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ndarray.view([dtype][, type])

New view of array with the same data.


Passing None for dtype is different from omitting the parameter, since the former invokes dtype(None) which is an alias for dtype('float_').

dtypedata-type or ndarray sub-class, optional

Data-type descriptor of the returned view, e.g., float32 or int16. Omitting it results in the view having the same data-type as a. This argument can also be specified as an ndarray sub-class, which then specifies the type of the returned object (this is equivalent to setting the type parameter).

typePython type, optional

Type of the returned view, e.g., ndarray or matrix. Again, omission of the parameter results in type preservation.


a.view() is used two different ways:

a.view(some_dtype) or a.view(dtype=some_dtype) constructs a view of the array’s memory with a different data-type. This can cause a reinterpretation of the bytes of memory.

a.view(ndarray_subclass) or a.view(type=ndarray_subclass) just returns an instance of ndarray_subclass that looks at the same array (same shape, dtype, etc.) This does not cause a reinterpretation of the memory.

For a.view(some_dtype), if some_dtype has a different number of bytes per entry than the previous dtype (for example, converting a regular array to a structured array), then the behavior of the view cannot be predicted just from the superficial appearance of a (shown by print(a)). It also depends on exactly how a is stored in memory. Therefore if a is C-ordered versus fortran-ordered, versus defined as a slice or transpose, etc., the view may give different results.


>>> x = np.array([(1, 2)], dtype=[('a', np.int8), ('b', np.int8)])

Viewing array data using a different type and dtype:

>>> y = x.view(dtype=np.int16, type=np.matrix)
>>> y
matrix([[513]], dtype=int16)
>>> print(type(y))
<class 'numpy.matrix'>

Creating a view on a structured array so it can be used in calculations

>>> x = np.array([(1, 2),(3,4)], dtype=[('a', np.int8), ('b', np.int8)])
>>> xv = x.view(dtype=np.int8).reshape(-1,2)
>>> xv
array([[1, 2],
       [3, 4]], dtype=int8)
>>> xv.mean(0)
array([2.,  3.])

Making changes to the view changes the underlying array

>>> xv[0,1] = 20
>>> x
array([(1, 20), (3,  4)], dtype=[('a', 'i1'), ('b', 'i1')])

Using a view to convert an array to a recarray:

>>> z = x.view(np.recarray)
>>> z.a
array([1, 3], dtype=int8)

Views share data:

>>> x[0] = (9, 10)
>>> z[0]
(9, 10)

Views that change the dtype size (bytes per entry) should normally be avoided on arrays defined by slices, transposes, fortran-ordering, etc.:

>>> x = np.array([[1,2,3],[4,5,6]], dtype=np.int16)
>>> y = x[:, 0:2]
>>> y
array([[1, 2],
       [4, 5]], dtype=int16)
>>> y.view(dtype=[('width', np.int16), ('length', np.int16)])
Traceback (most recent call last):
ValueError: To change to a dtype of a different size, the array must be C-contiguous
>>> z = y.copy()
>>> z.view(dtype=[('width', np.int16), ('length', np.int16)])
array([[(1, 2)],
       [(4, 5)]], dtype=[('width', '<i2'), ('length', '<i2')])