Transition to pydicom 1.x

Important information on differences in pydicom post 1.0 vs pre-1.0


As is often the case for major software version number changes, pydicom 1.0 breaks with the previous release of pydicom (0.9.9) in several ways. These require changes to user code to target the pydicom >= 1.0 package, or to check and deal with the differences between the versions.

Backwards-incompatible changes post 1.0

  • the library is no longer dicom but is pydicom, to match the package name

  • short-form names such as Beams are no longer allowed; use the full keyword e.g. BeamSequence

  • some less-used modules within pydicom have been renamed, e.g. dicom.UID is now pydicom.uid

Why was the package name changed? There are several reasons for this change:

  • it is standard Python practice for the package and the installed library to have the same name

  • first-time users expect to be able to type import pydicom rather than import dicom, which has caused confusion

  • it makes sense for search engines - with the correct name it is much easier to find relevant questions and example code online

The decision wasn’t taken lightly, but with a great deal of discussion on the GitHub issues list. Having made the leap, the rest of this guide should help smooth the way…

For authors of packages requiring pydicom < 1.0

The old pydicom releases have been split off into their own package, called dicom, which is now hosted on PyPI. This allows the old library dicom to co-exist alongside the new library pydicom.

The main things to do, to ensure your old pydicom code will remain functional, are:

  1. you should pip uninstall pydicom and pip install dicom in your existing pydicom installs

  2. If you have requirements.txt files, change the pydicom line from “pydicom” to “dicom” e.g. pydicom==0.9.9 becomes dicom==0.9.9

  3. Change your instructions to users to pip install dicom rather than pip install pydicom

Error messages relating to the pydicom transition

This section is here in the hopes of people getting directed to this page on searches. If that’s you, then welcome! Hopefully the information here can get things going quickly for you.

For those with pydicom < 1.0 installed, on trying to import pydicom, they will get an ImportError message:

>>> import pydicom 
Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "<stdin>", line 1, in <module>
ImportError: No module named pydicom

Your choice then is to update to pydicom >=1.0 (see Installing pydicom section), or to instead use import dicom and follow the old-style pydicom syntax.

Conversely, if pydicom >= 1.0 is installed, the error message for import dicom will look like:

>>> import dicom 
Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "<stdin>", line 1, in <module>
ImportError: No module named dicom

In this case you likely have installed pydicom >= 1.0, and so the dicom library does not exist. You can simply import pydicom instead, and continue with the new pydicom, or, if you really need the old pydicom, then you should:

pip install dicom

and you should be good to go.

API Changes in version 1.0

Apart from the change of the package name, there are some changes in module names, class names, and behavior that may require some code changes.

Changed module names

  • module UID is now uid

Changed function and variable names

  • in module datadict:

    • dictionaryVM() -> dictionary_VM

    • dictionaryVR() -> dictionary_VR

    • private_dictionaryVM() -> private_dictionary_VM

    • private_dictionaryVR() -> private_dictionary_VR

  • in module filereader:

    • read_file() -> dcmread() (but old name remains for compatibility)

  • in module filewriter:

    • write_file() -> dcmwrite() (but old name remains for compatibility)

  • module tagtools:

    • tag_in_exception() has been moved to tag module

  • module uid:

    • UID.is_valid() is now a property

    • NotCompressedPixelTransferSyntaxes -> UncompressedPixelTransferSyntaxes

    • pydicom_root_UID -> PYDICOM_ROOT_UID

Removed functions and names

  • support for old names (before DICOM keywords) in module datadict is gone (CleanName(), short_name(), long_name(), all_names_for_tag()

  • filereader.not_group2() is no longer available

  • uid.pydicom_UIDs has been removed

Changed behavior

  • dataset.save_as(): TransferSyntaxUID not added automatically to dataset.file_meta if missing