Given a base path and a list with extensions the task is to list all files:

Two of my solutions are:

from glob import glob
from os import path

EXTENSIONS = ['*.zip', '*.jar', '*.pdf']
DOC_PATH = '/path/to/files'

# Solution1:
files = []         
for ext in EXTENSIONS:
    files.extend(glob(path.join(DOC_PATH, ext)))
# works but looks very clumsy

# Solution2:
files = reduce(lambda x,y: x+y,
               [glob(path.join(DOC_PATH, ext)) for ext in EXTENSIONS])
# Also functional but looks like a misuse of reduce

Have you got any other ideas?

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Not quite sure how idiomatic/efficient it is : sum((glob(path.join(DOC_PATH, ext)) for ext in EXTENSIONS), []) . \$\endgroup\$
    – SylvainD
    Commented Jul 7, 2014 at 12:20

2 Answers 2


If you only need to iterate over them (once) and not an actual list, you could use itertools.chain and glob.iglob:

files = chain(*(iglob(path.join(DOC_PATH, ext)) for ext in EXTENSIONS))

If you do need an actual list, you can further call list(files), of course.

  • \$\begingroup\$ chain is quite a good idea \$\endgroup\$
    – ProfHase85
    Commented Jul 7, 2014 at 12:35

Using os.listdir and os.path.splitext:

import os
EXTENSIONS = 'zip jar pdf'.split()
EXTENSION_SET = set('.' + e for e in EXTENSIONS)
files = [f for f in os.listdir(DOC_PATH) if os.path.splitext(f)[1] in EXTENSION_SET]

Using os.listdir and re.search:

import os
import re
EXTENSIONS = 'zip jar pdf'.split()
EXTENSION_RE = re.compile(r'\.({})$'.format('|'.join(EXTENSIONS))
files = [f for f in os.listdir(DOC_PATH) if EXTENSION_RE.search(f)]
# or files = list(filter(EXTENSION_RE.search, os.listdir(DOC_PATH)))

The advantage of these approaches is that you only iterate over the files in the directory once (rather than once for each extension, as in the glob case).


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