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Reading and Writing CSV Files in Python

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CSV (Comma Separated Values) format is the most common import and export format for spreadsheets and databases. It is one of the most common methods for exchanging data between applications and popular data format used in Data Science. It is supported by a wide range of applications. A CSV file stores tabular data in which each data field is separated by a delimiter(comma in most cases). To represent a CSV file, it must be saved with the .csv file extension.

Reading from CSV file

Python contains a module called csv for the handling of CSV files. The reader class from the module is used for reading data from a CSV file. At first, the CSV file is opened using the open() method in ‘r’ mode(specifies read mode while opening a file) which returns the file object then it is read by using the reader() method of CSV module that returns the reader object that iterates throughout the lines in the specified CSV document.


csv.reader(csvfile, dialect='excel', **fmtparams

Note: The ‘with‘ keyword is used along with the open() method as it simplifies exception handling and automatically closes the CSV file.


Consider the below CSV file –

import csv 
# opening the CSV file 
with open('Giants.csv', mode ='r')as file
  # reading the CSV file 
  csvFile = csv.reader(file
  # displaying the contents of the CSV file 
  for lines in csvFile: 


[['Steve', 13, 'A'],
['John', 14, 'F'],
['Nancy', 14, 'C'],
['Ravi', 13, 'B']]

Writing to CSV file

csv.writer class is used to insert data to the CSV file. This class returns a writer object which is responsible for converting the user’s data into a delimited string. A CSV file object should be opened with newline=” otherwise, newline characters inside the quoted fields will not be interpreted correctly.


csv.writer(csvfile, dialect='excel', **fmtparams)

csv.writer class provides two methods for writing to CSV. They are writerow() and writerows().

  • writerow(): This method writes a single row at a time. Field row can be written using this method.

  • writerows(): This method is used to write multiple rows at a time. This can be used to write rows list.



# Python program to demonstrate
# writing to CSV
import csv 
# field names 
fields = ['Name', 'Branch', 'Year', 'CGPA'
# data rows of csv file 
rows = [ ['Nikhil', 'COE', '2', '9.0'], 
         ['Sanchit', 'COE', '2', '9.1'], 
         ['Aditya', 'IT', '2', '9.3'], 
         ['Sagar', 'SE', '1', '9.5'], 
         ['Prateek', 'MCE', '3', '7.8'], 
         ['Sahil', 'EP', '2', '9.1']] 
# name of csv file 
filename = "university_records.csv"
# writing to csv file 
with open(filename, 'w') as csvfile: 
    # creating a csv writer object 
    csvwriter = csv.writer(csvfile) 
    # writing the fields 
    # writing the data rows 



We can also write dictionary to the CSV file. For this the CSV module provides the csv.DictWriter class. This class returns a writer object which maps dictionaries onto output rows.


csv.DictWriter(csvfile, fieldnames, restval=”, extrasaction=’raise’, dialect=’excel’, *args, **kwds)

csv.DictWriter provides two methods for writing to CSV. They are:

  • writeheader(): writeheader() method simply writes the first row of your csv file using the pre-specified fieldnames.


  • writerows(): writerows method simply writes all the rows but in each row, it writes only the values(not keys).




# importing the csv module 
import csv 
# my data rows as dictionary objects 
mydict =[{'branch': 'COE', 'cgpa': '9.0', 'name': 'Nikhil', 'year': '2'}, 
         {'branch': 'COE', 'cgpa': '9.1', 'name': 'Sanchit', 'year': '2'}, 
         {'branch': 'IT', 'cgpa': '9.3', 'name': 'Aditya', 'year': '2'}, 
         {'branch': 'SE', 'cgpa': '9.5', 'name': 'Sagar', 'year': '1'}, 
         {'branch': 'MCE', 'cgpa': '7.8', 'name': 'Prateek', 'year': '3'}, 
         {'branch': 'EP', 'cgpa': '9.1', 'name': 'Sahil', 'year': '2'}] 
# field names 
fields = ['name', 'branch', 'year', 'cgpa'
# name of csv file 
filename = "university_records.csv"
# writing to csv file 
with open(filename, 'w') as csvfile: 
    # creating a csv dict writer object 
    writer = csv.DictWriter(csvfile, fieldnames = fields) 
    # writing headers (field names) 
    # writing data rows 



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Last Updated : 22 Jun, 2020
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