How to flush output of Python print?

0 votes
asked Oct 23, 2008 by walter-nissen

How do I force Python's print function to output to the screen?

This is not a duplicate of Disable output buffering - the linked question is attempting unbuffered output, while this is more general. The top answers in that question are too powerful or involved for this one (they're not good answers for this), and this question can be found on Google by a relative newbie.

12 Answers

0 votes
answered Oct 13, 2008 by kamil-kisiel

Dan's idea doesn't quite work:

#!/usr/bin/env python
class flushfile(file):
    def __init__(self, f):
        self.f = f
    def write(self, x):
        self.f.write(x)
        self.f.flush()

import sys
sys.stdout = flushfile(sys.stdout)

print "foo"

The result:

Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "./passpersist.py", line 12, in <module>
    print "foo"
ValueError: I/O operation on closed file

I believe the problem is that it inherits from the file class, which actually isn't necessary. According to the docs for sys.stdout:

stdout and stderr needn’t be built-in file objects: any object is acceptable as long as it has a write() method that takes a string argument.

so changing

class flushfile(file):

to

class flushfile(object):

makes it work just fine.

0 votes
answered Oct 23, 2008 by cesarb
0 votes
answered Oct 23, 2008 by gimel

Running python -h, I see a command line option:

-u : unbuffered binary stdout and stderr; also PYTHONUNBUFFERED=x see man page for details on internal buffering relating to '-u'

Here is the relevant doc.

0 votes
answered Oct 23, 2008 by dan-lenski

Using the -u command-line switch works, but it is a little bit clumsy. It would mean that the program would potentially behave incorrectly if the user invoked the script without the -u option. I usually use a custom stdout, like this:

class flushfile(object):
  def __init__(self, f):
    self.f = f

  def write(self, x):
    self.f.write(x)
    self.f.flush()

import sys
sys.stdout = flushfile(sys.stdout)

... Now all your print calls (which use sys.stdout implicitly), will be automatically flushed.

0 votes
answered Jan 19, 2011 by guettli

Here is my version, which provides writelines() and fileno(), too:

class FlushFile(object):
    def __init__(self, fd):
        self.fd = fd

    def write(self, x):
        ret = self.fd.write(x)
        self.fd.flush()
        return ret

    def writelines(self, lines):
        ret = self.writelines(lines)
        self.fd.flush()
        return ret

    def flush(self):
        return self.fd.flush

    def close(self):
        return self.fd.close()

    def fileno(self):
        return self.fd.fileno()
0 votes
answered Oct 12, 2011 by dynamic
import sys
print 'This will be output immediately.'
sys.stdout.flush()
0 votes
answered Oct 27, 2012 by antony-hatchkins

Also as suggested in this blog one can reopen sys.stdout in unbuffered mode:

sys.stdout = os.fdopen(sys.stdout.fileno(), 'w', 0)

Each stdout.write and print operation will be automatically flushed afterwards.

0 votes
answered Oct 17, 2014 by eugene-sajine

Since Python 3.3, you can force the normal print() function to flush without the need to use sys.stdout.flush(); just set the "flush" keyword argument to true. From the documentation:

print(*objects, sep=' ', end='\n', file=sys.stdout, flush=False)

Print objects to the stream file, separated by sep and followed by end. sep, end and file, if present, must be given as keyword arguments.

All non-keyword arguments are converted to strings like str() does and written to the stream, separated by sep and followed by end. Both sep and end must be strings; they can also be None, which means to use the default values. If no objects are given, print() will just write end.

The file argument must be an object with a write(string) method; if it is not present or None, sys.stdout will be used. Whether output is buffered is usually determined by file, but if the flush keyword argument is true, the stream is forcibly flushed.

0 votes
answered Jan 6, 2015 by kmario23

I did it like this in Python 3.4:

'''To write to screen in real-time'''
message = lambda x: print(x, flush=True, end="")
message('I am flushing out now...')
0 votes
answered Jan 21, 2015 by noah-krasser

With Python 3.x they extended the print() function:

print(*objects, sep=' ', end='\n', file=sys.stdout, flush=False)

So, you can just do:

print("Foo", flush=True)


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