Cross posted on W Community.

I am looking for a fast way to retrieve the vertex and edge property names present in a graph, for use in IGraph/M. There should be two functions:


which will each return a list of property names. They should work on any graph. They should return properties which are present on only some of the vertices or edges.

Naïve and slow implementations:

vertexPropertyList[g_?GraphQ] := 
 Union @@ (PropertyList[{g, #}] & /@ VertexList[g])
edgePropertyList[g_?GraphQ] := 
 Union @@ (PropertyList[{g, #}] & /@ EdgeList[g])

g1 = ExampleData[{"NetworkGraph", 

g2 = ExampleData[{"NetworkGraph", "HighEnergyTheoryCollaborations"}];

g3 = RandomGraph[BernoulliGraphDistribution[50000, 0.005]];

{AbsoluteTiming@vertexPropertyList[#], AbsoluteTiming@edgePropertyList[#]} & /@ {g1, g2, g3} // Column

Mathematica graphics

Bounty update

Current best solution, based partly on @kglr's answer below:

This is the one to beat for the bounty:

hasCustomProp[g_] := OptionValue[Options[g, Properties], Properties] =!= {}

standardVertexProperties = {
  VertexShape, VertexShapeFunction, VertexSize, VertexStyle,
  VertexLabels, VertexLabelStyle,
  VertexWeight, VertexCapacity

vertexPropertyList[g_ /; VertexCount[g] == 0] = {};
vertexPropertyList[g_ /; GraphQ[g] && hasCustomProp[g]] := Sort@DeleteDuplicates[Join @@ PropertyList[{g, VertexList[g]}]]
vertexPropertyList[g_ /; GraphQ[g]] := Intersection[PropertyList[g], standardVertexProperties]

Things I already tried:

To save people time, here I will show approaches that I tried and that did not prove fruitful.

We can get the custom properties and their values like this:

Options[g, Properties]

We could try to extract the property names from this structure. The problem is that edge and vertex properties must be separated. So we start with filtering vertices:

vertexProps = Lookup[
   Association@OptionValue[Options[g1, Properties], Properties],
   ]; // AbsoluteTiming

(* {0.160342, Null} *)

This in itself takes longer than

PropertyList[{g1, VertexList[g1]}]; // AbsoluteTiming
(* {0.093381, Null} *)

So at least this implementation is not going to be fast enough. It does not mean that there isn't another way to use Options[g, Properties].

  • $\begingroup$ Make a note here. $\endgroup$
    – yode
    Commented May 8, 2017 at 17:11
  • $\begingroup$ Do you think GraphComputation`GraphAbsoluteOptions[ ExampleData[{"NetworkGraph", "EastAfricaEmbassyAttacks"}]] can help? $\endgroup$
    – yode
    Commented May 9, 2017 at 14:31
  • $\begingroup$ you could also define hasCustomProp for edge and vertex separately. For example, hasVCustomProp[g_] := MemberQ[OptionValue[Options[g, Properties], Properties][[All, 1]], x_ /; VertexQ[g, x]] hasECustomProp[g_] := MemberQ[OptionValue[Options[g, Properties], Properties][[All, 1]], _DirectedEdge | _UndirectedEdge] $\endgroup$
    – halmir
    Commented May 15, 2017 at 16:59

1 Answer 1


Also naive but faster:

ClearAll[vertexPList, edgePList]
vertexPList[g_?GraphQ] := DeleteDuplicates[Join @@ PropertyList[{g, VertexList[g]}]]
edgePList[g_?GraphQ] := DeleteDuplicates[Join @@ PropertyList[{g, EdgeList[g]}]]

    AbsoluteTiming@edgePList[#]} & /@ {g1, g2, g3} // Column

Mathematica graphics


    AbsoluteTiming@edgePropertyList[#]} & /@ {g1, g2, g3} // Column

Mathematica graphics

  • $\begingroup$ Great! Small but useful improvement from DeleteDuplicates. Please also see the comments I just posted on W Community. $\endgroup$
    – Szabolcs
    Commented Apr 25, 2017 at 10:15
  • $\begingroup$ You can make a further slight improvement by putting another DeleteDuplicates before the join. (This mostly helps if there are many edges/vertices with the same set of properties.) $\endgroup$
    – TimRias
    Commented Apr 25, 2017 at 15:15

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