Understanding the Python eval() Function: A Comprehensive Guide

In this tutorial, we will delve into one of Python’s built-in functions – eval(). This function is quite powerful and can be very useful when used correctly. However, it also has potential risks if not handled properly.

What is eval()?

The eval() function in Python evaluates the “string” like a python expression and returns the result evaluated from the expression. The syntax for using this function is as follows:

eval(expression, globals=None, locals=None)

The parameters are:

  • expression: This string parsed and evaluated as a Python expression.
  • globals (optional): a dictionary containing global parameters.
  • locals (optional): a dictionary containing local parameters.

A Simple Example of Using eval()

x = 1
print(eval('x + 1'))

In this example, ‘x + 1’ is a string that looks like an expression. When passed to eval(), it gets evaluated just like any other Python code would. The output will be ‘2’ because x was defined as 1 before calling eval().

Potential Risks with eval()

The power of eval() comes with certain risks. Since it parses and executes any code string you pass to it, malicious code could potentially be executed if you’re not careful about what strings you’re passing to eval().

Risk Mitigation

One way to mitigate this risk is by using the optional globals and locals parameters. You can use these to limit what variables and functions are available to the code being evaluated.

x = 1
print(eval('x + 1', {'x': x}, {}))

In this example, even if there was a malicious command in the string, it wouldn’t be able to do anything because we’ve limited its scope to only know about variable x.


The eval() function is a powerful tool in Python that allows you to evaluate strings as if they were code. While it can be very useful, it’s also important to understand the potential security risks associated with its use. Always ensure that you’re controlling what gets passed into eval(), especially when dealing with user input or other untrusted sources.

We hope this tutorial has been helpful in understanding how to properly use Python’s eval() function!

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