5 Different Ways to Remove Specific Characters From a String in Python

Using string methods, filter, and regexes

Photo by Gary Chan on Unsplash

5 Different Ways to Remove Specific Characters From a String in Python

1. Remove specific characters from the string
2. Remove all characters except alphabets from a string
3. Remove all characters except the alphabets and the numbers from a string
4. Remove all numbers from a string useing a regular expression
5. Remove all characters from the string except numbers 

1. Remove Specific Characters From the String

Using ‘str.replace’

Using str.replace(), we can replace a specific character. If we want to remove that specific character, replace that character with an empty string. The str.replace() method will replace all occurrences of the specific character mentioned.

s="Hello$ Python3$"
s1=s.replace("$","")
print (s1)
#Output:Hello Python3

If we want to remove one occurrence of that character mentioned, mention the count:

str.replace(old,new,count)

s="Hello$ Python3$"
s1=s.replace("$","",1)
print (s1)
#Output:Hello Python3$

Using ‘re.sub()’

re.sub(pattern, repl, string, count=0, flags=0)

“Return the string obtained by replacing the leftmost nonoverlapping occurrences of pattern in the string by the replacement repl. If the pattern isn’t found, the string is returned unchanged.”

Python documentation

If we want to remove specific characters, the replacement string is mentioned as an empty string.

s="Hello$@& Python3$"
import re
s1=re.sub("[$@&]","",s)
print (s1)
#Output:Hello Python3

s1=re.sub(“[$@&]”,””,s)

  • Pattern to be replaced → “[$@&]”
  • [] used to indicate a set of characters
  • [$@&] → will match either $ or @ or &
  • The replacement string is given as an empty string
  • If these characters are found in the string, they’ll be replaced with an empty string

2. Remove All Characters Except Alphabets From a String

Using ‘isalpha()’

isalpha() is used to check whether the string contains the alphabet or not. It returns True if it contains only the alphabet.

It’ll iterate through the string and check whether each character in the string is an alphabet or not and return it if it’s an alphabet.

Example

s="Hello$@ Python3&"
s1="".join(c for c in s if c.isalpha())
print (s1) 
#Output:HelloPython

s=”Hello$@ Python3&”

(c for c in s if c.isalpha())

Result → [‘H’, ‘e’, ‘l’, ‘l’, ‘o’, ‘P’, ‘y’, ‘t’, ‘h’, ‘o’, ‘n’]

It’s a generator expression. It returns a generator object containing all alphabets from the string.

s1=””.join(c for c in s if c.isalpha())

””.join will join all of the elements in the iterable using an empty string.

Using ‘filter()’

s="Hello$@ Python3&"
f=filter(str.isalpha,s)
s1="".join(f)
print (s1)

f=filter(str.isalpha,s)

The filter() function will apply the str.isalpha method to each element in the string, and if it’s True, it’ll return the item. Otherwise, it’ll skip the item.

s1=””.join(f)

filter() will return an iterator containing all of the alphabets in the string, and join() will join all of the elements in the iterator with an empty string.

Using ‘re.sub()’

s="Hello$@ Python3$"
import re
s1=re.sub("[^A-Za-z]","",s)
print (s1)
#Output:HelloPython

s1=re.sub(“[^A-Za-z]”,””,s)

  • “[^A-Za-z]” → It’ll match all of the characters except the alphabets. If the first character of the set is '^', then all of the characters not in the set will be matched.
  • All of the characters matched will be replaced with an empty string
  • All of the characters except the alphabets are removed

3. Remove All Characters Except the Alphabets and the Numbers From a String

Using ‘isalnum()’

isalnum() is used to check whether characters in the string are alphanumeric (alphabets [A-Z, a-z] and numbers [0-9] are alphanumeric).

It’ll iterate through the string and check whether each character in the string is alphanumeric or not and return it if it’s an alphabet/number.

s="Hello$@ Python3&"
s1="".join(c for c in s if c.isalnum())
print (s1)
#Output:HelloPython3

Using ‘re.sub()’

s="Hello$@ Python3&_"
import re
s1=re.sub("[^A-Za-z0-9]","",s)
print (s1)#Output:HelloPython3

s1=re.sub(“[^A-Za-z0–9]”,””,s)

  • “[^A-Za-z0–9]” → It’ll match all of the characters except the alphabets and the numbers. If the first character of the set is '^', then all of the characters not in the set will be matched.
  • All of the characters matched will be replaced with an empty string
  • All of the characters except the alphabets and numbers are removed

4. Remove All Numbers From a String Using a Regular Expression

Using ‘re.sub()’

s="Hello347 Python3$"
import re
s1=re.sub("[0-9]","",s)
print (s1)
#Output:Hello Python$

s1=re.sub(“[0–9]”,””,s)

  • [0–9] will match the numbers from 0-9
  • re.sub(“[0–9]”,””,s, if found, will be replaced with an empty string

5. Remove All Characters From the String Except Numbers

Using ‘isdecimal()’

isdecimal() returns True if all characters in the string are decimals and there’s at least one character. Otherwise, it returns False. The decimal numbers are numbers that can be used to form numbers in base-10.

Example

s="1-2$3%4 5a"
s1="".join(c for c in s if  c.isdecimal())
print (s1)
#Output:12345

s1=””.join(c for c in s if c.isdecimal())

It iterates through the string and checks whether each character in the string is a number or not and returns it if it’s a number.

””.join() will join all of the elements returned with an empty string

Using ‘re.sub()’

s="1-2$3%4 5a"
import re
s1=re.sub("[^0-9]","",s)
print (s1)
#Output:12345

s1=re.sub(“[^0–9]”,””,s)

  • [^0–9] will match all characters except numbers 0-9
  • re.sub(“[^0–9]”,””,s: If any character that’s not a number is found, it’ll be replaced with an empty string

Using ‘filter()’

s="1-2$3%4 5a"
f=filter(str.isdecimal,s)
s1="".join(f)
print (s1)
#Output:12345

f=filter(str.isdecimal,s)

The filter() function will apply the str.isdecimal method to each element in the string, and if it’s True, it’ll return the item. Otherwise, it’ll skip the item.

s1=””.join(f)

filter() will return an iterator containing all of the numbers in the string, and join() will join all of the elements in the iterator with an empty string.

Refer to my story for filter() versus filterfalse().

Note: Python strings are immutable, so all of the about mentioned methods will remove characters from the string and return a new string. It won’t modify the original string.


My other blogs related to string methods

Remove Whitespaces from Strings in Python

5 Ways to Find the Index of a Substring in Python

split() vs. partition() in Python Strings


Resources (Python Documentation)

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