Fix Python – Format floats with standard json module


Asked By – Manuel Ceron

I am using the standard json module in python 2.6 to serialize a list of floats. However, I’m getting results like this:

>>> import json
>>> json.dumps([23.67, 23.97, 23.87])
'[23.670000000000002, 23.969999999999999, 23.870000000000001]'

I want the floats to be formated with only two decimal digits. The output should look like this:

>>> json.dumps([23.67, 23.97, 23.87])
'[23.67, 23.97, 23.87]'

I have tried defining my own JSON Encoder class:

class MyEncoder(json.JSONEncoder):
    def encode(self, obj):
        if isinstance(obj, float):
            return format(obj, '.2f')
        return json.JSONEncoder.encode(self, obj)

This works for a sole float object:

>>> json.dumps(23.67, cls=MyEncoder)

But fails for nested objects:

>>> json.dumps([23.67, 23.97, 23.87])
'[23.670000000000002, 23.969999999999999, 23.870000000000001]'

I don’t want to have external dependencies, so I prefer to stick with the standard json module.

How can I achieve this?

Now we will see solution for issue: Format floats with standard json module


Note: This does not work in any recent version of Python.

Unfortunately, I believe you have to do this by monkey-patching (which, to my opinion, indicates a design defect in the standard library json package). E.g., this code:

import json
from json import encoder
encoder.FLOAT_REPR = lambda o: format(o, '.2f')
print(json.dumps([23.67, 23.97, 23.87]))


[23.67, 23.97, 23.87]

as you desire. Obviously, there should be an architected way to override FLOAT_REPR so that EVERY representation of a float is under your control if you wish it to be; but unfortunately that’s not how the json package was designed.

This question is answered By – Alex Martelli

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