Can't Remove White Spaces from CSV Headers with Pandas

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I'm trying to rename headers in a csv that have white spaces. Using these lines from the Pandas API reference is not working. The headers still have white spaces instead of underscores.

import pandas as pd

df = pd.read_csv("my.csv",low_memory=False)
df.columns = df.columns.str.strip().str.lower().str.replace(' ', '_')

Try using a list comprehension.

df.columns = [c.strip().lower().replace(' ', '_') for c in df.columns]

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Tried using rename?

df.rename(index=str, columns={"A space": "a", "B space ": "c"})

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I ditched Pandas and just used the CSV module in Python 2.7.

import csv
import re
import tempfile
import sys
import os
if sys.version_info >= (3, 3):
    from os import replace
elif sys.platform == "win32":
    from osreplace import replace
    from os import rename as replace

newHeaderList = []

with tempfile.NamedTemporaryFile(dir='.', delete=False) as tmp, \
    open('myFile.txt', 'rb') as f:
    r = csv.reader(f, delimiter = '\t')
    w = csv.writer(tmp, delimiter = '\t', quoting=csv.QUOTE_NONNUMERIC)
    header = next(r)
    for h in header:
        headerNoSpace = re.sub("\s+", "_", h.strip())
    for row in r:

os.rename(, new_text_filepath)

new_txt = csv.reader(open('newFile.txt', "rb"), delimiter = '\t')
out_csv = csv.writer(open('myFile.csv', 'wb'))

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  • See discussion below, this is a Python 2 related question.
  • Strange, because I tried this with one of my dataframes and it's working here. Maybe you can re-check your code and if it still doesn't work, provide the version number of pandas & python you are using. I'm testing with python 3.6 & pandas 0.23.4
  • So when I just print df.columns and don't try to replace anything, I get this list (I've shortened it). The first header already has an underscore in its name. Index([u'DWH_ID', u'ID', u'Actual Retirement', u'In Service', u'Gross Area (Imperial)', u'Gross Area', u'Area (Imperial)', u'Area (Metric)', u'Area', u'Area Units'])
  • It also says dtype='object' at the end of the index. Could that be why string replace isn't working?
  • No. From the 'u'prefix it seems you are using the outdated python2 instead of the current python3, so you may be using an outdated pandas as well. Please post your version numbers.
  • Yes, Python 2.7.13 from an ArcGIS install. Pandas version 0.23.4