How to get rid of double backslash in python windows file path string? [duplicate]

I have a dictionary:

my_dictionary = {"058498":"table", "064165":"pen", "055123":"pencil"}

I iterate over it:

for item in my_dictionary:
    PDF = r'C:\Users\user\Desktop\File_%s.pdf' %item

def doIt(PDF):
    part = MIMEBase('application', "octet-stream")
    part.set_payload( open(PDF,"rb").read() )

But I get this error:

IOError: [Errno 2] No such file or directory: 'C:\\Users\\user\\Desktop\\File_055123.pdf'

It can't find my file. Why does it think there are double backslashes in file path?


The double backslash is not wrong, python represents it way that to the user. In each double backslash \\, the first one escapes the second to imply an actual backslash. If a = r'raw s\tring' and b = 'raw s\\tring' (no 'r' and explicit double slash) then they are both represented as 'raw s\\tring'.

>>> a = r'raw s\tring'
>>> b = 'raw s\\tring'
>>> a
'raw s\\tring'
>>> b
'raw s\\tring'

For clarification, when you print the string, you'd see it as it would get used, like in a path - with just one backslash:

>>> print(a)
raw s\tring
>>> print(b)
raw s\tring

And in this printed string case, the \t doesn't imply a tab, it's a backslash \ followed by the letter 't'.

Otherwise, a string with no 'r' prefix and a single backslash would escape the character after it, making it evaluate the 't' following it == tab:

>>> t = 'not raw s\tring'  # here '\t' = tab
>>> t
'not raw s\tring'
>>> print(t)  # will print a tab (and no letter 't' in 's\tring')
not raw s       ring

So in the PDF path+name:

>>> item = 'xyz'
>>> PDF = r'C:\Users\user\Desktop\File_%s.pdf' % item
>>> PDF         # the representation of the string, also in error messages
>>> print(PDF)  # "as used"

More info about escape sequences in the table here. Also see __str__ vs __repr__.