change string to unicode

Steven D'Aprano steve at
Fri Dec 19 10:35:53 EST 2008

On Fri, 19 Dec 2008 09:19:28 -0600, jyoung79 wrote:

> If I have a string like so:
> a = '\\u03B1'
> and I want to make it display a Greek alpha character, is there a way to
> convert it to unicode ('\u03B1')?  I tried concatenating it like this:
> '\u' + '03B1'
> but that didn't work.  I'm working in Python 3.0 and was curious if this
> could be done.

This is from Python 2.5:

>>> print unichr(0x03B1)

I don't have Python 3 here, but I guess that you would just use chr() 
instead of unichr().

If you literally have to start with the actual string '\\u03B1' (that is, 
backslash lowercase-U zero three uppercase-B one), then I'd do this:

>>> s = '\\u03B1'
>>> if s.startswith('\\u'):
...     s = s[2:]
>>> print unichr(int(s, 16))


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