Writing a list to a file with Python, with newlines


How do I write a list to a file? writelines() doesn’t insert newline characters, so I need to do:

f.writelines([f"{line}n" for line in lines])
Asked By: Josh Arenberg



Simpler is:

with open("outfile", "w") as outfile:

To ensure that all items in the item list are strings, use a generator expression:

with open("outfile", "w") as outfile:
    outfile.write("n".join(str(item) for item in itemlist))

Remember that itemlist takes up memory, so take care about the memory consumption.

Answered By: osantana

Use a loop:

with open('your_file.txt', 'w') as f:
    for line in lines:

For Python <3.6:

with open('your_file.txt', 'w') as f:
    for line in lines:
        f.write("%sn" % line)

For Python 2, one may also use:

with open('your_file.txt', 'w') as f:
    for line in lines:
        print >> f, line

If you’re keen on a single function call, at least remove the square brackets [], so that the strings to be printed get made one at a time (a genexp rather than a listcomp) — no reason to take up all the memory required to materialize the whole list of strings.

Answered By: Alex Martelli

What are you going to do with the file? Does this file exist for humans, or other programs with clear interoperability requirements?

If you are just trying to serialize a list to disk for later use by the same python app, you should be pickleing the list.

import pickle

with open('outfile', 'wb') as fp:
    pickle.dump(itemlist, fp)

To read it back:

with open ('outfile', 'rb') as fp:
    itemlist = pickle.load(fp)

Yet another way. Serialize to json using simplejson (included as json in python 2.6):

>>> import simplejson
>>> f = open('output.txt', 'w')
>>> simplejson.dump([1,2,3,4], f)
>>> f.close()

If you examine output.txt:

[1, 2, 3, 4]

This is useful because the syntax is pythonic, it’s human readable, and it can be read by other programs in other languages.

Answered By: Jason Baker
Answered By: mtasic85

I thought it would be interesting to explore the benefits of using a genexp, so here’s my take.

The example in the question uses square brackets to create a temporary list, and so is equivalent to:

file.writelines( list( "%sn" % item for item in list ) )

Which needlessly constructs a temporary list of all the lines that will be written out, this may consume significant amounts of memory depending on the size of your list and how verbose the output of str(item) is.

Drop the square brackets (equivalent to removing the wrapping list() call above) will instead pass a temporary generator to file.writelines():

file.writelines( "%sn" % item for item in list )

This generator will create newline-terminated representation of your item objects on-demand (i.e. as they are written out). This is nice for a couple of reasons:

  • Memory overheads are small, even for very large lists
  • If str(item) is slow there’s visible progress in the file as each item is processed

This avoids memory issues, such as:

In [1]: import os

In [2]: f = file(os.devnull, "w")

In [3]: %timeit f.writelines( "%sn" % item for item in xrange(2**20) )
1 loops, best of 3: 385 ms per loop

In [4]: %timeit f.writelines( ["%sn" % item for item in xrange(2**20)] )
ERROR: Internal Python error in the inspect module.
Below is the traceback from this internal error.

Traceback (most recent call last):

(I triggered this error by limiting Python’s max. virtual memory to ~100MB with ulimit -v 102400).

Putting memory usage to one side, this method isn’t actually any faster than the original:

In [4]: %timeit f.writelines( "%sn" % item for item in xrange(2**20) )
1 loops, best of 3: 370 ms per loop

In [5]: %timeit f.writelines( ["%sn" % item for item in xrange(2**20)] )
1 loops, best of 3: 360 ms per loop

(Python 2.6.2 on Linux)

Answered By: RobM

Let avg be the list, then:

In [29]: a = n.array((avg))
In [31]: a.tofile('avgpoints.dat',sep='n',dtype = '%f')

You can use %e or %s depending on your requirement.

Answered By: belthazar

Using Python 3 and Python 2.6+ syntax:

with open(filepath, 'w') as file_handler:
    for item in the_list:

This is platform-independent. It also terminates the final line with a newline character, which is a UNIX best practice.

Starting with Python 3.6, "{}n".format(item) can be replaced with an f-string: f"{item}n".

Answered By: orluke

In General

Following is the syntax for writelines() method

fileObject.writelines( sequence )



# Open a file
fo = open("foo.txt", "rw+")
seq = ["This is 6th linen", "This is 7th line"]

# Write sequence of lines at the end of the file.
line = fo.writelines( seq )

# Close opend file



Answered By: Marvin W
poem = '''
Programming is fun
When the work is done
if you wanna make your work also fun:
use Python!
f = open('poem.txt', 'w') # open for 'w'riting
f.write(poem) # write text to file
f.close() # close the file

How It Works:
First, open a file by using the built-in open function and specifying the name of
the file and the mode in which we want to open the file. The mode can be a
read mode (’r’), write mode (’w’) or append mode (’a’). We can also specify
whether we are reading, writing, or appending in text mode (’t’) or binary
mode (’b’). There are actually many more modes available and help(open)
will give you more details about them. By default, open() considers the file to
be a ’t’ext file and opens it in ’r’ead mode.
In our example, we first open the file in write text mode and use the write
method of the file object to write to the file and then we finally close the file.

The above example is from the book “A Byte of Python” by Swaroop C H.

Answered By: vayah

Why don’t you try

Answered By: Bob
with open ("test.txt","w")as fp:
   for line in list12:
Answered By: shankar

You can also use the print function if you’re on python3 as follows.

f = open("myfile.txt","wb")
print(mylist, file=f)
Answered By: Nandita Damaraju

Serialize list into text file with comma sepparated value

mylist = dir()
with open('filename.txt','w') as f:
    f.write( ','.join( mylist ) )
Answered By: themadmax

Because i’m lazy….

import json
a = [1,2,3]
with open('test.txt', 'w') as f:

#Now read the file back into a Python list object
with open('test.txt', 'r') as f:
    a = json.loads(f.read())
Answered By: Big Sam

Another way of iterating and adding newline:

for item in items:
    filewriter.write(f"{item}" + "n")
Answered By: Alex Ulyanov

This logic will first convert the items in list to string(str). Sometimes the list contains a tuple like

alist = [(i12,tiger), 

This logic will write to file each tuple in a new line. We can later use eval while loading each tuple when reading the file:

outfile = open('outfile.txt', 'w') # open a file in write mode
for item in list_to_persistence:    # iterate over the list items
   outfile.write(str(item) + 'n') # write to the file
outfile.close()   # close the file 
Answered By: Tahir Ahmad

In Python3 You Can use this loop

with open('your_file.txt', 'w') as f:
    for item in list:
        f.print("", item)
Answered By: Nikhil B

In Python 3 you can use print and * for argument unpacking:

with open("fout.txt", "w") as fout:
    print(*my_list, sep="n", file=fout)
Answered By: bricoletc

Using numpy.savetxt is also an option:

import numpy as np

np.savetxt('list.txt', list, delimiter="n", fmt="%s")
Answered By: kamilazdybal

Redirecting stdout to a file might also be useful for this purpose:

from contextlib import redirect_stdout
with open('test.txt', 'w') as f:
  with redirect_stdout(f):
     for i in range(mylst.size):
Answered By: Youjun Hu

You can also go through following:


with open('your_file.txt', 'w') as file:
    for item in my_list:
        file.write("%sn" % item)


In your_file.txt items are saved like:








Your script also saves as above.

Otherwise, you can use pickle

import pickle
#to write
with open('your_file.txt', 'wb') as file:
    pickle.dump(my_list, file)
#to read
with open ('your_file.txt', 'rb') as file:
    Outlist = pickle.load(file)

[1, 2, 3, 4, 5, ‘abc’, ‘def’]

It save dump the list same as a list when we load it we able to read.

Also by simplejson possible same as above output

import simplejson as sj
#To write
with open('your_file.txt', 'w') as file:
    sj.dump(my_list, file)

#To save
with open('your_file.txt', 'r') as file:

i suggest this solution .

with open('your_file.txt', 'w') as f:        
    list(map(lambda item : f.write("%sn" % item),my_list))   
Answered By: Bahae El Hmimdi

I recently found Path to be useful. Helps me get around having to with open('file') as f and then writing to the file. Hope this becomes useful to someone :).

from pathlib import Path
import json
a = [[1,2,3],[4,5,6]]
# write
# read
Answered By: Prox

i think you are looking for an answer like this.

f = open('output.txt','w')
list = [3, 15.2123, 118.3432, 98.2276, 118.0043]
f.write('a= {:>3d}, b= {:>8.4f}, c= {:>8.4f}, d= {:>8.4f}, e= 
Answered By: BurgerKing Lee


with open("text.txt", 'w') as file:
Answered By: Ahmad Masalha
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