chararray.view(dtype=None, type=None)

New view of array with the same data.

dtype : data-type or ndarray sub-class, optional

Data-type descriptor of the returned view, e.g., float32 or int16. The default, None, 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).

type : Python type, optional

Type of the returned view, e.g., ndarray or matrix. Again, the default None 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.matrixlib.defmatrix.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
>>> print(x)
[(1, 20) (3, 4)]

Using a view to convert an array to a recarray:

>>> z = x.view(np.recarray)
>>> z.a
array([1], 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):
  File "<stdin>", line 1, in <module>
ValueError: new type not compatible with array.
>>> z = y.copy()
>>> z.view(dtype=[('width', np.int16), ('length', np.int16)])
array([[(1, 2)],
       [(4, 5)]], dtype=[('width', '<i2'), ('length', '<i2')])

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