How can I parse a YAML file in Python


How can I parse a YAML file in Python?

11/23/2015 12:27:06 PM

Accepted Answer

The easiest and pureist method without relying on C headers is PyYaml (documentation):

#!/usr/bin/env python

import yaml

with open("example.yaml", 'r') as stream:
    except yaml.YAMLError as exc:

And that's it. A plain yaml.load() function also exists, but yaml.safe_load() should always be preferred unless you explicitly need the arbitrary object serialization/deserialization provided in order to avoid introducing the possibility for arbitrary code execution.

Note the PyYaml project supports versions up through the YAML 1.1 specification. If YAML 1.2 specification support is needed, see ruamel.yaml as noted in this answer.

4/5/2019 9:29:16 AM

Read & Write YAML files with Python 2+3 (and unicode)

# -*- coding: utf-8 -*-
import yaml
import io

# Define data
data = {'a list': [1, 42, 3.141, 1337, 'help', u'€'],
        'a string': 'bla',
        'another dict': {'foo': 'bar',
                         'key': 'value',
                         'the answer': 42}}

# Write YAML file
with'data.yaml', 'w', encoding='utf8') as outfile:
    yaml.dump(data, outfile, default_flow_style=False, allow_unicode=True)

# Read YAML file
with open("data.yaml", 'r') as stream:
    data_loaded = yaml.safe_load(stream)

print(data == data_loaded)

Created YAML file

a list:
- 1
- 42
- 3.141
- 1337
- help
- €
a string: bla
another dict:
  foo: bar
  key: value
  the answer: 42

Common file endings

.yml and .yaml


For your application, the following might be important:

  • Support by other programming languages
  • Reading / writing performance
  • Compactness (file size)

See also: Comparison of data serialization formats

In case you are rather looking for a way to make configuration files, you might want to read my short article Configuration files in Python

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