Add new keys to a dictionary?

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Is it possible to add a key to a Python dictionary after it has been created? It doesn't seem to have an .add() method.



answered 9 years ago Jason Creighton #1

dictionary[key] = value

answered 9 years ago Paolo Bergantino #2

>>> d = {'key':'value'}
>>> print(d)
{'key': 'value'}
>>> d['mynewkey'] = 'mynewvalue'
>>> print(d)
{'mynewkey': 'mynewvalue', 'key': 'value'}

answered 9 years ago John Slavick #3

Yeah, it's pretty easy. Just do the following:

dict["key"] = "value"

answered 9 years ago user142911 #4

>>> x = {1:2}
>>> print x
{1: 2}

>>> x.update({3:4})
>>> print x
{1: 2, 3: 4}

answered 7 years ago Yugal Jindle #5

I feel like consolidating info about Python dictionaries:

Creating an empty dictionary

data = {}
# OR
data = dict()

Creating a dictionary with initial values

data = {'a':1,'b':2,'c':3}
# OR
data = dict(a=1, b=2, c=3)
# OR
data = {k: v for k, v in (('a', 1),('b',2),('c',3))}

Inserting/Updating a single value

data['a']=1  # Updates if 'a' exists, else adds 'a'
# OR
# OR
# OR

Inserting/Updating multiple values

data.update({'c':3,'d':4})  # Updates 'c' and adds 'd'

Creating a merged dictionary without modifying originals

data3 = {}
data3.update(data)  # Modifies data3, not data
data3.update(data2)  # Modifies data3, not data2

Deleting items in dictionary

del data[key]  # Removes specific element in a dictionary
data.pop(key)  # Removes the key & returns the value
data.clear()  # Clears entire dictionary

Check if a key is already in dictionary

key in data

Iterate through pairs in a dictionary

for key in data: # Iterates just through the keys, ignoring the values
for key, value in d.items(): # Iterates through the pairs
for key in d.keys(): # Iterates just through key, ignoring the values
for value in d.values(): # Iterates just through value, ignoring the keys

Create a dictionary from 2 lists

data = dict(zip(list_with_keys, list_with_values))

Feel free to add more!

answered 7 years ago daydreamer #6

data = {}
data['a'] = 'A'
data['b'] = 'B'

for key, value in data.iteritems():
    print "%s-%s" % (key, value)

results in


answered 6 years ago htmlfarmer #7

If you want to add a dictionary within a dictionary you can do it this way.

Example: Add a new entry to your dictionary & sub dictionary

dictionary = {}
dictionary["new key"] = "some new entry" # add new dictionary entry
dictionary["dictionary_within_a_dictionary"] = {} # this is required by python
dictionary["dictionary_within_a_dictionary"]["sub_dict"] = {"other" : "dictionary"}
print (dictionary)


{'new key': 'some new entry', 'dictionary_within_a_dictionary': {'sub_dict': {'other': 'dictionarly'}}}

NOTE: Python requires that you first add a sub

dictionary["dictionary_within_a_dictionary"] = {}

before adding entries.

answered 6 years ago Colonel Panic #8

The orthodox syntax is d[key] = value, but if your keyboard is missing the square bracket keys you could do:

d.__setitem__(key, value)

In fact, defining __getitem__ and __setitem__ methods is how you can make your own class support the square bracket syntax. See

answered 5 years ago octoback #9

you can create one

class myDict(dict):

    def __init__(self):
        self = dict()

    def add(self, key, value):
        self[key] = value

## example

myd = myDict()


{'apples': 6, 'bananas': 3}

answered 5 years ago nobar #10

This popular question addresses functional methods of merging dictionaries a and b.

Here are some of the more straightforward methods (tested in Python 3)...

c = dict( a, **b ) ## see also
c = dict( list(a.items()) + list(b.items()) )
c = dict( i for d in [a,b] for i in d.items() )

Note: The first method above only works if the keys in b are strings.

To add or modify a single element, the b dictionary would contain only that one element...

c = dict( a, **{'d':'dog'} ) ## returns a dictionary based on 'a'

This is equivalent to...

def functional_dict_add( dictionary, key, value ):
   temp = dictionary.copy()
   temp[key] = value
   return temp

c = functional_dict_add( a, 'd', 'dog' )

answered 4 years ago Aaron Hall #11

"Is it possible to add a key to a Python dictionary after it has been created? It doesn't seem to have an .add() method."

Yes it is possible, and it does have a method that implements this, but you don't want to use it directly.

To demonstrate how and how not to use it, let's create an empty dict with the dict literal, {}:

my_dict = {}

Best Practice 1: Subscript notation

To update this dict with a single new key and value, you can use the subscript notation (see Mappings here) that provides for item assignment:

my_dict['new key'] = 'new value'

my_dict is now:

{'new key': 'new value'}

Best Practice 2: The update method - 2 ways

We can also update the dict with multiple values efficiently as well using the update method. We may be unnecessarily creating an extra dict here, so we hope our dict has already been created and came from or was used for another purpose:

my_dict.update({'key 2': 'value 2', 'key 3': 'value 3'})

my_dict is now:

{'key 2': 'value 2', 'key 3': 'value 3', 'new key': 'new value'}

Another efficient way of doing this with the update method is with keyword arguments, but since they have to be legitimate python words, you can't have spaces or special symbols or start the name with a number, but many consider this a more readable way to create keys for a dict, and here we certainly avoid creating an extra unnecessary dict:

my_dict.update(foo='bar', foo2='baz')

and my_dict is now:

{'key 2': 'value 2', 'key 3': 'value 3', 'new key': 'new value', 
 'foo': 'bar', 'foo2': 'baz'}

So now we have covered three Pythonic ways of updating a dict.

Magic method, __setitem__, and why it should be avoided

There's another way of updating a dict that you shouldn't use, which uses the __setitem__ method. Here's an example of how one might use the __setitem__ method to add a key-value pair to a dict, and a demonstration of the poor performance of using it:

>>> d = {}
>>> d.__setitem__('foo', 'bar')
>>> d
{'foo': 'bar'}

>>> def f():
...     d = {}
...     for i in xrange(100):
...         d['foo'] = i
>>> def g():
...     d = {}
...     for i in xrange(100):
...         d.__setitem__('foo', i)
>>> import timeit
>>> number = 100
>>> min(timeit.repeat(f, number=number))
>>> min(timeit.repeat(g, number=number))

So we see that using the subscript notation is actually much faster than using __setitem__. Doing the Pythonic thing, that is, using the language in the way it was intended to be used, usually is both more readable and computationally efficient.

answered 3 years ago waldens #12

This is exactly how I would do it: # fixed data with sapce

data = {}
data['f'] = 'F'
data['c'] = 'C'

for key, value in data.iteritems():
    print "%s-%s" % (key, value)

This works for me. Enjoy!

answered 2 years ago Rajiv Sharma #13

we can add new keys to dictionary by this way:

Dictionary_Name[New_Key_Name] = New_Key_Value

Here is the Example:

# This is my dictionary
my_dict = {'Key1': 'Value1', 'Key2': 'Value2'}
# Now add new key in my dictionary
my_dict['key3'] = 'Value3'
# Print updated dictionary
print my_dict


{'key3': 'Value3', 'Key2': 'Value2', 'Key1': 'Value1'}

answered 2 years ago Aman Jain #14

It has a update method which you can use like this:

dict.update({"key" : "value"})

answered 1 year ago Vishvajit Pathak #15

Basically two simple ways with which you can add new key in the dict

dict_input = {'one': 1, 'two': 2, 'three': 3}

#1. Set a new value
dict_input['four'] = 4

#2. or use the update() function
dict_input.update({'five': 5})

answered 12 months ago Michael Ekoka #16

So many answers and still everybody forgot about the strangely named, oddly behaved, and yet still handy dict.setdefault()


value = my_dict.setdefault(key, default)

basically just does this:

    value = my_dict[key]
except KeyError: # key not found
    value = my_dict[key] = default


>>> mydict = {'a':1, 'b':2, 'c':3}
>>> mydict.setdefault('d', 4)
4 # returns new value at mydict['d']
>>> print(mydict)
{'a':1, 'b':2, 'c':3, 'd':4} # a new key/value pair was indeed added
# but see what happens when trying it on an existing key...
>>> mydict.setdefault('a', 111)
1 # old value was returned
>>> print(mydict)
{'a':1, 'b':2, 'c':3, 'd':4} # existing key was ignored

answered 12 months ago nehemiah #17

Use the subscript assignment operator:

d['x'] = "value"

Don't forget that Python's key can by anything hashable which means bool, int, string even a tuple or any objects hashable.

answered 9 months ago campeterson #18

Let's pretend you want to live in the immutable world and do NOT want to modify the original but want to create a new dict that is the result of adding a new key to the original.

In Python 3.5+ you can do:

params = {'a': 1, 'b': 2}
new_params = {**params, **{'c': 3}}

The Python 2 equivalent is:

params = {'a': 1, 'b': 2}
new_params = dict(params, **{'c': 3})

After either of these:

params is still equal to {'a': 1, 'b': 2}


new_params is equal to {'a': 1, 'b': 2, 'c': 3}

There will be times when you don't want to modify the original (you only want the result of adding to the original). I find this a refreshing alternative to the following:

params = {'a': 1, 'b': 2}
new_params = params.copy()
new_params['c'] = 3


params = {'a': 1, 'b': 2}
new_params = params.copy()
new_params.update({'c': 3})


answered 7 months ago issam #19

I would do it like this. Watch out for the directory[name]=number part.

n = int(raw_input())
# store the values as if they appear in the stdin
for i in xrange(n):
    name, number = raw_input().split()

#  query the values    
while (True):
    queryname = (str) (raw_input())
        strdisp = queryname + "=" + directory[queryname]
        print strdisp
      print 'Not found'

answered 6 days ago Burak Ă–zdemir #20

If you're not joining two dictionaries, but adding new key-value pairs to a dictionary, then using the subscript notation seems like the best way.

import timeit

timeit.timeit('dictionary = {"karga": 1, "darga": 2}; dictionary.update({"aaa": 123123, "asd": 233})')
>> 0.49582505226135254

timeit.timeit('dictionary = {"karga": 1, "darga": 2}; dictionary["aaa"] = 123123; dictionary["asd"] = 233;')
>> 0.20782899856567383

However, if you'd like to add, for example, thousands of new key-value pairs, you should consider using the update() method.

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