how to remove 'FFFD' character

Carsten Haese carsten.haese at
Fri Jan 9 20:12:44 CET 2009

webcomm wrote:
> I don't know what the character encoding of this data is and don't
> know what the 'FFFD' represents.

The codepoint 0xFFFD is the so-called 'REPLACEMENT CHARACTER'. It is
used replace an incoming character whose value is unknown or
unrepresentable in Unicode. The browser might display these if for
example a page is encoded in latin-1 but it claims to be utf-8, so the
byte stream will contain byte sequences that can't be decoded into
unicode code points.

> I just
> want to scrub it out.  I tried this...
> clean = txt.encode('ascii','ignore')
> ...but the 'FFFD' still comes through.

You must be doing something wrong, then:

py> u'Hello,\ufffd World'.encode('ascii', 'ignore')
'Hello, World'


Carsten Haese

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