Return the array as an a.ndim-levels deep nested list of Python scalars.

Return a copy of the array data as a (nested) Python list. Data items are converted to the nearest compatible builtin Python type, via the item function.

If a.ndim is 0, then since the depth of the nested list is 0, it will not be a list at all, but a simple Python scalar.

yobject, or list of object, or list of list of object, or …

The possibly nested list of array elements.


The array may be recreated via a = np.array(a.tolist()), although this may sometimes lose precision.


For a 1D array, a.tolist() is almost the same as list(a), except that tolist changes numpy scalars to Python scalars:

>>> a = np.uint32([1, 2])
>>> a_list = list(a)
>>> a_list
[1, 2]
>>> type(a_list[0])
<class 'numpy.uint32'>
>>> a_tolist = a.tolist()
>>> a_tolist
[1, 2]
>>> type(a_tolist[0])
<class 'int'>

Additionally, for a 2D array, tolist applies recursively:

>>> a = np.array([[1, 2], [3, 4]])
>>> list(a)
[array([1, 2]), array([3, 4])]
>>> a.tolist()
[[1, 2], [3, 4]]

The base case for this recursion is a 0D array:

>>> a = np.array(1)
>>> list(a)
Traceback (most recent call last):
TypeError: iteration over a 0-d array
>>> a.tolist()