How do you retrieve items from a dictionary in the order that they're inserted?

Is it possible to retrieve items from a Python dictionary in the order that they were inserted?

Asked by: Victoria680 | Posted: 05-10-2021

Answer 1

The standard Python dict does this by default if you're using CPython 3.6+ (or Python 3.7+ for any other implementation of Python).

On older versions of Python you can use collections.OrderedDict.

Answered by: Alina511 | Posted: 06-11-2021

Answer 2

As of Python 3.7, the standard dict preserves insertion order. From the docs:

Changed in version 3.7: Dictionary order is guaranteed to be insertion order. This behavior was implementation detail of CPython from 3.6.

So, you should be able to iterate over the dictionary normally or use popitem().

Answered by: Lenny606 | Posted: 06-11-2021

Answer 3

Use OrderedDict(), available since version 2.7

Just a matter of curiosity:

from collections import OrderedDict
a = {}
b = OrderedDict()
c = OrderedDict()

a['key1'] = 'value1'
a['key2'] = 'value2'

b['key1'] = 'value1'
b['key2'] = 'value2'

c['key2'] = 'value2'
c['key1'] = 'value1'

print a == b  # True
print a == c  # True
print b == c  # False

Answered by: Ada762 | Posted: 06-11-2021

Answer 4

The other answers are correct; it's not possible, but you could write this yourself. However, in case you're unsure how to actually implement something like this, here's a complete and working implementation that subclasses dict which I've just written and tested. (Note that the order of values passed to the constructor is undefined but will come before values passed later, and you could always just not allow ordered dicts to be initialized with values.)

class ordered_dict(dict):
    def __init__(self, *args, **kwargs):
        dict.__init__(self, *args, **kwargs)
        self._order = self.keys()

    def __setitem__(self, key, value):
        dict.__setitem__(self, key, value)
        if key in self._order:

    def __delitem__(self, key):
        dict.__delitem__(self, key)

    def order(self):
        return self._order[:]

    def ordered_items(self):
        return [(key,self[key]) for key in self._order]

od = ordered_dict()
od["hello"] = "world"
od["goodbye"] = "cruel world"
print od.order()            # prints ['hello', 'goodbye']

del od["hello"]
od["monty"] = "python"
print od.order()            # prints ['goodbye', 'monty']

od["hello"] = "kitty"
print od.order()            # prints ['goodbye', 'monty', 'hello']

print od.ordered_items()
# prints [('goodbye','cruel world'), ('monty','python'), ('hello','kitty')]

Answered by: Daryl584 | Posted: 06-11-2021

Answer 5

You can't do this with the base dict class -- it's ordered by hash. You could build your own dictionary that is really a list of key,value pairs or somesuch, which would be ordered.

Answered by: Michelle613 | Posted: 06-11-2021

Answer 6

Or, just make the key a tuple with as the first field in the tuple.

Then you can retrieve the keys with dictname.keys(), sort, and voila!


Answered by: Max446 | Posted: 06-11-2021

Answer 7

I've used StableDict before with good success.

Answered by: Carina346 | Posted: 06-11-2021

Answer 8

Or use any of the implementations for the PEP-372 described here, like the odict module from the pythonutils.

I successfully used the implementation, it is as easy as replacing your




and require just this file

Answered by: Steven254 | Posted: 06-11-2021

Answer 9

It's not possible unless you store the keys in a separate list for referencing later.

Answered by: Miller480 | Posted: 06-11-2021

Answer 10

if you don't need the dict functionality, and only need to return tuples in the order you've inserted them, wouldn't a queue work better?

Answered by: Ryan376 | Posted: 06-11-2021

Answer 11

What you can do is insert the values with a key representing the order inputted, and then call sorted() on the items.

>>> obj = {}
>>> obj[1] = 'Bob'
>>> obj[2] = 'Sally'
>>> obj[3] = 'Joe'
>>> for k, v in sorted(obj.items()):
...     print v

Answered by: Ryan484 | Posted: 06-11-2021

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