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Load MATLAB .mat 7.3 into Python native data types (via h5/hd5/hdf5/h5py)

Project description

pypi Version

mat 7.3

Load MATLAB 7.3 .mat files into Python.

Starting with MATLAB 7.3, .mat files have been changed to store as custom hdf5 files. This means they cannot be loaded by any longer and raise.

NotImplementedError: Please use HDF reader for matlab v7.3 files


This library loads MATLAB 7.3 HDF5 files into a Python dictionary.

import mat73
data_dict = mat73.loadmat('data.mat')

As easy as that!

By enabling use_attrdict=True you can even access sub-entries of structs as attributes, just like in MATLAB:

data_dict = mat73.loadmat('data.mat', use_attrdict=True) 
struct = data_dict['structure'] # assuming a structure was saved in the .mat
struct[0].var1 == struct[0]['var1'] # it's the same!

You can also specifiy to only load a specific variable or variable tree, useful to reduce loading times

data_dict = mat73.loadmat('data.mat', only_include='structure') 
struct = data_dict['structure'] # now only structure is loaded and nothing else

data_dict = mat73.loadmat('data.mat', only_include=['var/subvar/subsubvar', 'tree1/']) 
tree1 = data_dict['tree1'] # the entire tree has been loaded, so tree1 is a dict with all subvars of tree1
subsubvar = data_dict['var']['subvar']['subsubvar'] # this subvar has been loaded


To install, run:

pip install mat73

Alternatively for most recent version:

pip install git+


The following MATLAB datatypes can be loaded

logical np.bool_
single np.float32
double np.float64
int8/16/32/64 np.int8/16/32/64
uint8/16/32/64 np.uint8/16/32/64
complex np.complex128
char str
struct list of dicts
cell list of lists
canonical empty []
missing None
Other (ie Datetime, ...) Not supported


  • This library will only load mat 7.3 files. For older versions use
  • Proprietary MATLAB types (e.g datetime, duriation, etc) are not supported. If someone tells me how to convert them, I'll implement that
  • For now, you can't save anything back to the .mat. It's a bit more difficult than expected, so it's not on the roadmap for now
  • See also hdf5storage, which can indeed be used for saving .mat, but has less features for loading
  • See also pymatreader which has a (maybe even better) implementation of loading MAT files, even for older ones

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