ftfy: fixes text for you

Version 6.0

ftfy fixes Unicode that’s broken in various ways.

The goal of ftfy is to take in bad Unicode and output good Unicode, for use in your Unicode-aware code.

This is different from taking in non-Unicode and outputting Unicode, which is not a goal of ftfy. It also isn’t designed to protect you from having to write Unicode-aware code. ftfy helps those who help themselves.

Of course you’re better off if your input is decoded properly and has no glitches. But you often don’t have any control over your input; it’s someone else’s mistake, but it’s your problem now. ftfy will do everything it can to fix the problem.

ftfy is a heuristic that was designed (not machine-learned) by Robyn Speer, at Luminoso. If you use ftfy in research, including pre-processing your language model data, you need to cite it: see Citing ftfy.

Some quick examples

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(\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…')