Fix Python – Replace non-ASCII characters with a single space

Question

Asked By – dotancohen

I need to replace all non-ASCII (\x00-\x7F) characters with a space. I’m surprised that this is not dead-easy in Python, unless I’m missing something. The following function simply removes all non-ASCII characters:

def remove_non_ascii_1(text):

    return ''.join(i for i in text if ord(i)<128)

And this one replaces non-ASCII characters with the amount of spaces as per the amount of bytes in the character code point (i.e. the character is replaced with 3 spaces):

def remove_non_ascii_2(text):

    return re.sub(r'[^\x00-\x7F]',' ', text)

How can I replace all non-ASCII characters with a single space?

Of the myriad of similar SO questions, none address character replacement as opposed to stripping, and additionally address all non-ascii characters not a specific character.

Now we will see solution for issue: Replace non-ASCII characters with a single space


Answer

Your ''.join() expression is filtering, removing anything non-ASCII; you could use a conditional expression instead:

return ''.join([i if ord(i) < 128 else ' ' for i in text])

This handles characters one by one and would still use one space per character replaced.

Your regular expression should just replace consecutive non-ASCII characters with a space:

re.sub(r'[^\x00-\x7F]+',' ', text)

Note the + there.

This question is answered By – Martijn Pieters

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