I have text files 100MB+ in size and they have a lot of special chars. I can't import them into my DBMS because PostgreSql doesn't recognize these chars. How can I remove them? Which software does this?

I am currently using EmEditor but I have to find special chars manually and replace all. There's tons of them. Over 10k. I'm on Windows.

  • Do you have access to a Linux machine? It would be a single command line on Linux, if you can boot it for example with a Live CD Commented Jun 13, 2017 at 17:35

2 Answers 2


A very simple python script, or even from a terminal/command line interactive session, could read from an input file and write to an output file while changing the encoding to ASCII - you would have a choice of what to do about the nonconforming characters of:

  • ignore skip none ascii characters
  • replace with ?
  • xmlcharrefreplace output in a format like ꀀ
  • backslashreplace output in a format like \\ua000
  • namereplace output in a format like \\N{YI SYLLABLE IT} where names are available.

The code, in Python 3 would be something like, untested:

with open('somefilename') as infile: # You may need to add 'rb' to the open command
   with open('outname', 'wt') as outfile:  # You may need to use 'wb' here
      outfile.write(infile.read().encode('ascii', 'backslashreplace'))

The above code will read the input file transcode it and write it out - you could also, for large file specify a maximum buffer size in the read method.

See https://docs.python.org/3/howto/unicode.html for more details.

Python is free, gratis & open source, and available for just about every platform, it is pre-installed on most non-Windows platforms.


Install CudaText editor.

  • Call menuitem "Plugins - Make Plugin"
  • Enter plugin name "MyRemove", and enter new plugin text, below.
  • Save, restart CudaText, new plugin appears "Plugins - MyRemove".
  • Open your file with non-ASCII
  • Run plugin
  • Save file as...

Plugin text:

from cudatext import *

class Command:
    def run(self):
        for i in range(32):
            if not i in [10,13,9]:
                s=s.replace(chr(i), '')

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