Code Quality Rank: L4
Programming language: Python
License: GNU General Public License v3.0 or later
Tags: Text Processing     General     Filters    
Latest version: v6.1.2

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ftfy: fixes text for you

PyPI package Docs

>>> from ftfy import fix_encoding
>>> print(fix_encoding("(ง'⌣')ง"))

The full documentation of ftfy is available at ftfy.readthedocs.org. The documentation covers a lot more than this README, so here are some links into it:


  • “My life is livable again!” — @planarrowspace
  • “A handy piece of magic” — @simonw
  • “Saved me a large amount of frustrating dev work” — @iancal
  • “ftfy did the right thing right away, with no faffing about. Excellent work, solving a very tricky real-world (whole-world!) problem.” — Brennan Young
  • “I have no idea when I’m gonna need this, but I’m definitely bookmarking it.” — /u/ocrow
  • “9.2/10” — pylint

What it does

Here are some examples (found in the real world) of what ftfy can do:

ftfy can fix mojibake (encoding mix-ups), by detecting patterns of characters that were clearly meant to be UTF-8 but were decoded as something else:

>>> import ftfy
>>> ftfy.fix_text('✔ No problems')
'✔ No problems'

Does this sound impossible? It's really not. UTF-8 is a well-designed encoding that makes it obvious when it's being misused, and a string of mojibake usually contains all the information we need to recover the original string.

ftfy can fix multiple layers of mojibake simultaneously:

>>> ftfy.fix_text('The Mona Lisa doesn’t have eyebrows.')
"The Mona Lisa doesn't have eyebrows."

It can fix mojibake that has had "curly quotes" applied on top of it, which cannot be consistently decoded until the quotes are uncurled:

>>> ftfy.fix_text("l’humanité")

ftfy can fix mojibake that would have included the character U+A0 (non-breaking space), but the U+A0 was turned into an ASCII space and then combined with another following space:

>>> ftfy.fix_text('Ã\xa0 perturber la réflexion')
'à perturber la réflexion'
>>> ftfy.fix_text('à perturber la réflexion')
'à perturber la réflexion'

ftfy can also decode HTML entities that appear outside of HTML, even in cases where the entity has been incorrectly capitalized:

>>> # by the HTML 5 standard, only 'PÉREZ' is acceptable
>>> ftfy.fix_text('PÉREZ')

These fixes are not applied in all cases, because ftfy has a strongly-held goal of avoiding false positives -- it should never change correctly-decoded text to something else.

The following text could be encoded in Windows-1252 and decoded in UTF-8, and it would decode as 'MARQUɅ'. However, the original text is already sensible, so it is unchanged.

>>> ftfy.fix_text('IL Y MARQUÉ…')


ftfy is a Python 3 package that can be installed using pip:

pip install ftfy

(Or use pip3 install ftfy on systems where Python 2 and 3 are both globally installed and pip refers to Python 2.)

Local development

ftfy is developed using poetry. Its setup.py is vestigial and is not the recommended way to install it.

Install Poetry, check out this repository, and run poetry install to install ftfy for local development, such as experimenting with the heuristic or running tests.

Who maintains ftfy?

I'm Robyn Speer, also known as Elia Robyn Lake. You can find me on GitHub or Twitter.

Citing ftfy

ftfy has been used as a crucial data processing step in major NLP research.

It's important to give credit appropriately to everyone whose work you build on in research. This includes software, not just high-status contributions such as mathematical models. All I ask when you use ftfy for research is that you cite it.

ftfy has a citable record on Zenodo. A citation of ftfy may look like this:

Robyn Speer. (2019). ftfy (Version 5.5). Zenodo.

In BibTeX format, the citation is::

  author       = {Robyn Speer},
  title        = {ftfy},
  note         = {Version 5.5},
  year         = 2019,
  howpublished = {Zenodo},
  doi          = {10.5281/zenodo.2591652},
  url          = {https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.2591652}