Q: How to use regex in Java?

+9 votes
  • What is regex and how can I use it in Java (and IntelliJ Idea)?
  • Are there site which explains regex's use?
  • Can you please share?

Thanks, Hue

asked in Java category by user hues
edited by user golearnweb

3 Answers

+5 votes

You can use regex in Java with the following Classes: Pattern and Matcher;

Here's an example:

    public static void main(String[] args) {
        Scanner scanner = new Scanner(;

        String line = scanner.nextLine();//GETTING THE INPUT LINE

        Pattern pattern = Pattern.compile("\\|(.*?)\\|");
        Matcher matcher = pattern.matcher(line);

        while (matcher.find()) {
                    \\SOME LOGIC GOES HERE....
answered by user john7
+4 votes

To generate the regix - you can use these 2 sites:


Both sites explain a lot abou the regix and you can easily generate some by comparing the regex and the input text :-)

answered by user richard8502
For the escaping in regex in Java you might want to use this online tool: although, IntelliJ IDEA escapes what is needed by itself :-) That is what I call a SMART IDE :-)
+3 votes

Particularly for Java, I use this link (Oracle's documentation):

Everything is explained nicely there!

You can also use the table below to better understand regex:

Summary of regular-expression constructs:

Construct: Matches:
x The character x
\\ The backslash character
\0n The character with octal value 0n (0 <= n <= 7)
\0nn The character with octal value 0nn (0 <= n <= 7)
\0mnn The character with octal value 0mnn (0 <= m <= 3, 0 <= n <= 7)
\xhh The character with hexadecimal value 0xhh
\uhhhh The character with hexadecimal value 0xhhhh
\x{h...h} The character with hexadecimal value 0xh...h (Character.MIN_CODE_POINT  <= 0xh...h <=  Character.MAX_CODE_POINT)
\t The tab character ('\u0009')
\n The newline (line feed) character ('\u000A')
\r The carriage-return character ('\u000D')
\f The form-feed character ('\u000C')
\a The alert (bell) character ('\u0007')
\e The escape character ('\u001B')
\cx The control character corresponding to x
Character classes
[abc] a, b, or c (simple class)
[^abc] Any character except a, b, or c (negation)
[a-zA-Z] a through z or A through Z, inclusive (range)
[a-d[m-p]] a through d, or m through p: [a-dm-p] (union)
[a-z&&[def]] d, e, or f (intersection)
[a-z&&[^bc]] a through z, except for b and c: [ad-z] (subtraction)
[a-z&&[^m-p]] a through z, and not m through p: [a-lq-z](subtraction)
Predefined character classes
. Any character (may or may not match line terminators)
\d A digit: [0-9]
\D A non-digit: [^0-9]
\h A horizontal whitespace character: [ \t\xA0\u1680\u180e\u2000-\u200a\u202f\u205f\u3000]
\H A non-horizontal whitespace character: [^\h]
\s A whitespace character: [ \t\n\x0B\f\r]
\S A non-whitespace character: [^\s]
\v A vertical whitespace character: [\n\x0B\f\r\x85\u2028\u2029]
\V A non-vertical whitespace character: [^\v]
\w A word character: [a-zA-Z_0-9]
\W A non-word character: [^\w]
POSIX character classes (US-ASCII only)
\p{Lower} A lower-case alphabetic character: [a-z]
\p{Upper} An upper-case alphabetic character:[A-Z]
\p{ASCII} All ASCII:[\x00-\x7F]
\p{Alpha} An alphabetic character:[\p{Lower}\p{Upper}]
\p{Digit} A decimal digit: [0-9]
\p{Alnum} An alphanumeric character:[\p{Alpha}\p{Digit}]
\p{Punct} Punctuation: One of !"#$%&'()*+,-./:;<=>?@[\]^_`{|}~
\p{Graph} A visible character: [\p{Alnum}\p{Punct}]
\p{Print} A printable character: [\p{Graph}\x20]
\p{Blank} A space or a tab: [ \t]
\p{Cntrl} A control character: [\x00-\x1F\x7F]
\p{XDigit} A hexadecimal digit: [0-9a-fA-F]
\p{Space} A whitespace character: [ \t\n\x0B\f\r]
java.lang.Character classes (simple java character type)
\p{javaLowerCase} Equivalent to java.lang.Character.isLowerCase()
\p{javaUpperCase} Equivalent to java.lang.Character.isUpperCase()
\p{javaWhitespace} Equivalent to java.lang.Character.isWhitespace()
\p{javaMirrored} Equivalent to java.lang.Character.isMirrored()
Classes for Unicode scripts, blocks, categories and binary properties
\p{IsLatin} A Latin script character (script)
\p{InGreek} A character in the Greek block (block)
\p{Lu} An uppercase letter (category)
\p{IsAlphabetic} An alphabetic character (binary property)
\p{Sc} A currency symbol
\P{InGreek} Any character except one in the Greek block (negation)
[\p{L}&&[^\p{Lu}]] Any letter except an uppercase letter (subtraction)
Boundary matchers
^ The beginning of a line
$ The end of a line
\b A word boundary
\B A non-word boundary
\A The beginning of the input
\G The end of the previous match
\Z The end of the input but for the final terminator, if any
\z The end of the input
Linebreak matcher
\R Any Unicode linebreak sequence, is equivalent to \u000D\u000A|[\u000A\u000B\u000C\u000D\u0085\u2028\u2029]
Greedy quantifiers
X? X, once or not at all
X* X, zero or more times
X+ X, one or more times
X{n} X, exactly n times
X{n,} X, at least n times
X{n,m} X, at least n but not more than m times
Reluctant quantifiers
X?? X, once or not at all
X*? X, zero or more times
X+? X, one or more times
X{n}? X, exactly n times
X{n,}? X, at least n times
X{n,m}? X, at least n but not more than m times
Possessive quantifiers
X?+ X, once or not at all
X*+ X, zero or more times
X++ X, one or more times
X{n}+ X, exactly n times
X{n,}+ X, at least n times
X{n,m}+ X, at least n but not more than m times
Logical operators
XY X followed by Y
X|Y Either X or Y
(X) X, as a capturing group
Back references
\n Whatever the nth capturing group matched
\k<name> Whatever the named-capturing group "name" matched
\ Nothing, but quotes the following character
\Q Nothing, but quotes all characters until \E
\E Nothing, but ends quoting started by \Q
Special constructs (named-capturing and non-capturing)
(?<name>X) X, as a named-capturing group
(?:X) X, as a non-capturing group
(?idmsuxU-idmsuxU)  Nothing, but turns match flags i d m s u x U on - off
(?idmsux-idmsux:X)   X, as a non-capturing group with the given flags i d m s u x on - off
(?=X) X, via zero-width positive lookahead
(?!X) X, via zero-width negative lookahead
(?<=X) X, via zero-width positive lookbehind
(?<!X) X, via zero-width negative lookbehind
(?>X) X, as an independent, non-capturing group

The precedence of character-class operators is as follows, from highest to lowest:

1     Literal escape     \x
2     Grouping [...]
3     Range a-z
4     Union [a-e][i-u]
5     Intersection [a-z&&[aeiou]]


answered by user sam
edited by user sam