Python Convert Unicode Characters to ASCII String

In this tutorial, we will learn how to convert a Unicode character into its ASCII string representation using the Python programming language.

Python Convert Unicode Characters to ASCII String

Unicode Character Encoding, also known as Unicode, is a universal character encoding standard for all languages. Unlike other encoding standards, such as ASCII, which supports a single byte per character, Unicode can support up to 4 bytes per character, making it more extensible and robust to handle a wide array of characters in any language.

It is good to keep in mind that not all Unicode characters have a direct ASCII representation. Therefore, you must choose between ignoring the non-supported characters or replacing them as necessary.

Python Convert Unicode to ASCII - Ignore

Let us start with a basic example usage and discuss how to convert Unicode characters into ASCII. We can use the encode() and decode() methods.

To ignore any characters that are not defined in the ASCII range, we can use the example as shown:

s = "Apple "
s.encode("ascii", "ignore").decode("ascii")

In this case, we should convert the input string into ASCII representation. Since the Apple logo is not supported in the ASCII range, Python will ignore it.


'Apple '

Python Convert Unicode to ASCII - Replace.

The second method you can use is to convert Unicode to ASCII and replacing the non-matching characters with a placeholder. For example, we can replace it with a question mark ?

An example is as shown:

>>> s = "Apple "
>>> s.encode("ascii", "replace").decode("ascii")


'Apple ?'

Python Convert Unicode to ASCII - Unidecode

Unidecode is a third-party library that attempts to provide a readable ASCII representation for Unicode strings. It's useful for transliterating characters to their closest ASCII counterparts.

Install it with pip as:

pip install unidecode

Next, use it to convert Unicode to ASCII, as shown:

>>> s = "Apple "
>>> from unidecode import unidecode
>>> unidecode(s)


'Apple '


This post taught us how to convert Unicode strings to ASCII representation without errors. We learned how to ignore the non-matching characters or replace them with a given placeholder.

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