11.7. glob — Unix style pathname pattern expansion

Source code: Lib/glob.py

The glob module finds all the pathnames matching a specified pattern according to the rules used by the Unix shell, although results are returned in arbitrary order. No tilde expansion is done, but *, ?, and character ranges expressed with [] will be correctly matched. This is done by using the os.listdir() and fnmatch.fnmatch() functions in concert, and not by actually invoking a subshell. Note that unlike fnmatch.fnmatch(), glob treats filenames beginning with a dot (.) as special cases. (For tilde and shell variable expansion, use os.path.expanduser() and os.path.expandvars().)

For a literal match, wrap the meta-characters in brackets. For example, '[?]' matches the character '?'.

See also

The pathlib module offers high-level path objects.

glob.glob(pathname, *, recursive=False)

Return a possibly-empty list of path names that match pathname, which must be a string containing a path specification. pathname can be either absolute (like /usr/src/Python-1.5/Makefile) or relative (like ../../Tools/*/*.gif), and can contain shell-style wildcards. Broken symlinks are included in the results (as in the shell).

If recursive is true, the pattern “**” will match any files and zero or more directories and subdirectories. If the pattern is followed by an os.sep, only directories and subdirectories match.


Using the “**” pattern in large directory trees may consume an inordinate amount of time.

Changed in version 3.5: Support for recursive globs using “**”.

glob.iglob(pathname, recursive=False)

Return an iterator which yields the same values as glob() without actually storing them all simultaneously.


Escape all special characters ('?', '*' and '['). This is useful if you want to match an arbitrary literal string that may have special characters in it. Special characters in drive/UNC sharepoints are not escaped, e.g. on Windows escape('//?/c:/Quo vadis?.txt') returns '//?/c:/Quo vadis[?].txt'.

New in version 3.4.

For example, consider a directory containing the following files: 1.gif, 2.txt, card.gif and a subdirectory sub which contains only the file 3.txt. glob() will produce the following results. Notice how any leading components of the path are preserved.

>>> import glob
>>> glob.glob('./[0-9].*')
['./1.gif', './2.txt']
>>> glob.glob('*.gif')
['1.gif', 'card.gif']
>>> glob.glob('?.gif')
>>> glob.glob('**/*.txt', recursive=True)
['2.txt', 'sub/3.txt']
>>> glob.glob('./**/', recursive=True)
['./', './sub/']

If the directory contains files starting with . they won’t be matched by default. For example, consider a directory containing card.gif and .card.gif:

>>> import glob
>>> glob.glob('*.gif')
>>> glob.glob('.c*')

See also

Module fnmatch
Shell-style filename (not path) expansion

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