Fix Python – How do you create nested dict in Python?


Asked By – atams

I have 2 CSV files: ‘Data’ and ‘Mapping’:

  • ‘Mapping’ file has 4 columns: Device_Name, GDN, Device_Type, and Device_OS. All four columns are populated.
  • ‘Data’ file has these same columns, with Device_Name column populated and the other three columns blank.
  • I want my Python code to open both files and for each Device_Name in the Data file, map its GDN, Device_Type, and Device_OS value from the Mapping file.

I know how to use dict when only 2 columns are present (1 is needed to be mapped) but I don’t know how to accomplish this when 3 columns need to be mapped.

Following is the code using which I tried to accomplish mapping of Device_Type:

x = dict([])
with open("Pricing Mapping_2013-04-22.csv", "rb") as in_file1:
    file_map = csv.reader(in_file1, delimiter=',')
    for row in file_map:
       typemap = [row[0],row[2]]

with open("Pricing_Updated_Cleaned.csv", "rb") as in_file2, open("Data Scraper_GDN.csv", "wb") as out_file:
    writer = csv.writer(out_file, delimiter=',')
    for row in csv.reader(in_file2, delimiter=','):
              row[27] = x[row[11]]
         except KeyError:
              row[27] = ""

It returns Attribute Error.

After some researching, I think I need to create a nested dict, but I don’t have any idea how to do this.

Now we will see solution for issue: How do you create nested dict in Python?


A nested dict is a dictionary within a dictionary. A very simple thing.

>>> d = {}
>>> d['dict1'] = {}
>>> d['dict1']['innerkey'] = 'value'
>>> d['dict1']['innerkey2'] = 'value2'
>>> d
{'dict1': {'innerkey': 'value', 'innerkey2': 'value2'}}

You can also use a defaultdict from the collections package to facilitate creating nested dictionaries.

>>> import collections
>>> d = collections.defaultdict(dict)
>>> d['dict1']['innerkey'] = 'value'
>>> d  # currently a defaultdict type
defaultdict(<type 'dict'>, {'dict1': {'innerkey': 'value'}})
>>> dict(d)  # but is exactly like a normal dictionary.
{'dict1': {'innerkey': 'value'}}

You can populate that however you want.

I would recommend in your code something like the following:

d = {}  # can use defaultdict(dict) instead

for row in file_map:
    # derive row key from something 
    # when using defaultdict, we can skip the next step creating a dictionary on row_key
    d[row_key] = {} 
    for idx, col in enumerate(row):
        d[row_key][idx] = col

According to your comment:

may be above code is confusing the question. My problem in nutshell: I
have 2 files a.csv b.csv, a.csv has 4 columns i j k l, b.csv also has
these columns. i is kind of key columns for these csvs’. j k l column
is empty in a.csv but populated in b.csv. I want to map values of j k
l columns using ‘i` as key column from b.csv to a.csv file

My suggestion would be something like this (without using defaultdict):

a_file = "path/to/a.csv"
b_file = "path/to/b.csv"

# read from file a.csv
with open(a_file) as f:
    # skip headers
    # get first colum as keys
    keys = (line.split(',')[0] for line in f) 

# create empty dictionary:
d = {}

# read from file b.csv
with open(b_file) as f:
    # gather headers except first key header
    headers =',')[1:]
    # iterate lines
    for line in f:
        # gather the colums
        cols = line.strip().split(',')
        # check to make sure this key should be mapped.
        if cols[0] not in keys:
        # add key to dict
        d[cols[0]] = dict(
            # inner keys are the header names, values are columns
            (headers[idx], v) for idx, v in enumerate(cols[1:]))

Please note though, that for parsing csv files there is a csv module.

This question is answered By – Inbar Rose

This answer is collected from stackoverflow and reviewed by FixPython community admins, is licensed under cc by-sa 2.5 , cc by-sa 3.0 and cc by-sa 4.0