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Python – Remove Multiple Spaces From a String

In this tutorial, we will look at how to remove multiple spaces from a string in Python such that there is consistent spacing.

remove multiple spaces from string

You can use regular expressions to match consecutive space characters in the string and replace them with a single space. The following is the syntax –

# replace multiple spaces with a single space
s = re.sub(' +', ' ', s)

Let’s look at an example.

import re

# string with multiple consecutive spaces
s = "I  am      a doctor"
# make spaces consistent
s = re.sub(" +", " ", s)
print(s)

Output:

I am a doctor

Multiple spaces were replaced with a single space. Here, the regular expression ' +' matches with occurrences of consecutive spaces which are then replaced by a single space character, ' ' using the re.sub() function.

The regular expression ' +' matches for one or more consecutive occurrences of a single space ' '.

You can also use the string split() and join() functions to remove multiple spaces from a string.

We first split the string using the string split() function and then join the words back with a single space between them using the string join() function. For example –

# string with multiple consecutive spaces
s = "I  am      a doctor"
# make spaces consistent
s = " ".join(s.split())
print(s)

Output:

I am a doctor

We get the same result as above.

Note that the string split() function splits the string at whitespace characters by default. Now, whitespace characters are not just limited to a single space in Python. Characters such as '\n', '\t', '\r' etc. are also considered whitespace characters in Python.

If you use this method on a string with such characters, they will all be replaced by a single space. For example –

# string with multiple consecutive spaces
s = "I  am      a doctor.\nHe is a scientist."
# make spaces consistent
s = " ".join(s.split())
print(s)

Output:

I am a doctor. He is a scientist.

You can see that multiple spaces were removed from the string. Also, notice that the newline character '\n' was also removed.

Now, let’s use the regular expression method on the same string.

# string with multiple consecutive spaces
s = "I  am      a doctor.\nHe is a scientist."
# make spaces consistent
s = re.sub(" +", " ", s)
print(s)

Output:

I am a doctor.
He is a scientist.

Only consecutive spaces were replaced by a single space and the newline character was unchanged.

So, be mindful of this when using string split() and join() functions to remove multiple spaces from a string in Python.

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Author

  • Piyush is a data scientist passionate about using data to understand things better and make informed decisions. In the past, he's worked as a Data Scientist for ZS and holds an engineering degree from IIT Roorkee. His hobbies include watching cricket, reading, and working on side projects.