# How to Fix the Python Error: typeerror: only integer scalar arrays can be converted to a scalar index

Flexibility is at the same time both one of Python’s biggest strengths and weaknesses. Most programming languages are quite strict with data types and syntax. But in Python, all of these areas and more can almost flow like water. Various elements within Python can be easily or even automatically converted to meet your needs. This even holds true for additions that come from third-party libraries like NumPy.

However, that freedom can also open the way for potential problems. And this is further complicated by more advanced third-party functionality. A library for scientific computations like NumPy can make things a little more complicated in comparison to the norm. And you may well find yourself facing errors like “typeerror: only integer scalar arrays can be converted to a scalar index”.

### An Overview of the Typeerror

The “typeerror: only integer scalar arrays can be converted to a scalar index” Python error can be confusing in large part because it leans heavily on NumPy’s additional libraries. Likewise, the error expects users to understand a little of what’s going on underneath NumPy and Python’s user-friendliness.

The error is essentially stating that the Python interpreter can’t properly work with a NumPy array in the manner requested. The reason usually comes down to an inability to run the demanded function with data that can’t be properly iterated. For example, if you were trying to join two NumPy arrays together without defining a set axis. This is essentially trying to use an array in a manner closer to that of a standard Python list.

### Looking Deeper Into Typeerrors and Collections

This error message deals with some complex concepts. But actually working with the related tools is easier than you might think. Take a look at the following Python code.

import numpy

x = numpy.array([1,2,3,4,5])
y = numpy.array([6,7,8,9,10])

z = numpy.concatenate(x, y)
print(z)

The code begins by importing the NumPy library. This is what will let us work with NumPy arrays and some related functionality. Next, we create and populate two NumPy arrays as x and y. Line 6 proceeds to join the two arrays together as z. And, finally, in line 7 we print out the contents of z to screen. Or, at least, that’s the ultimate intent of the code. What actually prints out is the “typeerror: only integer scalar arrays can be converted to a scalar index” error message.

The main problem is how we’re trying to join the data together. NumPy has a self-contained concatenate function that takes care of a lot of the issues which might otherwise arise from the process. However, it does have some requirements and default behavior that might be a surprise when you run into them for the first time.

NumPy’s concatenate function joins data using a row as the focal point. And it does so through iteration. This means that the default system requires full compatibility of data types and an ability to work through the lowest level of a container’s contents on an entry by entry level. This can be an issue when we don’t first modify the data into a compatible format like a list or tuple. But this also leads directly to some easy solutions to the error.

The most important takeaway from this problem is one of compatibility between type. Python’s typeerrors seldom mean that you can’t perform a task. It instead suggests that you’re trying to fit a square piece into a round hole. To do so requires sanding down the piece’s edges. Or, within Python’s system, converting a data type into a different format that’s more compatible with a given situation. This is exactly how we’ll be able to fix this problem.

### How To Fix the Error

The typeerror is easy to fix by simply converting the array into a more compatible format. Take a look at the following code.

import numpy

x = numpy.array([1,2,3,4,5])
y = numpy.array([6,7,8,9,10])

z = numpy.concatenate((x, y))
print(z)

This is quite similar to the original example that generated our typeerror. There’s one major difference though. In line 6 we explicitly tell NumPy’s concatenate that we want to use the variables as a tuple. The script can then properly concatenate the results and print it out on line 7. Try changing line six to the following, and run the script again.

z = numpy.concatenate([x, y])

This change works in a similar way to the previous example. The main difference is that we’re specifying a list conversion. But both of these fixes work on a similar principle. And this generally holds true for most typeerror instances in Python. A typeerror means that there’s an incompatibility between type and functionality. It doesn’t mean we can’t use that functionality. It simply means that we need to refit data into an appropriate format or type before doing so.

Ultimately our methodology can even involve rapidly converting data between different formats. This can even happen automatically without any stated intent. For example, there’s one hidden conversion in the previous code. We explicitly convert the arrays to a tuple or list. But when we print that data to screen we’re converting it all over again into a string. It’s just that Python’s interpreter performs the conversion itself without explicit direction since print requires a string to function.

How to Fix the Python Error: typeerror: only integer scalar arrays can be converted to a scalar index
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