My problem is quite simple yet I do not seem to figure out the solution to it. I am simply trying to export a list in Mathematica, actually a list of lists of lists etc, something like {{...,{...}},{...}}, but the Head is a list. I want to export this as raw Mathematica symbols so that I can access it later.

Lets take a simple list, say

list = {1,a,Pi};

I am trying:


and also


but getting the following error:

Export::infer: Cannot infer format of file listname. >>

This works for other formats such as CSV or TXT.

  • $\begingroup$ Have you seen DumpSave[]? $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 11, 2014 at 11:12
  • $\begingroup$ @belisarius was not aware of DumpSave[] and Save[] which seem to work for my purpose. Still don't understand why Export[] does not work but thanks for the tip! $\endgroup$
    – someuser_
    Commented Mar 11, 2014 at 11:30
  • $\begingroup$ @Öskå saving as "Text" does not work well in my case because I am actually trying to save lists with many different levels. It would be ideal to just save in Mathematica format. $\endgroup$
    – someuser_
    Commented Mar 11, 2014 at 11:36
  • $\begingroup$ "data" is an element not a format. The error is because you havent specified a format and none can be inferred from the file name $\endgroup$
    – george2079
    Commented Mar 11, 2014 at 12:22
  • $\begingroup$ @george2079 Thanks for clearing that but could you be more explicit? How could I save my list without converting it to another data format? I guess the command would be Export["Listname.(some extension)", list, "Data"] $\endgroup$
    – someuser_
    Commented Mar 11, 2014 at 12:32

1 Answer 1


Two options for exporting arbitrary Mathematica expressions are to use Put or to Export to WDX format.

list = {1, a, π};

Put[list, "test.anything"];    

(* {1, a, π} *)

Export["test.wdx", list];   

(* {1, a, π} *)
  • $\begingroup$ I've seen people suggest exporting using Compress as well - I don't have the experience to say if this is worth mentioning or not $\endgroup$
    – Daniel
    Commented Mar 11, 2014 at 15:26
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks!! It also works with Save["test",list] and Get["test"] $\endgroup$
    – someuser_
    Commented Mar 13, 2014 at 16:20

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