Split string by space and preserve quoted strings in Python

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Borislav Hadzhiev

Last updated: Jun 24, 2022

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Split string by space and preserve quoted strings in Python #

To split a string by space and preserve quoted substrings:

  1. Import the shlex module.
  2. Pass the string to the shlex.split() method.
  3. The shlex.split method splits the string using a shell-like syntax.
main.py
import shlex my_str = 'one "two" three "four"' # 👇️ ['one', 'two', 'three', 'four'] print(shlex.split(my_str)) # 👇️ ['one', '"two"', 'three', '"four"'] print(shlex.split(my_str, posix=False))

In the first example, we directly passed the string to the shlex.split method without providing any arguments.

By default the posix argument is set to True. When POSIX mode is enabled, the quotes are not kept after splitting the string.

The second example sets the posix argument to False to keep the quotes after splitting.

The shlex.split method also takes care of removing any leading or trailing spaces when splitting the string.

main.py
import shlex my_str = ' one "two" three "four" ' my_list = shlex.split(my_str) print(my_list) # 👉️ ['one', 'two', 'three', 'four']
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