame({
    'Name': ['John', 'Mary', 'Peter'],
    'Age': [30, 25, 35],
    'Gender': ['Male', 'Female', 'Male']

# locate the row to update
row_index = df.loc[df['Name'] == 'John'].index[0]

# update the row with new values
df.loc[row_index, 'Age'] = 35
df.loc[row_index, 'Gender'] = 'Male'

# print the updated dataframe


    Name  Age  Gender
0   John   35    Male
1   Mary   25  Female
2  Peter   35    Male

In this example, we first create a sample Pandas DataFrame with three columns: Name, Age, and Gender. We then locate the row with Name = “John” using the loc method and assign its index to the row_index variable.

Next, we update the values of the row using the assignment operator =. We assign the new value 35 to the Age column and the new value “Male” to the Gender column using the column names as keys.

Finally, we print the updated dataframe, which now has the row with Name = “John” updated with the new values.

Using .at[] with Individual Values

The .at[] accessor allows you to access and modify a single value at a time.[0, 'Age'] = '35'

This will change the Age value at index 1 to 35

Using Boolean Indexing

Identify the row you want to update using boolean indexing.

df.loc[df['Name'] == 'John', 'Age'] = 35

This updates the Age value for the row where Name is ‘John’

Common Errors

  • Indexing errors: Ensure your index selection method (loc, iloc, boolean) targets the correct row. Miscounting indices or using incorrect labels can lead to updating the wrong row.

  • Missing key errors: When using assignment with column names, ensure the columns you’re referencing actually exist in the DataFrame. Trying to update non-existent columns will raise errors.

  • Type mismatch: Make sure the new values you’re assigning are compatible with the data type of the column you’re updating. Trying to assign strings to numerical columns or vice versa might raise errors.

  • Circular dependencies: When using .loc or .iloc with assignment, avoid relying on the updated values within the same operation. This can lead to unexpected results or infinite loops.

Pros and Cons

.loc[] and .iloc[]:

  • Pros: Precise control over row selection by label or index, easy to understand and implement.
  • Cons: Can be verbose for updating multiple columns, requires additional steps for locating rows if not already known.


  • Pros: Efficient for modifying single values, concise syntax.
  • Cons: Less intuitive for updating multiple values or entire rows, limited functionality compared to .loc and .iloc.

Boolean Indexing:

  • Pros: Flexible for updating subsets of rows based on conditions, efficient for large DataFrames.
  • Cons: More complex syntax than direct indexing, might be less clear for beginners.

Additional Tips:

  • When unsure about the index, use df.index to list all available indices.
  • Use .copy() to create a copy of the DataFrame before updating, allowing for safe experimentation and avoiding accidental modifications to the original data.


Updating a Pandas DataFrame row with new values is a simple and straightforward process that can be done using various methods in the Pandas library in Python. Choose the method that best fits your specific use case and preferences. Note that some methods may be more efficient than others depending on the size of your DataFrame and the nature of your updates.

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