FAQ: How do I calculate what quoted strings and numbers mean?

Chris Lambacher chris at kateandchris.net
Mon Nov 20 21:54:45 CET 2006

On Mon, Nov 20, 2006 at 11:20:37AM -0800, p.lavarre at ieee.org wrote:
> > but the os module isn't very far away
> I see Python defines some evals that apparently don't import os, such
> as:
> int('0x100'[2:], 0x10)
> float('1.23e+4')
> binascii.unhexlify('4142')
> Does Python also define an eval that doesn't import os for literal
> string args?
> For example, suppose someone gives me source strings like
> repr('\a\r\n') when I need byte strings like '\a\r\n'.
> http://docs.python.org/ref/strings.html lists the escapes that need
> eval'ling, especially the comparatively heavy and Python-specific \N{}
> escape.

You can use string encoding and decoding to do what you want:
>>> a = r'hello\nthere'
>>> print a
>>> print a.decode('string_escape')

you can find other escape type encodings here:


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