Sophie Gage Sophie Gage - 2 months ago 23
Python Question

Turn a string into a valid filename?

I have a string that I want to use as a filename, so I want to remove all characters that wouldn't be allowed in filenames, using Python.

I'd rather be strict than otherwise, so let's say I want to retain only letters, digits, and a small set of other characters like

"_-.() "
. What's the most elegant solution?

The filename needs to be valid on multiple operating systems (Windows, Linux and Mac OS) - it's an MP3 file in my library with the song title as the filename, and is shared and backed up between 3 machines.


This is the solution I ultimately used:

import unicodedata

validFilenameChars = "-_.() %s%s" % (string.ascii_letters, string.digits)

def removeDisallowedFilenameChars(filename):
    cleanedFilename = unicodedata.normalize('NFKD', filename).encode('ASCII', 'ignore')
    return ''.join(c for c in cleanedFilename if c in validFilenameChars)

The unicodedata.normalize call replaces accented characters with the unaccented equivalent, which is better than simply stripping them out. After that all disallowed characters are removed.

My solution doesn't prepend a known string to avoid possible disallowed filenames, because I know they can't occur given my particular filename format. A more general solution would need to do so.