How to Extract All Regex Matches from a File With Python

  • NOTE: this is not about extracting matches from capture groups.


  1. import re module
  2. initialize a variable bound to a regex compile object with p = re.compile(<pattern>)
  3. open the file with with open(...) as <alias>: statement
  4. assign the content of the file with f = <alias>.read()
  5. assign the list of matches with m = re.findall(f, p)
  • re.findall() will return a list of matching tuples, not a list of matching strings


import re

def extract_images(filename):
p = re.compile("../assets/(.*?jpg|.*?png)")
with open(filename, mode="rt", encoding="utf-8") as docFile:
doc =
images = re.findall(p, doc)
return ["./assets/" + img for img in images]
# later used in e.g. [os.remove(img) for img in extract_images(filename)]
# above deletes all images located in ./assets/<filename>.jpg|png
  • I have a file containing
| ![example_description](../assets/81.03_2.png) | ![example_description](../assets/81.03_3.png) | ![example_description](../assets/81.03_4.png) | ![example_description](../assets/81.03_5.png) |
  • Running the function returns
['./assets/81.03_2.png', './assets/81.03_3.png', './assets/81.03_4.png', './assets/81.03_5.png', './assets/81.03_1.png']
  • These are paths and I can e.g. commit and push those files if they are part of an automated git workflow



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Pavol Kutaj

Pavol Kutaj


Infrastructure Support Engineer/Technical Writer ( with a passion for Python/writing documentation. More about me: