Tutorial#

Follow the steps below and learn how to use Pint to track physical quantities and perform unit conversions in Python.

Initializing a Registry#

Before using Pint, initialize a UnitRegistry() object. The UnitRegistry stores the unit definitions, their relationships, and handles conversions between units.

>>> from pint import UnitRegistry
>>> ureg = UnitRegistry()

If no parameters are given to the constructor, the UnitRegistry is populated with the default list of units and prefixes.

Defining a Quantity#

Once you’ve initialized your UnitRegistry, you can define quantities easily:

>>> distance = 24.0 * ureg.meter
>>> distance
<Quantity(24.0, 'meter')>
>>> print(distance)
24.0 meter

As you can see, distance here is a Quantity() object that represents a physical quantity. Quantities can be queried for their magnitude, units, and dimensionality:

>>> distance.magnitude
24.0
>>> distance.units
<Unit('meter')>
>>> print(distance.dimensionality)
[length]

and can correctly handle many mathematical operations, including with other Quantity() objects:

>>> time = 8.0 * ureg.second
>>> print(time)
8.0 second
>>> speed = distance / time
>>> speed
<Quantity(3.0, 'meter / second')>
>>> print(speed)
3.0 meter / second
>>> print(speed.dimensionality)
[length] / [time]

Notice the built-in parser recognizes prefixed and pluralized units even though they are not in the definition list:

>>> distance = 42 * ureg.kilometers
>>> print(distance)
42 kilometer
>>> print(distance.to(ureg.meter))
42000.0 meter

Pint will complain if you try to use a unit which is not in the registry:

>>> speed = 23 * ureg.snail_speed
Traceback (most recent call last):
...
UndefinedUnitError: 'snail_speed' is not defined in the unit registry

You can add your own units to the existing registry, or build your own list. See the page on Defining units for more information on that.

See String parsing and Defining Quantities for more ways of defining a Quantity() object.

Quantity() objects also work well with NumPy arrays, which you can read about in the section on NumPy support.

Converting to different units#

As the underlying UnitRegistry knows the relationships between different units, you can convert a Quantity to the units of your choice using the to() method, which accepts a string or a Unit() object:

>>> speed.to('inch/minute')
<Quantity(7086.61417, 'inch / minute')>
>>> ureg.inch / ureg.minute
<Unit('inch / minute')>
>>> speed.to(ureg.inch / ureg.minute)
<Quantity(7086.61417, 'inch / minute')>

This method returns a new object leaving the original intact as can be seen by:

>>> print(speed)
3.0 meter / second

If you want to convert in-place (i.e. without creating another object), you can use the ito() method:

>>> speed.ito(ureg.inch / ureg.minute)
>>> speed
<Quantity(7086.61417, 'inch / minute')>
>>> print(speed)
7086.6141... inch / minute

Pint will complain if you ask it to perform a conversion it doesn’t know how to do:

>>> speed.to(ureg.joule)
Traceback (most recent call last):
...
DimensionalityError: Cannot convert from 'inch / minute' ([length] / [time]) to 'joule' ([length] ** 2 * [mass] / [time] ** 2)

See the section on contexts for information about expanding Pint’s automatic conversion capabilities for your application.

Simplifying units#

Sometimes, the magnitude of the quantity will be very large or very small. The method to_compact() can adjust the units to make a quantity more human-readable:

>>> wavelength = 1550 * ureg.nm
>>> frequency = (ureg.speed_of_light / wavelength).to('Hz')
>>> print(frequency)
193414489032258.03 hertz
>>> print(frequency.to_compact())
193.414489032... terahertz

There are also methods to_base_units() and ito_base_units() which automatically convert to the reference units with the correct dimensionality:

>>> height = 5.0 * ureg.foot + 9.0 * ureg.inch
>>> print(height)
5.75 foot
>>> print(height.to_base_units())
1.752... meter
>>> print(height)
5.75 foot
>>> height.ito_base_units()
>>> print(height)
1.752... meter

There are also methods to_reduced_units() and ito_reduced_units() which perform a simplified dimensional reduction, combining units with the same dimensionality but otherwise keeping your unit definitions intact.

>>> density = 1.4 * ureg.gram / ureg.cm**3
>>> volume = 10*ureg.cc
>>> mass = density*volume
>>> print(mass)
14.0 cubic_centimeter * gram / centimeter ** 3
>>> print(mass.to_reduced_units())
14.0 gram
>>> print(mass)
14.0 cubic_centimeter * gram / centimeter ** 3
>>> mass.ito_reduced_units()
>>> print(mass)
14.0 gram

If you want pint to automatically perform dimensional reduction when producing new quantities, the UnitRegistry class accepts a parameter auto_reduce_dimensions. Dimensional reduction can be slow, so auto-reducing is disabled by default.

The methods to_preferred() and ito_preferred() provide more control over dimensional reduction by specifying a list of units to combine to get the required dimensionality.

>>> preferred_units = [
...    ureg.ft,  # distance      L
...    ureg.slug,  # mass          M
...    ureg.s,  # duration      T
...    ureg.rankine,  # temperature   Θ
...    ureg.lbf,  # force         L M T^-2
...    ureg.W,  # power         L^2 M T^-3
... ]
>>> power = ((1 * ureg.lbf) * (1 * ureg.m / ureg.s)).to_preferred(preferred_units)
>>> print(power)
4.4482216152605005 watt

The list of preferred units can also be specified in the unit registry to prevent having to pass it to every call to to_preferred().

>>> ureg.default_preferred_units = preferred_units
>>> power = ((1 * ureg.lbf) * (1 * ureg.m / ureg.s)).to_preferred()
>>> print(power)
4.4482216152605005 watt

The UnitRegistry class accepts a parameter autoconvert_to_preferred. If set to True, pint will automatically convert to preferred units when producing new quantities. This is disabled by default.

Note when there are multiple good combinations of units to reduce to, to_preferred is not guaranteed to be repeatable. For example, (1 * ureg.lbf * ureg.m).to_preferred(preferred_units) may return W s or ft lbf.

String parsing#

Pint includes powerful string parsing for identifying magnitudes and units. In many cases, units can be defined as strings:

>>> 2.54 * ureg('centimeter')
<Quantity(2.54, 'centimeter')>

or using the Quantity constructor:

>>> Q_ = ureg.Quantity
>>> Q_(2.54, 'centimeter')
<Quantity(2.54, 'centimeter')>

Numbers are also parsed, so you can use an expression:

>>> ureg('2.54 * centimeter')
<Quantity(2.54, 'centimeter')>
>>> Q_('2.54 * centimeter')
<Quantity(2.54, 'centimeter')>

or leave out the * altogether:

>>> Q_('2.54cm')
<Quantity(2.54, 'centimeter')>

This enables you to build a simple unit converter in 3 lines:

>>> user_input = '2.54 * centimeter to inch'
>>> src, dst = user_input.split(' to ')
>>> Q_(src).to(dst)
<Quantity(1.0, 'inch')>

Strings containing values can be parsed using the ureg.parse_pattern() function. A format-like string with the units defined in it is used as the pattern:

>>> input_string = '10 feet 10 inches'
>>> pattern = '{feet} feet {inch} inches'
>>> ureg.parse_pattern(input_string, pattern)
[<Quantity(10.0, 'foot')>, <Quantity(10.0, 'inch')>]

To search for multiple matches, set the many parameter to True. The following example also demonstrates how the parser is able to find matches in amongst filler characters:

>>> input_string = '10 feet - 20 feet ! 30 feet.'
>>> pattern = '{feet} feet'
>>> ureg.parse_pattern(input_string, pattern, many=True)
[[<Quantity(10.0, 'foot')>], [<Quantity(20.0, 'foot')>], [<Quantity(30.0, 'foot')>]]

The full power of regex can also be employed when writing patterns:

>>> input_string = "10` - 20 feet ! 30 ft."
>>> pattern = r"{feet}(`| feet| ft)"
>>> ureg.parse_pattern(input_string, pattern, many=True)
[[<Quantity(10.0, 'foot')>], [<Quantity(20.0, 'foot')>], [<Quantity(30.0, 'foot')>]]

Note that the curly brackets (``{}``) are converted to a float-matching pattern by the parser.

This function is useful for tasks such as bulk extraction of units from thousands of uniform strings or even very large texts with units dotted around in no particular pattern.

String formatting#

Pint’s physical quantities can be easily printed:

>>> accel = 1.3 * ureg.parse_units('meter/second**2')
>>> # The standard string formatting code
>>> print('The str is {!s}'.format(accel))
The str is 1.3 meter / second ** 2
>>> # The standard representation formatting code
>>> print('The repr is {!r}'.format(accel))
The repr is <Quantity(1.3, 'meter / second ** 2')>
>>> # Accessing useful attributes
>>> print('The magnitude is {0.magnitude} with units {0.units}'.format(accel))
The magnitude is 1.3 with units meter / second ** 2

Pint supports float formatting for numpy arrays as well:

>>> import numpy as np
>>> accel = np.array([-1.1, 1e-6, 1.2505, 1.3]) * ureg.parse_units('meter/second**2')
>>> # float formatting numpy arrays
>>> print('The array is {:.2f}'.format(accel))
The array is [-1.10 0.00 1.25 1.30] meter / second ** 2
>>> # scientific form formatting with unit pretty printing
>>> print('The array is {:+.2E~P}'.format(accel))
The array is [-1.10E+00 +1.00E-06 +1.25E+00 +1.30E+00] m/s²

Pint also supports f-strings from python>=3.6 :

>>> accel = 1.3 * ureg.parse_units('meter/second**2')
>>> print(f'The str is {accel}')
The str is 1.3 meter / second ** 2
>>> print(f'The str is {accel:.3e}')
The str is 1.300e+00 meter / second ** 2
>>> print(f'The str is {accel:~}')
The str is 1.3 m / s ** 2
>>> print(f'The str is {accel:~.3e}')
The str is 1.300e+00 m / s ** 2
>>> print(f'The str is {accel:~H}')      # HTML format (displays well in Jupyter)
The str is 1.3 m/s<sup>2</sup>

But Pint also extends the standard formatting capabilities for unicode, LaTeX, and HTML representations:

>>> accel = 1.3 * ureg['meter/second**2']
>>> # Pretty print
>>> 'The pretty representation is {:P}'.format(accel)
'The pretty representation is 1.3 meter/second²'
>>> # LaTeX print
>>> 'The LaTeX representation is {:L}'.format(accel)
'The LaTeX representation is 1.3\\ \\frac{\\mathrm{meter}}{\\mathrm{second}^{2}}'
>>> # HTML print - good for Jupyter notebooks
>>> 'The HTML representation is {:H}'.format(accel)
'The HTML representation is 1.3 meter/second<sup>2</sup>'

If you want to use abbreviated unit names, prefix the specification with ~:

>>> 'The str is {:~}'.format(accel)
'The str is 1.3 m / s ** 2'
>>> 'The pretty representation is {:~P}'.format(accel)
'The pretty representation is 1.3 m/s²'

The same is true for LaTeX (L) and HTML (H) specs.

Note

The abbreviated unit is drawn from the unit registry where the 3rd item in the equivalence chain (ie 1 = 2 = 3) will be returned when the prefix ‘~’ is used. The 1st item in the chain is the canonical name of the unit.

The formatting specs (ie ‘L’, ‘H’, ‘P’) can be used with Python string formatting syntax for custom float representations. For example, scientific notation:

>>> 'Scientific notation: {:.3e~L}'.format(accel)
'Scientific notation: 1.300\\times 10^{0}\\ \\frac{\\mathrm{m}}{\\mathrm{s}^{2}}'

Pint also supports the LaTeX siunitx package:

>>> accel = 1.3 * ureg.parse_units('meter/second**2')
>>> # siunitx Latex print
>>> print('The siunitx representation is {:Lx}'.format(accel))
The siunitx representation is \SI[]{1.3}{\meter\per\second\squared}
>>> accel = accel.plus_minus(0.2)
>>> print('The siunitx representation is {:Lx}'.format(accel))
The siunitx representation is \SI{1.30 +- 0.20}{\meter\per\second\squared}

Additionally, you can specify a default format specification:

>>> accel = 1.3 * ureg.parse_units('meter/second**2')
>>> 'The acceleration is {}'.format(accel)
'The acceleration is 1.3 meter / second ** 2'
>>> ureg.default_format = 'P'
>>> 'The acceleration is {}'.format(accel)
'The acceleration is 1.3 meter/second²'

Localizing#

If Babel is installed you can translate unit names to any language

>>> ureg.formatter.format_quantity(accel, locale='fr_FR')
'1,3 mètres par seconde²'

You can also specify the format locale at the registry level either at creation:

>>> ureg = UnitRegistry(fmt_locale='fr_FR')

or later:

>>> ureg.formatter.set_locale('fr_FR')

and by doing that, string formatting is now localized:

>>> ureg.default_format = 'P'
>>> accel = 1.3 * ureg.parse_units('meter/second**2')
>>> str(accel)
'1,3 mètres par seconde²'
>>> "%s" % accel
'1,3 mètres par seconde²'
>>> "{}".format(accel)
'1,3 mètres par seconde²'

If you want to customize string formatting, take a look at formatting.