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Reference Information: Regular Expression Syntax

Regular expressions can be used in the Filters workshop and the Search pane, as well as for the DisableMatchingProperties advanced setting. This topic lists the regular expression syntax and abbreviations.

Regular Expression Syntax

This table lists the meta-characters that you can use as regular expressions.

Metacharacter Meaning
. Matches any single character.
[ ] Indicates a character class. Matches any character inside the brackets (for example, [abc] matches "a", "b", and "c").
^ If this meta-character occurs at the start of a character class, it negates the character class. A negated character class matches any character except those inside the brackets (for example, [^abc] matches all characters except "a", "b", and "c").

If ^ is at the beginning of the regular expression, it matches the beginning of the input (for example,^[abc] will only match input that begins with "a", "b", or "c").

- In a character class, indicates a range of characters (for example, [0-9] matches any of the digits "0" through "9").
? Indicates that the preceding expression is optional: it matches once or not at all (for example, [0-9][0-9]? matches "2" and "12").
+ Indicates that the preceding expression matches one or more times (for example, [0-9]+ matches "1", "13", "456", and so on).
* Indicates that the preceding expression matches zero or more times.
??, +?, *? Non-greedy versions of ?, +, and *. These match as little as possible, unlike the greedy versions that match as much as possible (for example, given the input "<abc><def>", <.*?> matches "<abc>" while <.*> matches "<abc><def>").
( ) Grouping operator. Example: (\d+,)*\d+ matches a list of numbers separated by commas (for example, "1" or "1,23,456").
{ } Indicates a match group.

Escape character: interpret the next character literally (for example, [0-9]+ matches one or more digits, but [0-9]\+ matches a digit followed by a plus character). Also used for abbreviations (such as \a for any alphanumeric character; see the following table).

If \ is followed by a number n, it matches the nth match group (starting from 0). Example: <{.*?}>.*</\0> matches "<head>Contents</head>".

$ At the end of a regular expression, this character matches the end of the input (for example,[0-9]$ matches a digit at the end of the input).
| Alternation operator: separates two expressions, exactly one of which matches (for example, T|the matches "The" or "the").
! Negation operator: the expression following ! does not match the input (for example, a!b matches "a" not followed by "b").


This table lists supported abbreviations, such as \d instead of [0-9].

Abbreviation Matches
\a Any alphanumeric character: ([a-zA-Z0-9])
\b White space (blank): ([ \\t])
\c Any alphabetic character: ([a-zA-Z])
\d Any decimal digit: ([0-9])
\h Any hexadecimal digit: ([0-9a-fA-F])
\n Newline: (\r|(\r?\n))
\q A quoted string: (\"[^\"]*\")|(\'[^\']*\')
\w A simple word: ([a-zA-Z]+)
\z An integer: ([0-9]+)

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