Encode and decode MIME quoted-printable data using Python

PythonServer Side ProgrammingProgramming

Many times we need to deal with data which not always has the regular ASCII characters. For example, an email in a different language other than English. Python has mechanism to deal with such characters by using MIME (Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions) based module. In this article we will see how we can decode such characters in an email or otherwise in some straight inputs.

Using email package

The email package has modules namely mime and charset which can carry out the encoding and decoding work as shown in the below example. We have taken an email message containing Unicode characters and then encoded it to utf-8.


import email.mime, email.mime.nonmultipart, email.charset
msg=email.mime.nonmultipart.MIMENonMultipart('text', 'plain', charset='utf-8')

#Construct a new charset
cs.body_encoding = email.charset.QP

# Set the content using the new charset
msg.set_payload(u'This is the text containing ünicöde', charset=cs)

Running the above code gives us the following result −


Content-Type: text/plain; charset="utf-8"
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable

This is the text containing =C3=BCnic=C3=B6de

Using quopri

This python module performs quoted-printable transport encoding and decoding. The quoted-printable encoding is designed for data where there are relatively few nonprintable characters. In the below example we see how we can encode and decode string with non regular ASCII characters.


import quopri
str1 = 'äé'
#encoded = quopri.encodestring('äé'.encode('utf-8'))
encoded = quopri.encodestring(str1.encode('utf-8'))

str2 = '=C3=A4=C3=A9'
decoded_string = quopri.decodestring(str2)

Running the above code gives us the following result −


Updated on 28-Dec-2020 10:55:16