Python list of dictionaries search

The Question :

527 people think this question is useful

Assume I have this:

[
{"name": "Tom", "age": 10},
{"name": "Mark", "age": 5},
{"name": "Pam", "age": 7}
]

and by searching “Pam” as name, I want to retrieve the related dictionary: {name: "Pam", age: 7}

How to achieve this ?

The Question Comments :

The Answer 1

610 people think this answer is useful

You can use a generator expression:

>>> dicts = [
...     { "name": "Tom", "age": 10 },
...     { "name": "Mark", "age": 5 },
...     { "name": "Pam", "age": 7 },
...     { "name": "Dick", "age": 12 }
... ]

>>> next(item for item in dicts if item["name"] == "Pam")
{'age': 7, 'name': 'Pam'}

If you need to handle the item not being there, then you can do what user Matt suggested in his comment and provide a default using a slightly different API:

next((item for item in dicts if item["name"] == "Pam"), None)

And to find the index of the item, rather than the item itself, you can enumerate() the list:

next((i for i, item in enumerate(dicts) if item["name"] == "Pam"), None)

The Answer 2

239 people think this answer is useful

This looks to me the most pythonic way:

people = [
{'name': "Tom", 'age': 10},
{'name': "Mark", 'age': 5},
{'name': "Pam", 'age': 7}
]

filter(lambda person: person['name'] == 'Pam', people)

result (returned as a list in Python 2):

[{'age': 7, 'name': 'Pam'}]

Note: In Python 3, a filter object is returned. So the python3 solution would be:

list(filter(lambda person: person['name'] == 'Pam', people))

The Answer 3

71 people think this answer is useful

@Frédéric Hamidi’s answer is great. In Python 3.x the syntax for .next() changed slightly. Thus a slight modification:

>>> dicts = [
     { "name": "Tom", "age": 10 },
     { "name": "Mark", "age": 5 },
     { "name": "Pam", "age": 7 },
     { "name": "Dick", "age": 12 }
 ]
>>> next(item for item in dicts if item["name"] == "Pam")
{'age': 7, 'name': 'Pam'}

As mentioned in the comments by @Matt, you can add a default value as such:

>>> next((item for item in dicts if item["name"] == "Pam"), False)
{'name': 'Pam', 'age': 7}
>>> next((item for item in dicts if item["name"] == "Sam"), False)
False
>>>

The Answer 4

55 people think this answer is useful

You can use a list comprehension:

def search(name, people):
    return [element for element in people if element['name'] == name]

The Answer 5

37 people think this answer is useful
people = [
{'name': "Tom", 'age': 10},
{'name': "Mark", 'age': 5},
{'name': "Pam", 'age': 7}
]

def search(name):
    for p in people:
        if p['name'] == name:
            return p

search("Pam")

The Answer 6

33 people think this answer is useful

I tested various methods to go through a list of dictionaries and return the dictionaries where key x has a certain value.

Results:

  • Speed: list comprehension > generator expression >> normal list iteration >>> filter.
  • All scale linear with the number of dicts in the list (10x list size -> 10x time).
  • The keys per dictionary does not affect speed significantly for large amounts (thousands) of keys. Please see this graph I calculated: https://imgur.com/a/quQzv (method names see below).

All tests done with Python 3.6.4, W7x64.

from random import randint
from timeit import timeit


list_dicts = []
for _ in range(1000):     # number of dicts in the list
    dict_tmp = {}
    for i in range(10):   # number of keys for each dict
        dict_tmp[f"key{i}"] = randint(0,50)
    list_dicts.append( dict_tmp )



def a():
    # normal iteration over all elements
    for dict_ in list_dicts:
        if dict_["key3"] == 20:
            pass

def b():
    # use 'generator'
    for dict_ in (x for x in list_dicts if x["key3"] == 20):
        pass

def c():
    # use 'list'
    for dict_ in [x for x in list_dicts if x["key3"] == 20]:
        pass

def d():
    # use 'filter'
    for dict_ in filter(lambda x: x['key3'] == 20, list_dicts):
        pass

Results:

1.7303 # normal list iteration 
1.3849 # generator expression 
1.3158 # list comprehension 
7.7848 # filter

The Answer 7

10 people think this answer is useful

To add just a tiny bit to @FrédéricHamidi.

In case you are not sure a key is in the the list of dicts, something like this would help:

next((item for item in dicts if item.get("name") and item["name"] == "Pam"), None)

The Answer 8

10 people think this answer is useful

Have you ever tried out the pandas package? It’s perfect for this kind of search task and optimized too.

import pandas as pd

listOfDicts = [
{"name": "Tom", "age": 10},
{"name": "Mark", "age": 5},
{"name": "Pam", "age": 7}
]

# Create a data frame, keys are used as column headers.
# Dict items with the same key are entered into the same respective column.
df = pd.DataFrame(listOfDicts)

# The pandas dataframe allows you to pick out specific values like so:

df2 = df[ (df['name'] == 'Pam') & (df['age'] == 7) ]

# Alternate syntax, same thing

df2 = df[ (df.name == 'Pam') & (df.age == 7) ]

I’ve added a little bit of benchmarking below to illustrate pandas’ faster runtimes on a larger scale i.e. 100k+ entries:

setup_large = 'dicts = [];\
[dicts.extend(({ "name": "Tom", "age": 10 },{ "name": "Mark", "age": 5 },\
{ "name": "Pam", "age": 7 },{ "name": "Dick", "age": 12 })) for _ in range(25000)];\
from operator import itemgetter;import pandas as pd;\
df = pd.DataFrame(dicts);'

setup_small = 'dicts = [];\
dicts.extend(({ "name": "Tom", "age": 10 },{ "name": "Mark", "age": 5 },\
{ "name": "Pam", "age": 7 },{ "name": "Dick", "age": 12 }));\
from operator import itemgetter;import pandas as pd;\
df = pd.DataFrame(dicts);'

method1 = '[item for item in dicts if item["name"] == "Pam"]'
method2 = 'df[df["name"] == "Pam"]'

import timeit
t = timeit.Timer(method1, setup_small)
print('Small Method LC: ' + str(t.timeit(100)))
t = timeit.Timer(method2, setup_small)
print('Small Method Pandas: ' + str(t.timeit(100)))

t = timeit.Timer(method1, setup_large)
print('Large Method LC: ' + str(t.timeit(100)))
t = timeit.Timer(method2, setup_large)
print('Large Method Pandas: ' + str(t.timeit(100)))

#Small Method LC: 0.000191926956177
#Small Method Pandas: 0.044392824173
#Large Method LC: 1.98827004433
#Large Method Pandas: 0.324505090714

The Answer 9

7 people think this answer is useful

This is a general way of searching a value in a list of dictionaries:

def search_dictionaries(key, value, list_of_dictionaries):
    return [element for element in list_of_dictionaries if element[key] == value]

The Answer 10

6 people think this answer is useful
names = [{'name':'Tom', 'age': 10}, {'name': 'Mark', 'age': 5}, {'name': 'Pam', 'age': 7}]
resultlist = [d    for d in names     if d.get('name', '') == 'Pam']
first_result = resultlist[0]

This is one way…

The Answer 11

6 people think this answer is useful

Simply using list comprehension:

[i for i in dct if i['name'] == 'Pam'][0]

Sample code:

dct = [
    {'name': 'Tom', 'age': 10},
    {'name': 'Mark', 'age': 5},
    {'name': 'Pam', 'age': 7}
]

print([i for i in dct if i['name'] == 'Pam'][0])

> {'age': 7, 'name': 'Pam'}

The Answer 12

5 people think this answer is useful

You can achieve this with the usage of filter and next methods in Python.

filter method filters the given sequence and returns an iterator. next method accepts an iterator and returns the next element in the list.

So you can find the element by,

my_dict = [
    {"name": "Tom", "age": 10},
    {"name": "Mark", "age": 5},
    {"name": "Pam", "age": 7}
]

next(filter(lambda obj: obj.get('name') == 'Pam', my_dict), None)

and the output is,

{'name': 'Pam', 'age': 7}

Note: The above code will return None incase if the name we are searching is not found.

The Answer 13

4 people think this answer is useful

My first thought would be that you might want to consider creating a dictionary of these dictionaries … if, for example, you were going to be searching it more a than small number of times.

However that might be a premature optimization. What would be wrong with:

def get_records(key, store=dict()):
    '''Return a list of all records containing name==key from our store
    '''
    assert key is not None
    return [d for d in store if d['name']==key]

The Answer 14

4 people think this answer is useful
dicts=[
{"name": "Tom", "age": 10},
{"name": "Mark", "age": 5},
{"name": "Pam", "age": 7}
]

from collections import defaultdict
dicts_by_name=defaultdict(list)
for d in dicts:
    dicts_by_name[d['name']]=d

print dicts_by_name['Tom']

#output
#>>>
#{'age': 10, 'name': 'Tom'}

The Answer 15

4 people think this answer is useful

One simple way using list comprehensions is , if l is the list

l = [
{"name": "Tom", "age": 10},
{"name": "Mark", "age": 5},
{"name": "Pam", "age": 7}
]

then

[d['age'] for d in l if d['name']=='Tom']

The Answer 16

2 people think this answer is useful

You can try this:

''' lst: list of dictionaries '''
lst = [{"name": "Tom", "age": 10}, {"name": "Mark", "age": 5}, {"name": "Pam", "age": 7}]

search = raw_input("What name: ") #Input name that needs to be searched (say 'Pam')

print [ lst[i] for i in range(len(lst)) if(lst[i]["name"]==search) ][0] #Output
>>> {'age': 7, 'name': 'Pam'} 

The Answer 17

2 people think this answer is useful

Most (if not all) implementations proposed here have two flaws:

  • They assume only one key to be passed for searching, while it may be interesting to have more for complex dict
  • They assume all keys passed for searching exist in the dicts, hence they don’t deal correctly with KeyError occuring when it is not.

An updated proposition:

def find_first_in_list(objects, **kwargs):
    return next((obj for obj in objects if
                 len(set(obj.keys()).intersection(kwargs.keys())) > 0 and
                 all([obj[k] == v for k, v in kwargs.items() if k in obj.keys()])),
                None)

Maybe not the most pythonic, but at least a bit more failsafe.

Usage:

>>> obj1 = find_first_in_list(list_of_dict, name='Pam', age=7)
>>> obj2 = find_first_in_list(list_of_dict, name='Pam', age=27)
>>> obj3 = find_first_in_list(list_of_dict, name='Pam', address='nowhere')
>>> 
>>> print(obj1, obj2, obj3)
{"name": "Pam", "age": 7}, None, {"name": "Pam", "age": 7}

The gist.

The Answer 18

1 people think this answer is useful

Here is a comparison using iterating throuhg list, using filter+lambda or refactoring(if needed or valid to your case) your code to dict of dicts rather than list of dicts

import time

# Build list of dicts
list_of_dicts = list()
for i in range(100000):
    list_of_dicts.append({'id': i, 'name': 'Tom'})

# Build dict of dicts
dict_of_dicts = dict()
for i in range(100000):
    dict_of_dicts[i] = {'name': 'Tom'}


# Find the one with ID of 99

# 1. iterate through the list
lod_ts = time.time()
for elem in list_of_dicts:
    if elem['id'] == 99999:
        break
lod_tf = time.time()
lod_td = lod_tf - lod_ts

# 2. Use filter
f_ts = time.time()
x = filter(lambda k: k['id'] == 99999, list_of_dicts)
f_tf = time.time()
f_td = f_tf- f_ts

# 3. find it in dict of dicts
dod_ts = time.time()
x = dict_of_dicts[99999]
dod_tf = time.time()
dod_td = dod_tf - dod_ts


print 'List of Dictionries took: %s' % lod_td
print 'Using filter took: %s' % f_td
print 'Dict of Dicts took: %s' % dod_td

And the output is this:

List of Dictionries took: 0.0099310874939
Using filter took: 0.0121960639954
Dict of Dicts took: 4.05311584473e-06

Conclusion: Clearly having a dictionary of dicts is the most efficient way to be able to search in those cases, where you know say you will be searching by id’s only. interestingly using filter is the slowest solution.

The Answer 19

1 people think this answer is useful
def dsearch(lod, **kw):
    return filter(lambda i: all((i[k] == v for (k, v) in kw.items())), lod)

lod=[{'a':33, 'b':'test2', 'c':'a.ing333'},
     {'a':22, 'b':'ihaha', 'c':'fbgval'},
     {'a':33, 'b':'TEst1', 'c':'s.ing123'},
     {'a':22, 'b':'ihaha', 'c':'dfdvbfjkv'}]



list(dsearch(lod, a=22))

[{'a': 22, 'b': 'ihaha', 'c': 'fbgval'},
 {'a': 22, 'b': 'ihaha', 'c': 'dfdvbfjkv'}]



list(dsearch(lod, a=22, b='ihaha'))

[{'a': 22, 'b': 'ihaha', 'c': 'fbgval'},
 {'a': 22, 'b': 'ihaha', 'c': 'dfdvbfjkv'}]


list(dsearch(lod, a=22, c='fbgval'))

[{'a': 22, 'b': 'ihaha', 'c': 'fbgval'}]

The Answer 20

0 people think this answer is useful

You have to go through all elements of the list. There is not a shortcut!

Unless somewhere else you keep a dictionary of the names pointing to the items of the list, but then you have to take care of the consequences of popping an element from your list.

The Answer 21

0 people think this answer is useful

I found this thread when I was searching for an answer to the same question. While I realize that it’s a late answer, I thought I’d contribute it in case it’s useful to anyone else:

def find_dict_in_list(dicts, default=None, **kwargs):
    """Find first matching :obj:`dict` in :obj:`list`.

    :param list dicts: List of dictionaries.
    :param dict default: Optional. Default dictionary to return.
        Defaults to `None`.
    :param **kwargs: `key=value` pairs to match in :obj:`dict`.

    :returns: First matching :obj:`dict` from `dicts`.
    :rtype: dict

    """

    rval = default
    for d in dicts:
        is_found = False

        # Search for keys in dict.
        for k, v in kwargs.items():
            if d.get(k, None) == v:
                is_found = True

            else:
                is_found = False
                break

        if is_found:
            rval = d
            break

    return rval


if __name__ == '__main__':
    # Tests
    dicts = []
    keys = 'spam eggs shrubbery knight'.split()

    start = 0
    for _ in range(4):
        dct = {k: v for k, v in zip(keys, range(start, start+4))}
        dicts.append(dct)
        start += 4

    # Find each dict based on 'spam' key only.  
    for x in range(len(dicts)):
        spam = x*4
        assert find_dict_in_list(dicts, spam=spam) == dicts[x]

    # Find each dict based on 'spam' and 'shrubbery' keys.
    for x in range(len(dicts)):
        spam = x*4
        assert find_dict_in_list(dicts, spam=spam, shrubbery=spam+2) == dicts[x]

    # Search for one correct key, one incorrect key:
    for x in range(len(dicts)):
        spam = x*4
        assert find_dict_in_list(dicts, spam=spam, shrubbery=spam+1) is None

    # Search for non-existent dict.
    for x in range(len(dicts)):
        spam = x+100
        assert find_dict_in_list(dicts, spam=spam) is None

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