Extracting the Filename from a File Path in Python

Filename extraction is a fundamental task in Python programming and scripting. Mastering techniques to extract the filename from a full file path enables more robust scripting and automation in Python.

Key Benefits of Filename Extraction in Python

Being able to cleanly extract just the filename from a file path provides important benefits:

  • Simplifies file processing and manipulation in scripts
  • Allows focusing on the filename without the full path
  • Enables generic handling of files by name
  • Central to many file processing workflows and automation tasks

Python provides several simple and robust ways to extract the filename that cater to different scripting needs.

Core Techniques and Examples for Filename Extraction

The key techniques and examples for extracting the filename in Python include:

1. Use the os.path.basename() Function

The os.path module contains basename() for extracting the final filename:

import os

path = '/path/to/file.txt'


# Prints "file.txt"

This technique is simple and universal for scripts on any platform.

2. Employ os.path.splitext() for Name Without Extension

When the extension isn’t needed, use os.path.splitext():

path = '/path/to/file.txt'

name = os.path.splitext(path)[0]


# Prints "file"

The filename is returned without the .txt extension in this example.

3. Use Pathlib for Object-Oriented Access

The Pathlib module provides object-oriented path manipulation:

from pathlib import Path

path = '/path/to/file.txt'


# Prints "file"

The stem attribute returns the name without extension.

4. Extract with Regular Expressions

Regular expressions can also extract the filename via patterns:

import re

path = '/path/to/file.txt'

print(re.search(r'[^/\\]+$', path).group())

# Prints "file.txt"

The regex looks for the ending filename pattern.

5. Use rsplit() on the String

Built-in string methods like rsplit() work too:

path = '/path/to/file.txt' 

print(path.rsplit('/', 1)[-1])

# Prints "file.txt"

The string is split on ‘/’ to return the filename.

Key Takeaways

  • Filename extraction is critical for Python scripting and automation.
  • Main approaches use OS, Pathlib, regex, and string methods.
  • os.path.basename()os.path.splitext()Path.stem, regex, and rsplit() are key techniques.
  • Mastering filename extraction enables more powerful Python scripting.


  • Q: Can I extract the file extension along with the name?

A: Yes, the methods described above will provide the entire file name, including the extension.

  • Q: Which method is recommended for modern Python versions?

A: The pathlib method is recommended for Python 3.4 and above due to its more intuitive object-oriented approach.

  • Q: Are these methods platform-independent?

A: Yes, both os.path and pathlib methods work consistently across different operating systems.

  • Q: Can I extract the file extension separately?

A: Yes, you can use the os.path.splitext() function to achieve this.

Leave a Comment