How to write header row with csv.DictWriter?

Assume I have a csv.DictReader object and I want to write it out as a CSV file. How can I do this?

I know that I can write the rows of data like this:

dr = csv.DictReader(open(f), delimiter='\t')
# process my dr object
# ...
# write out object
output = csv.DictWriter(open(f2, 'w'), delimiter='\t')
for item in dr:

But how can I include the fieldnames?

Edit: In 2.7 / 3.2 there is a new writeheader() method. Also, John Machin's answer provides a simpler method of writing the header row. Simple example of using the writeheader() method now available in 2.7 / 3.2:

from collections import OrderedDict
ordered_fieldnames = OrderedDict([('field1',None),('field2',None)])
with open(outfile,'wb') as fou:
    dw = csv.DictWriter(fou, delimiter='\t', fieldnames=ordered_fieldnames)
    # continue on to write data

Instantiating DictWriter requires a fieldnames argument. From the documentation:

The fieldnames parameter identifies the order in which values in the dictionary passed to the writerow() method are written to the csvfile.

Put another way: The Fieldnames argument is required because Python dicts are inherently unordered. Below is an example of how you'd write the header and data to a file. Note: with statement was added in 2.6. If using 2.5: from __future__ import with_statement

with open(infile,'rb') as fin:
    dr = csv.DictReader(fin, delimiter='\t')

# dr.fieldnames contains values from first row of `f`.
with open(outfile,'wb') as fou:
    dw = csv.DictWriter(fou, delimiter='\t', fieldnames=dr.fieldnames)
    headers = {} 
    for n in dw.fieldnames:
        headers[n] = n
    for row in dr:

As @FM mentions in a comment, you can condense header-writing to a one-liner, e.g.:

with open(outfile,'wb') as fou:
    dw = csv.DictWriter(fou, delimiter='\t', fieldnames=dr.fieldnames)
    dw.writerow(dict((fn,fn) for fn in dr.fieldnames))
    for row in dr:

Pythonically add header to a csv file, The DictWriter() class expects dictionaries for each row. If all you wanted to do was write an initial header, use a regular csv.writer() and pass in  Edit: In 2.7 / 3.2 there is a new writeheader() method.Also, John Machin’s answer provides a simpler method of writing the header row. Simple example of using the writeheader() method now available in 2.7 / 3.2:

A few options:

(1) Laboriously make an identity-mapping (i.e. do-nothing) dict out of your fieldnames so that csv.DictWriter can convert it back to a list and pass it to a csv.writer instance.

(2) The documentation mentions "the underlying writer instance" ... so just use it (example at the end).


(3) Avoid the csv.Dictwriter overhead and do it yourself with csv.writer

Writing data:

w.writerow([d[k] for k in fieldnames])


w.writerow([d.get(k, restval) for k in fieldnames])

Instead of the extrasaction "functionality", I'd prefer to code it myself; that way you can report ALL "extras" with the keys and values, not just the first extra key. What is a real nuisance with DictWriter is that if you've verified the keys yourself as each dict was being built, you need to remember to use extrasaction='ignore' otherwise it's going to SLOWLY (fieldnames is a list) repeat the check:

wrong_fields = [k for k in rowdict if k not in self.fieldnames]


>>> f = open('csvtest.csv', 'wb')
>>> import csv
>>> fns = 'foo bar zot'.split()
>>> dw = csv.DictWriter(f, fns, restval='Huh?')
# dw.writefieldnames(fns) -- no such animal
>>> dw.writerow(fns) # no such luck, it can't imagine what to do with a list
Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "<stdin>", line 1, in <module>
  File "C:\python26\lib\", line 144, in writerow
    return self.writer.writerow(self._dict_to_list(rowdict))
  File "C:\python26\lib\", line 141, in _dict_to_list
    return [rowdict.get(key, self.restval) for key in self.fieldnames]
AttributeError: 'list' object has no attribute 'get'
>>> dir(dw)
['__doc__', '__init__', '__module__', '_dict_to_list', 'extrasaction', 'fieldnam
es', 'restval', 'writer', 'writerow', 'writerows']
# eureka
>>> dw.writer.writerow(dw.fieldnames)
>>> dw.writerow({'foo':'oof'})
>>> f.close()
>>> open('csvtest.csv', 'rb').read()

csv — CSV File Reading and Writing, The csv module's reader and writer objects read and write sequences. in CSV format) and return True if the first row appears to be a series of column headers. All item's keys are supposed to be identical. """ if entries: header = entries[0].keys() else: return '' memfile = StringIO() writer = csv.DictWriter(memfile, header) writer.writeheader() writer.writerows(entries) output = memfile.getvalue() memfile.close() return output. Example 19.

Another way to do this would be to add before adding lines in your output, the following line :

output.writerow(dict(zip(dr.fieldnames, dr.fieldnames)))

The zip would return a list of doublet containing the same value. This list could be used to initiate a dictionary.

writeheader - csv - Python documentation, writeheader() - Write a row with the field names (as specified in the constructor). file using `DictWriter`, Write a list of dictionaries to a CSV file using `DictWriter` DictWriter (f, fieldnames = header, restval = "NA", extrasaction = 'ignore' # ignore extra values in the dictionary) csv_writer. writeheader # write header csv_writer. writerows (rows) Here, the dictionary contains an extra key named zip which is not present in the header list.

How to Make a Header Row in a CSV File, How do I add a header to a csv file? The CSV module contains the DictWriter method that requires the name of the CSV file to write and a list object containing field names. The writeheader () method writes the first line in CSV file as field names. The subsequent for loop write each row in CSV form to the CSV file.

Python CSV tutorial - read, write CSV in Python, is just a list of items separated by commas. Append a dictionary as a row to an existing csv file using DictWriter in python csv module provides a class DictWriter, which can write dictionaries into csv file as rows. Let’s see how to use it for appending a new row in csv,

Python File Operations – Read and Write CSV in Python, How do I add a header to a csv file in Python? writer = csv.DictWriter(f, fieldnames=fnames) New csv.DictWriter is created. The header names are passed to the fieldnames parameter. writer.writeheader() The writeheader() method writes the headers to the CSV file. writer.writerow({'first_name' : 'John', 'last_name': 'Smith'}) The Python dictionary is written to a row in a CSV file.

  • +1 Yet another way to write the header: dw.writerow( dict((f,f) for f in dr.fieldnames) ).
  • @Adam: for a shorter one-liner, see my answer.
  • @John: +1 to your answer; simply utilising "the underlying writer instance" is certainly preferable to "laborious identity-mapping".
  • @endolith: thanks for the feedback. Moved that portion to top of answer.
  • Since you're using a dictReader as well, then it is easy to add the fields with dw = csv.DictWriter(fou, delimiter='\t', fieldnames=dr.fieldnames). That way, if your fields change you do not need to adjust the dictWriter.
  • Currently in Python 3.6, the extrasaction functionality seems to implemented better. It's now wrong_fields = rowdict.keys() - self.fieldnames so it's effectively a set` operation.
  • I'm voting this answer up for the 'avoid DictWriter' comment - I haven't seen any advantage to using it, and seems quicker to structure your data and use csv.writer