python – How can I use pickle to save a dict?

The Question :

428 people think this question is useful

I have looked through the information that the Python docs give, but I’m still a little confused. Could somebody post sample code that would write a new file then use pickle to dump a dictionary into it?

The Question Comments :
  • Read through this: doughellmann.com/PyMOTW/pickle and come back when you need a specific question
  • -1 See previous comments. Try it. Then, if it didn’t work (it won’t always), a directed question can be formulated (along with a hypothesis or two that can be tested, and “queried for”, possibly before asking the question to other people). E.g was there a syntax error? An exception? Did the values come back garbled?
  • I have been trying to use this to save information from pygame. I have used the information above and my code looks like this:
  • name = raw_input(‘input file name:’) tf = open(name+’.pkl’,’wb’) pickle.dump(total,tf) tf.close()
  • You should ask a new question about how to pickle surface objects

The Answer 1

851 people think this answer is useful

Try this:

import pickle

a = {'hello': 'world'}

with open('filename.pickle', 'wb') as handle:
    pickle.dump(a, handle, protocol=pickle.HIGHEST_PROTOCOL)

with open('filename.pickle', 'rb') as handle:
    b = pickle.load(handle)

print a == b

The Answer 2

105 people think this answer is useful
import pickle

your_data = {'foo': 'bar'}

# Store data (serialize)
with open('filename.pickle', 'wb') as handle:
    pickle.dump(your_data, handle, protocol=pickle.HIGHEST_PROTOCOL)

# Load data (deserialize)
with open('filename.pickle', 'rb') as handle:
    unserialized_data = pickle.load(handle)

print(your_data == unserialized_data)

The advantage of HIGHEST_PROTOCOL is that files get smaller. This makes unpickling sometimes much faster.

Important notice: The maximum file size of pickle is about 2GB.

Alternative way

import mpu
your_data = {'foo': 'bar'}
mpu.io.write('filename.pickle', data)
unserialized_data = mpu.io.read('filename.pickle')

Alternative Formats

For your application, the following might be important:

  • Support by other programming languages
  • Reading / writing performance
  • Compactness (file size)

See also: Comparison of data serialization formats

In case you are rather looking for a way to make configuration files, you might want to read my short article Configuration files in Python

The Answer 3

29 people think this answer is useful
# Save a dictionary into a pickle file.
import pickle

favorite_color = {"lion": "yellow", "kitty": "red"}  # create a dictionary
pickle.dump(favorite_color, open("save.p", "wb"))  # save it into a file named save.p

# -------------------------------------------------------------
# Load the dictionary back from the pickle file.
import pickle

favorite_color = pickle.load(open("save.p", "rb"))
# favorite_color is now {"lion": "yellow", "kitty": "red"}

The Answer 4

14 people think this answer is useful

In general, pickling a dict will fail unless you have only simple objects in it, like strings and integers.

Python 2.7.9 (default, Dec 11 2014, 01:21:43) 
[GCC 4.2.1 Compatible Apple Clang 4.1 ((tags/Apple/clang-421.11.66))] on darwin
Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information.
>>> from numpy import *
>>> type(globals())     
<type 'dict'>
>>> import pickle
>>> pik = pickle.dumps(globals())
Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "<stdin>", line 1, in <module>
  File "/opt/local/Library/Frameworks/Python.framework/Versions/2.7/lib/python2.7/pickle.py", line 1374, in dumps
    Pickler(file, protocol).dump(obj)
  File "/opt/local/Library/Frameworks/Python.framework/Versions/2.7/lib/python2.7/pickle.py", line 224, in dump
    self.save(obj)
  File "/opt/local/Library/Frameworks/Python.framework/Versions/2.7/lib/python2.7/pickle.py", line 286, in save
    f(self, obj) # Call unbound method with explicit self
  File "/opt/local/Library/Frameworks/Python.framework/Versions/2.7/lib/python2.7/pickle.py", line 649, in save_dict
    self._batch_setitems(obj.iteritems())
  File "/opt/local/Library/Frameworks/Python.framework/Versions/2.7/lib/python2.7/pickle.py", line 663, in _batch_setitems
    save(v)
  File "/opt/local/Library/Frameworks/Python.framework/Versions/2.7/lib/python2.7/pickle.py", line 306, in save
    rv = reduce(self.proto)
  File "/opt/local/Library/Frameworks/Python.framework/Versions/2.7/lib/python2.7/copy_reg.py", line 70, in _reduce_ex
    raise TypeError, "can't pickle %s objects" % base.__name__
TypeError: can't pickle module objects
>>> 

Even a really simple dict will often fail. It just depends on the contents.

>>> d = {'x': lambda x:x}
>>> pik = pickle.dumps(d)
Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "<stdin>", line 1, in <module>
  File "/opt/local/Library/Frameworks/Python.framework/Versions/2.7/lib/python2.7/pickle.py", line 1374, in dumps
    Pickler(file, protocol).dump(obj)
  File "/opt/local/Library/Frameworks/Python.framework/Versions/2.7/lib/python2.7/pickle.py", line 224, in dump
    self.save(obj)
  File "/opt/local/Library/Frameworks/Python.framework/Versions/2.7/lib/python2.7/pickle.py", line 286, in save
    f(self, obj) # Call unbound method with explicit self
  File "/opt/local/Library/Frameworks/Python.framework/Versions/2.7/lib/python2.7/pickle.py", line 649, in save_dict
    self._batch_setitems(obj.iteritems())
  File "/opt/local/Library/Frameworks/Python.framework/Versions/2.7/lib/python2.7/pickle.py", line 663, in _batch_setitems
    save(v)
  File "/opt/local/Library/Frameworks/Python.framework/Versions/2.7/lib/python2.7/pickle.py", line 286, in save
    f(self, obj) # Call unbound method with explicit self
  File "/opt/local/Library/Frameworks/Python.framework/Versions/2.7/lib/python2.7/pickle.py", line 748, in save_global
    (obj, module, name))
pickle.PicklingError: Can't pickle <function <lambda> at 0x102178668>: it's not found as __main__.<lambda>

However, if you use a better serializer like dill or cloudpickle, then most dictionaries can be pickled:

>>> import dill
>>> pik = dill.dumps(d)

Or if you want to save your dict to a file…

>>> with open('save.pik', 'w') as f:
...   dill.dump(globals(), f)
... 

The latter example is identical to any of the other good answers posted here (which aside from neglecting the picklability of the contents of the dict are good).

The Answer 5

10 people think this answer is useful
>>> import pickle
>>> with open("/tmp/picklefile", "wb") as f:
...     pickle.dump({}, f)
... 

normally it’s preferable to use the cPickle implementation

>>> import cPickle as pickle
>>> help(pickle.dump)
Help on built-in function dump in module cPickle:

dump(...)
    dump(obj, file, protocol=0) -- Write an object in pickle format to the given file.

    See the Pickler docstring for the meaning of optional argument proto.

The Answer 6

10 people think this answer is useful

Simple way to dump a Python data (e.g. dictionary) to a pickle file.

import pickle

your_dictionary = {}

pickle.dump(your_dictionary, open('pickle_file_name.p', 'wb'))

The Answer 7

7 people think this answer is useful

If you just want to store the dict in a single file, use pickle like that

import pickle

a = {'hello': 'world'}

with open('filename.pickle', 'wb') as handle:
    pickle.dump(a, handle)

with open('filename.pickle', 'rb') as handle:
    b = pickle.load(handle)

If you want to save and restore multiple dictionaries in multiple files for caching and store more complex data, use anycache. It does all the other stuff you need around pickle

from anycache import anycache

@anycache(cachedir='path/to/files')
def myfunc(hello):
    return {'hello', hello}

Anycache stores the different myfunc results depending on the arguments to different files in cachedir and reloads them.

See the documentation for any further details.

The Answer 8

2 people think this answer is useful
import pickle

dictobj = {'Jack' : 123, 'John' : 456}

filename = "/foldername/filestore"

fileobj = open(filename, 'wb')

pickle.dump(dictobj, fileobj)

fileobj.close()

The Answer 9

-9 people think this answer is useful

I’ve found pickling confusing (possibly because I’m thick). I found that this works, though:

myDictionaryString=str(myDictionary)

Which you can then write to a text file. I gave up trying to use pickle as I was getting errors telling me to write integers to a .dat file. I apologise for not using pickle.

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