Working with the LabelRowV2#

The encord.objects.LabelRowV2 class is a wrapper around the Encord label row data format. It provides a convenient way to read, create, and manipulate labels.

Imports and authentication#

First, import dependencies and authenticate a project manager.

from pathlib import Path
from typing import List

from encord import EncordUserClient, Project
from encord.objects import (
from encord.objects.common import Option
from encord.objects.coordinates import BoundingBoxCoordinates
from encord.objects.frames import Range
from encord.orm.project import Project as OrmProject


To interact with Encord, you need to authenticate a client. You can find more details here.

# Authentication: adapt the following line to your private key path
private_key_path = Path.home() / ".ssh" / "id_ed25519"

with as f:
    private_key =

user_client = EncordUserClient.create_with_ssh_private_key(private_key)

# Find project to work with based on title.
project_orm: OrmProject = next(
        for p in user_client.get_projects(title_eq="Your project name")
project: Project = user_client.get_project(project_orm.project_hash)

Get metadata around labels#

Sometimes you might want to inspect some metadata around the label rows, such as the label hash, when the label was created, the corresponding data hash, or the creation date of the label.

label_rows: List[LabelRowV2] = project.list_label_rows_v2()

for label_row in label_rows:
    print(f"Label hash: {label_row.label_hash}")
    print(f"Label created at: {label_row.created_at}")
    print(f"Annotation task status: {label_row.annotation_task_status}")

Inspect the filters in list_label_rows_v2() to only get a subset of the label rows.

You can find more examples around all the available read properties by inspecting the properties of the LabelRowV2 class.

Exporting labels#

To export or download labels, or perform any other function that includes reading or writing labels, call the initialise_labels() method, which will download the state of the label from the Encord server and create a label hash if none exists.

Once this method has been called, you can create your first label.

first_label_row: LabelRowV2 = label_rows[0]

# ^ Check the reference for possible arguments

Saving labels#

Once initialise_labels() has been called, you can create your first label.

first_label_row: LabelRowV2 = label_rows[0]

# ^ Check the reference for possible arguments

# Code to add/manipulate some labels goes here

# Once you have added new labels, you will need to call .save() to upload all labels to the server.

Creating/reading object instances#

The encord.objects.LabelRowV2 class works with its corresponding ontology. If you add object instances or classification instances, these will be created from the ontology. You can read more about object instances here:

You can think of an object instance as a visual label in the label editor. One bounding box would be one object instance.

Finding the ontology object#

The LabelRowV2 is designed to work with its corresponding ontology via the OntologyStructure. You will need to use the title or feature node hash to find the right objects, classifications, attributes, or attribute options. See the example below to find the ontology object for the demonstrative “Box of a human” object.

ontology_structure: OntologyStructure = first_label_row.ontology_structure
box_ontology_object: Object = ontology_structure.get_child_by_title(
    title="Box of a human", type_=Object
# ^ optionally specify the `type_` to narrow the return type and also have a runtime check.

Creating and saving an object instance#

# Instantiate an object instance from the box ontology node.
box_object_instance: ObjectInstance = box_ontology_object.create_instance()

    # Add the bounding box to the first frame
    # There are multiple additional fields that can be set optionally:

# Link the object instance to the label row.
first_label_row.add_object_instance(box_object_instance)  # Upload the label to the server

Inspecting an object instance#

You can now get all the object instances that are part of the label row.

# Check the get_object_instances optional filters for when you have many different object/classification instances.
all_object_instances: List[
] = first_label_row.get_object_instances()

assert all_object_instances[0] == box_object_instance
assert all_object_instances[0].get_annotation(frame=0).manual_annotation is True

Adding object instances to multiple frames.#

Sometimes, you might want to work with a video where a single object instance is present in multiple frames. For example, you are tracking a car across multiple frames. In this case you would create one object instance and place it on all the frames where it is present. If objects are never present in multiple frames, you would always create a new object instance for a new frame.

# Assume you have the coordinates of a single object for the first 3 frames of a video.
# These are indexed by frame number.
coordinates_per_frame = {
    3: BoundingBoxCoordinates(
    4: BoundingBoxCoordinates(
    5: BoundingBoxCoordinates(

# OPTION 1 - think in terms of "the frames per object instance"
box_object_instance_2: ObjectInstance = box_ontology_object.create_instance()

for frame_number, coordinates in coordinates_per_frame.items():
        coordinates=coordinates, frames=frame_number

# OPTION 2 - think in terms of the "object instances per frame"
box_object_instance_3: ObjectInstance = box_ontology_object.create_instance()

for frame_view in first_label_row.get_frame_views():
    frame_number = frame_view.frame
    if frame_number in coordinates_per_frame:

Read access across multiple frames#

As shown above with OPTION 1 and OPTION 2, you can think of the individual object instances and on which frames they are present or you can think of the individual frames and which objects they have. For a read access thinking of the individual frames can be particularly convenient.

for label_row_frame_view in first_label_row.get_frame_views():
    frame_number = label_row_frame_view.frame
    print(f"Frame number: {frame_number}")
    object_instances_in_frame: List[
    ] = label_row_frame_view.get_object_instances()
    for object_instance in object_instances_in_frame:
        print(f"Object instance: {object_instance}")
        annotation = object_instance.get_annotation(frame=frame_number)
        print(f"Coordinates: {annotation.coordinates}")

Working with a classification instance#

Creating a classification instance is similar to creating an object instance. The only differences are that you cannot create have more than one classification instance of the same type on the same frame and that there is no coordinates to be set for classification instances.

You can read more about classification instances here:

Get the ontology classification#

# Assume that the following text classification exists in the ontology.
text_ontology_classification: Classification = (
        title="Free text about the frame", type_=Classification
text_classification_instance = text_ontology_classification.create_instance()

Add the classification instance to the label row#

# First set the value of the classification instance
text_classification_instance.set_answer(answer="This is a text classification.")

# Second, select the frames where the classification instance is present

# Then add it to the label row

Read classification instances#

# Check the convenient filters of get_classification_instances() for your use cases
all_classification_instances = first_label_row.get_classification_instances()
assert all_classification_instances[0] == text_classification_instance

Working with object/classification instance attributes#

Both object instances and classification instances can have attributes. You can read more about examples using these links: and

In the ontology you might have already configured text, radio, or checklist attributes for your object/classification. With the LabelRowV2, you can set or get the values of these attributes. Here, we refer to as “setting or getting an answer to an attribute”.

Answering classification instance attributes#

The case for answering classification instance attributes is simpler, so let’s start with those.

You will again need to deal with the original ontology object to interact with answers to attributes. We have exposed convenient accessors to find the right attributes to get the attributes or the respective options by their title.


When working with attributes, you will see that the first thing to do is often to grab the ontology object. Usually, when calling the get_child_by_title the type_ is recommended, but still optional. However, for classifications this is often required.

The reason is that the classification title is always equal to the title of the top level attribute of this classification. Therefore, it is important to distinguish what exactly you’re trying to search for.

Text attributes#

Answering text attributes is the simplest case and has already been shown in the section on classification instances above.

# Assume that the following text classification exists in the ontology.
text_ontology_classification: Classification = ontology_structure.get_child_by_title(
    title="Free text about the frame",
    # Do not forget to specify the type here
text_classification_instance = text_ontology_classification.create_instance()

# First set the value of the classification instance
text_classification_instance.set_answer(answer="This is a text classification.")

assert (
    == "This is a text classification."

We encourage you to read the set_answer and get_answer docstrings to understand the different behaviours and possible options which you can set.

Checklist attributes#

Assume we have a checklist with “all colours in the picture” which defines a bunch of colours that we can see in the image. You will need to get all the options from the checklist ontology that you would like to select as answers.

checklist_ontology_classification: Classification = ontology_structure.get_child_by_title(
    title="All colours in the picture",
    # Do not forget to specify the type here
checklist_classification_instance = (

# Prefer using the `checklist_ontology_classification` over the `ontology_structure` to get the options.
# The more specific the ontology item that you're searching from is, the more likely you will avoid title clashes.
green_option: Option = checklist_ontology_classification.get_child_by_title(
    "Green", type_=Option
blue_option: Option = checklist_ontology_classification.get_child_by_title(
    "Blue", type_=Option

checklist_classification_instance.set_answer([green_option, blue_option])

assert sorted(checklist_classification_instance.get_answer()) == sorted(
    [green_option, blue_option]

Radio attributes#

Let’s assume we have a radio classification called “Scenery” with the options “Mountains”, “Ocean”, and “Desert”.

scenery_ontology_classification: Classification = ontology_structure.get_child_by_title(
    # Do not forget to specify the type here

mountains_option = scenery_ontology_classification.get_child_by_title(
    title="Mountains", type_=Option

scenery_classification_instance = (


assert scenery_classification_instance.get_answer() == mountains_option

Radio attributes can also be nested. You can read more about nested options here:

Let’s say that if you have the Mountains scenery, there is an additional radio classification called “Mountains count” with the answers “One”, “Two”, and “Many”. Continuing the example above, you can set the nested answer like this:

mountains_count_attribute = mountains_option.get_child_by_title(
    "Mountains count", type_=RadioAttribute
two_mountains_option = mountains_count_attribute.get_child_by_title(
    "Two", type_=Option


# Note, that if for `set_answer` or `get_answer` the attribute of the classification cannot be inferred, we need
# to manually specify it.
assert (
    == two_mountains_option

Answering object instance attributes#

Setting answers on object instances is almost identical to setting answers on classification instances. You will need to possibly get the attribute, but also the answer options from the ontology.

car_ontology_object: Object = ontology_structure.get_child_by_title(
    "Car", type_=Object
car_brand_attribute = car_ontology_object.get_child_by_title(
    title="Car brand", type_=RadioAttribute
# Again, doing ontology_structure.get_child_by_title("Mercedes") is also possible, but might be more ambiguous.
mercedes_option = car_brand_attribute.get_child_by_title(
    title="Mercedes", type_=Option

car_object_instance = car_ontology_object.create_instance()


# The attribute cannot be inferred, so we need to specify it.
assert (
    == mercedes_option

Setting answers for dynamic attributes#

Dynamic attributes are attributes for object instances where the answer can change in each frame. You can read more about them here:

These behave very similarly to static attributes, however, they expect that a frame is passed to the set_answer which will set the answer for the specific frame.

The read access, however, behaves slightly different to show which answers have been set for which frames.

person_ontology_object: Object = ontology_structure.get_child_by_title(
    "Person", type_=Object

position_attribute = person_ontology_object.get_child_by_title(
    title="Position",  # The options here are "Standing" or "Walking"

person_object_instance = person_ontology_object.create_instance()

# Assume you would add the right coordinates of this person for frames 0-10 here.
# Now assume the person is standing in frames 0-5 and walking in frames 6-10.

    answer=position_attribute.get_child_by_title("Standing", type_=Option),
    frames=Range(start=0, end=5),
    # Wherever you can set frames, you can either set a single int, a Range, or a list of Range.

    answer=position_attribute.get_child_by_title("Walking", type_=Option),
    frames=Range(start=6, end=10),

assert person_object_instance.get_answer(attribute=position_attribute) == [
        answer=position_attribute.get_child_by_title("Standing", type_=Option),
        ranges=[Range(start=0, end=5)],
        answer=position_attribute.get_child_by_title("Walking", type_=Option),
        ranges=[Range(start=6, end=10)],

Utils: Dealing with numeric frames#

You will see that in many places you can use encord.objects.frames.Range which allows you to specify frames in a more flexible way. Use one of the many helpers around frames to conveniently tranform between formats of a single frame, frame ranges, or a list of frames.

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