c# special - How to remove illegal characters from path and filenames?




validate vb.net (21)

I use Linq to clean up filenames. You can easily extend this to check for valid paths as well.

private static string CleanFileName(string fileName)
{
    return Path.GetInvalidFileNameChars().Aggregate(fileName, (current, c) => current.Replace(c.ToString(), string.Empty));
}

Update

Some comments indicate this method is not working for them so I've included a link to a DotNetFiddle snippet so you may validate the method.

https://dotnetfiddle.net/nw1SWY

I need a robust and simple way to remove illegal path and file characters from a simple string. I've used the below code but it doesn't seem to do anything, what am I missing?

using System;
using System.IO;

namespace ConsoleApplication1
{
    class Program
    {
        static void Main(string[] args)
        {
            string illegal = "\"M<>\"\\a/ry/ h**ad:>> a\\/:*?\"<>| li*tt|le|| la\"mb.?";

            illegal = illegal.Trim(Path.GetInvalidFileNameChars());
            illegal = illegal.Trim(Path.GetInvalidPathChars());

            Console.WriteLine(illegal);
            Console.ReadLine();
        }
    }
}

I use regular expressions to achieve this. First, I dynamically build the regex.

string regex = string.Format(
                   "[{0}]",
                   Regex.Escape(new string(Path.GetInvalidFileNameChars())));
Regex removeInvalidChars = new Regex(regex, RegexOptions.Singleline | RegexOptions.Compiled | RegexOptions.CultureInvariant);

Then I just call removeInvalidChars.Replace to do the find and replace. This can obviously be extended to cover path chars as well.


This seems to be O(n) and does not spend too much memory on strings:

    private static readonly HashSet<char> invalidFileNameChars = new HashSet<char>(Path.GetInvalidFileNameChars());

    public static string RemoveInvalidFileNameChars(string name)
    {
        if (!name.Any(c => invalidFileNameChars.Contains(c))) {
            return name;
        }

        return new string(name.Where(c => !invalidFileNameChars.Contains(c)).ToArray());
    }

public string GetSafeFilename(string filename)
{

    return string.Join("_", filename.Split(Path.GetInvalidFileNameChars()));

}

This answer was on another thread by Ceres, I really like it neat and simple.


The best way to remove illegal character from user input is to replace illegal character using Regex class, create method in code behind or also it validate at client side using RegularExpression control.

public string RemoveSpecialCharacters(string str)
{
    return Regex.Replace(str, "[^a-zA-Z0-9_]+", "_", RegexOptions.Compiled);
}

OR

<asp:RegularExpressionValidator ID="regxFolderName" 
                                runat="server" 
                                ErrorMessage="Enter folder name with  a-z A-Z0-9_" 
                                ControlToValidate="txtFolderName" 
                                Display="Dynamic" 
                                ValidationExpression="^[a-zA-Z0-9_]*$" 
                                ForeColor="Red">

Here's a code snippet that should help for .NET 3 and higher.

using System.IO;
using System.Text.RegularExpressions;

public static class PathValidation
{
    private static string pathValidatorExpression = "^[^" + string.Join("", Array.ConvertAll(Path.GetInvalidPathChars(), x => Regex.Escape(x.ToString()))) + "]+$";
    private static Regex pathValidator = new Regex(pathValidatorExpression, RegexOptions.Compiled);

    private static string fileNameValidatorExpression = "^[^" + string.Join("", Array.ConvertAll(Path.GetInvalidFileNameChars(), x => Regex.Escape(x.ToString()))) + "]+$";
    private static Regex fileNameValidator = new Regex(fileNameValidatorExpression, RegexOptions.Compiled);

    private static string pathCleanerExpression = "[" + string.Join("", Array.ConvertAll(Path.GetInvalidPathChars(), x => Regex.Escape(x.ToString()))) + "]";
    private static Regex pathCleaner = new Regex(pathCleanerExpression, RegexOptions.Compiled);

    private static string fileNameCleanerExpression = "[" + string.Join("", Array.ConvertAll(Path.GetInvalidFileNameChars(), x => Regex.Escape(x.ToString()))) + "]";
    private static Regex fileNameCleaner = new Regex(fileNameCleanerExpression, RegexOptions.Compiled);

    public static bool ValidatePath(string path)
    {
        return pathValidator.IsMatch(path);
    }

    public static bool ValidateFileName(string fileName)
    {
        return fileNameValidator.IsMatch(fileName);
    }

    public static string CleanPath(string path)
    {
        return pathCleaner.Replace(path, "");
    }

    public static string CleanFileName(string fileName)
    {
        return fileNameCleaner.Replace(fileName, "");
    }
}

If you remove or replace with a single character the invalid characters, you can have collisions:

<abc -> abc
>abc -> abc

Here is a simple method to avoid this:

public static string ReplaceInvalidFileNameChars(string s)
{
    char[] invalidFileNameChars = System.IO.Path.GetInvalidFileNameChars();
    foreach (char c in invalidFileNameChars)
        s = s.Replace(c.ToString(), "[" + Array.IndexOf(invalidFileNameChars, c) + "]");
    return s;
}

The result:

 <abc -> [1]abc
 >abc -> [2]abc

These are all great solutions, but they all rely on Path.GetInvalidFileNameChars, which may not be as reliable as you'd think. Notice the following remark in the MSDN documentation on Path.GetInvalidFileNameChars:

The array returned from this method is not guaranteed to contain the complete set of characters that are invalid in file and directory names. The full set of invalid characters can vary by file system. For example, on Windows-based desktop platforms, invalid path characters might include ASCII/Unicode characters 1 through 31, as well as quote ("), less than (<), greater than (>), pipe (|), backspace (\b), null (\0) and tab (\t).

It's not any better with Path.GetInvalidPathChars method. It contains the exact same remark.


You can remove illegal chars using Linq like this:

var invalidChars = Path.GetInvalidFileNameChars();

var invalidCharsRemoved = stringWithInvalidChars
.Where(x => !invalidChars.Contains(x))
.ToArray();

EDIT
This is how it looks with the required edit mentioned in the comments:

var invalidChars = Path.GetInvalidFileNameChars();

string invalidCharsRemoved = new string(stringWithInvalidChars
  .Where(x => !invalidChars.Contains(x))
  .ToArray());

For file names:

string cleanFileName = String.Join("", fileName.Split(Path.GetInvalidFileNameChars()));

For full paths:

string cleanPath = String.Join("", path.Split(Path.GetInvalidPathChars()));

Try something like this instead;

string illegal = "\"M\"\\a/ry/ h**ad:>> a\\/:*?\"| li*tt|le|| la\"mb.?";
string invalid = new string(Path.GetInvalidFileNameChars()) + new string(Path.GetInvalidPathChars());

foreach (char c in invalid)
{
    illegal = illegal.Replace(c.ToString(), ""); 
}

But I have to agree with the comments, I'd probably try to deal with the source of the illegal paths, rather than try to mangle an illegal path into a legitimate but probably unintended one.

Edit: Or a potentially 'better' solution, using Regex's.

string illegal = "\"M\"\\a/ry/ h**ad:>> a\\/:*?\"| li*tt|le|| la\"mb.?";
string regexSearch = new string(Path.GetInvalidFileNameChars()) + new string(Path.GetInvalidPathChars());
Regex r = new Regex(string.Format("[{0}]", Regex.Escape(regexSearch)));
illegal = r.Replace(illegal, "");

Still, the question begs to be asked, why you're doing this in the first place.


Or you can just do

[YOUR STRING].Replace('\\', ' ').Replace('/', ' ').Replace('"', ' ').Replace('*', ' ').Replace(':', ' ').Replace('?', ' ').Replace('<', ' ').Replace('>', ' ').Replace('|', ' ').Trim();

I wrote this monster for fun, it lets you roundtrip:

public static class FileUtility
{
    private const char PrefixChar = '%';
    private static readonly int MaxLength;
    private static readonly Dictionary<char,char[]> Illegals;
    static FileUtility()
    {
        List<char> illegal = new List<char> { PrefixChar };
        illegal.AddRange(Path.GetInvalidFileNameChars());
        MaxLength = illegal.Select(x => ((int)x).ToString().Length).Max();
        Illegals = illegal.ToDictionary(x => x, x => ((int)x).ToString("D" + MaxLength).ToCharArray());
    }

    public static string FilenameEncode(string s)
    {
        var builder = new StringBuilder();
        char[] replacement;
        using (var reader = new StringReader(s))
        {
            while (true)
            {
                int read = reader.Read();
                if (read == -1)
                    break;
                char c = (char)read;
                if(Illegals.TryGetValue(c,out replacement))
                {
                    builder.Append(PrefixChar);
                    builder.Append(replacement);
                }
                else
                {
                    builder.Append(c);
                }
            }
        }
        return builder.ToString();
    }

    public static string FilenameDecode(string s)
    {
        var builder = new StringBuilder();
        char[] buffer = new char[MaxLength];
        using (var reader = new StringReader(s))
        {
            while (true)
            {
                int read = reader.Read();
                if (read == -1)
                    break;
                char c = (char)read;
                if (c == PrefixChar)
                {
                    reader.Read(buffer, 0, MaxLength);
                    var encoded =(char) ParseCharArray(buffer);
                    builder.Append(encoded);
                }
                else
                {
                    builder.Append(c);
                }
            }
        }
        return builder.ToString();
    }

    public static int ParseCharArray(char[] buffer)
    {
        int result = 0;
        foreach (char t in buffer)
        {
            int digit = t - '0';
            if ((digit < 0) || (digit > 9))
            {
                throw new ArgumentException("Input string was not in the correct format");
            }
            result *= 10;
            result += digit;
        }
        return result;
    }
}

For starters, Trim only removes characters from the beginning or end of the string. Secondly, you should evaluate if you really want to remove the offensive characters, or fail fast and let the user know their filename is invalid. My choice is the latter, but my answer should at least show you how to do things the right AND wrong way:

question showing how to check if a given string is a valid file name. Note you can use the regex from this question to remove characters with a regular expression replacement (if you really need to do this).


File name can not contain characters from Path.GetInvalidPathChars(), + and # symbols, and other specific names. We combined all checks into one class:

public static class FileNameExtensions
{
    private static readonly Lazy<string[]> InvalidFileNameChars =
        new Lazy<string[]>(() => Path.GetInvalidPathChars()
            .Union(Path.GetInvalidFileNameChars()
            .Union(new[] { '+', '#' })).Select(c => c.ToString(CultureInfo.InvariantCulture)).ToArray());


    private static readonly HashSet<string> ProhibitedNames = new HashSet<string>
    {
        @"aux",
        @"con",
        @"clock$",
        @"nul",
        @"prn",

        @"com1",
        @"com2",
        @"com3",
        @"com4",
        @"com5",
        @"com6",
        @"com7",
        @"com8",
        @"com9",

        @"lpt1",
        @"lpt2",
        @"lpt3",
        @"lpt4",
        @"lpt5",
        @"lpt6",
        @"lpt7",
        @"lpt8",
        @"lpt9"
    };

    public static bool IsValidFileName(string fileName)
    {
        return !string.IsNullOrWhiteSpace(fileName)
            && fileName.All(o => !IsInvalidFileNameChar(o))
            && !IsProhibitedName(fileName);
    }

    public static bool IsProhibitedName(string fileName)
    {
        return ProhibitedNames.Contains(fileName.ToLower(CultureInfo.InvariantCulture));
    }

    private static string ReplaceInvalidFileNameSymbols([CanBeNull] this string value, string replacementValue)
    {
        if (value == null)
        {
            return null;
        }

        return InvalidFileNameChars.Value.Aggregate(new StringBuilder(value),
            (sb, currentChar) => sb.Replace(currentChar, replacementValue)).ToString();
    }

    public static bool IsInvalidFileNameChar(char value)
    {
        return InvalidFileNameChars.Value.Contains(value.ToString(CultureInfo.InvariantCulture));
    }

    public static string GetValidFileName([NotNull] this string value)
    {
        return GetValidFileName(value, @"_");
    }

    public static string GetValidFileName([NotNull] this string value, string replacementValue)
    {
        if (string.IsNullOrWhiteSpace(value))
        {
            throw new ArgumentException(@"value should be non empty", nameof(value));
        }

        if (IsProhibitedName(value))
        {
            return (string.IsNullOrWhiteSpace(replacementValue) ? @"_" : replacementValue) + value; 
        }

        return ReplaceInvalidFileNameSymbols(value, replacementValue);
    }

    public static string GetFileNameError(string fileName)
    {
        if (string.IsNullOrWhiteSpace(fileName))
        {
            return CommonResources.SelectReportNameError;
        }

        if (IsProhibitedName(fileName))
        {
            return CommonResources.FileNameIsProhibited;
        }

        var invalidChars = fileName.Where(IsInvalidFileNameChar).Distinct().ToArray();

        if(invalidChars.Length > 0)
        {
            return string.Format(CultureInfo.CurrentCulture,
                invalidChars.Length == 1 ? CommonResources.InvalidCharacter : CommonResources.InvalidCharacters,
                StringExtensions.JoinQuoted(@",", @"'", invalidChars.Select(c => c.ToString(CultureInfo.CurrentCulture))));
        }

        return string.Empty;
    }
}

Method GetValidFileName replaces all incorrect data to _.


I absolutely prefer the idea of Jeff Yates. It will work perfectly, if you slightly modify it:

string regex = String.Format("[{0}]", Regex.Escape(new string(Path.GetInvalidFileNameChars())));
Regex removeInvalidChars = new Regex(regex, RegexOptions.Singleline | RegexOptions.Compiled | RegexOptions.CultureInvariant);

The improvement is just to escape the automaticially generated regex.


Throw an exception.

if ( fileName.IndexOfAny(Path.GetInvalidFileNameChars()) > -1 )
            {
                throw new ArgumentException();
            }

public static bool IsValidFilename(string testName)
{
    return !new Regex("[" + Regex.Escape(new String(System.IO.Path.GetInvalidFileNameChars())) + "]").IsMatch(testName);
}

I think the question already not full answered... The answers only describe clean filename OR path... not both. Here is my solution:

private static string CleanPath(string path)
{
    string regexSearch = new string(Path.GetInvalidFileNameChars()) + new string(Path.GetInvalidPathChars());
    Regex r = new Regex(string.Format("[{0}]", Regex.Escape(regexSearch)));
    List<string> split = path.Split('\\').ToList();
    string returnValue = split.Aggregate(string.Empty, (current, s) => current + (r.Replace(s, "") + @"\"));
    returnValue = returnValue.TrimEnd('\\');
    return returnValue;
}

I created an extension method that combines several suggestions:

  1. Holding illegal characters in a hash set
  2. Filtering out characters below ascii 127. Since Path.GetInvalidFileNameChars does not include all invalid characters possible with ascii codes from 0 to 255. See here and MSDN
  3. Possiblity to define the replacement character

Source:

public static class FileNameCorrector
{
    private static HashSet<char> invalid = new HashSet<char>(Path.GetInvalidFileNameChars());

    public static string ToValidFileName(this string name, char replacement = '\0')
    {
        var builder = new StringBuilder();
        foreach (var cur in name)
        {
            if (cur > 31 && cur < 128 && !invalid.Contains(cur))
            {
                builder.Append(cur);
            }
            else if (replacement != '\0')
            {
                builder.Append(replacement);
            }
        }

        return builder.ToString();
    }
}

if (str.endsWith("x")) {
  return str.substring(0, str.length() - 1);
}
return str;

For example, the word is "admirer"; after I run the method, I get "admie." I want it to return the word admire.

In case you're trying to stem English words

Stemming is the process for reducing inflected (or sometimes derived) words to their stem, base or root form—generally a written word form.

...

A stemmer for English, for example, should identify the string "cats" (and possibly "catlike", "catty" etc.) as based on the root "cat", and "stemmer", "stemming", "stemmed" as based on "stem". A stemming algorithm reduces the words "fishing", "fished", "fish", and "fisher" to the root word, "fish".

Difference between Lucene stemmers: EnglishStemmer, PorterStemmer, LovinsStemmer outlines some Java options.





c# string path directory