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<html>
<head>
<title>pcresyntax specification</title>
</head>
<body bgcolor="#FFFFFF" text="#00005A" link="#0066FF" alink="#3399FF" vlink="#2222BB">
<h1>pcresyntax man page</h1>
<p>
Return to the <a href="index.html">PCRE index page</a>.
</p>
<p>
This page is part of the PCRE HTML documentation. It was generated automatically
from the original man page. If there is any nonsense in it, please consult the
man page, in case the conversion went wrong.
<br>
<ul>
<li><a name="TOC1" href="#SEC1">PCRE REGULAR EXPRESSION SYNTAX SUMMARY</a>
<li><a name="TOC2" href="#SEC2">QUOTING</a>
<li><a name="TOC3" href="#SEC3">CHARACTERS</a>
<li><a name="TOC4" href="#SEC4">CHARACTER TYPES</a>
<li><a name="TOC5" href="#SEC5">GENERAL CATEGORY PROPERTIES FOR \p and \P</a>
<li><a name="TOC6" href="#SEC6">PCRE SPECIAL CATEGORY PROPERTIES FOR \p and \P</a>
<li><a name="TOC7" href="#SEC7">SCRIPT NAMES FOR \p AND \P</a>
<li><a name="TOC8" href="#SEC8">CHARACTER CLASSES</a>
<li><a name="TOC9" href="#SEC9">QUANTIFIERS</a>
<li><a name="TOC10" href="#SEC10">ANCHORS AND SIMPLE ASSERTIONS</a>
<li><a name="TOC11" href="#SEC11">MATCH POINT RESET</a>
<li><a name="TOC12" href="#SEC12">ALTERNATION</a>
<li><a name="TOC13" href="#SEC13">CAPTURING</a>
<li><a name="TOC14" href="#SEC14">ATOMIC GROUPS</a>
<li><a name="TOC15" href="#SEC15">COMMENT</a>
<li><a name="TOC16" href="#SEC16">OPTION SETTING</a>
<li><a name="TOC17" href="#SEC17">LOOKAHEAD AND LOOKBEHIND ASSERTIONS</a>
<li><a name="TOC18" href="#SEC18">BACKREFERENCES</a>
<li><a name="TOC19" href="#SEC19">SUBROUTINE REFERENCES (POSSIBLY RECURSIVE)</a>
<li><a name="TOC20" href="#SEC20">CONDITIONAL PATTERNS</a>
<li><a name="TOC21" href="#SEC21">BACKTRACKING CONTROL</a>
<li><a name="TOC22" href="#SEC22">NEWLINE CONVENTIONS</a>
<li><a name="TOC23" href="#SEC23">WHAT \R MATCHES</a>
<li><a name="TOC24" href="#SEC24">CALLOUTS</a>
<li><a name="TOC25" href="#SEC25">SEE ALSO</a>
<li><a name="TOC26" href="#SEC26">AUTHOR</a>
<li><a name="TOC27" href="#SEC27">REVISION</a>
</ul>
<br><a name="SEC1" href="#TOC1">PCRE REGULAR EXPRESSION SYNTAX SUMMARY</a><br>
<P>
The full syntax and semantics of the regular expressions that are supported by
PCRE are described in the
<a href="pcrepattern.html"><b>pcrepattern</b></a>
documentation. This document contains just a quick-reference summary of the
syntax.
</P>
<br><a name="SEC2" href="#TOC1">QUOTING</a><br>
<P>
<pre>
\x where x is non-alphanumeric is a literal x
\Q...\E treat enclosed characters as literal
</PRE>
</P>
<br><a name="SEC3" href="#TOC1">CHARACTERS</a><br>
<P>
<pre>
\a alarm, that is, the BEL character (hex 07)
\cx "control-x", where x is any ASCII character
\e escape (hex 1B)
\f formfeed (hex 0C)
\n newline (hex 0A)
\r carriage return (hex 0D)
\t tab (hex 09)
\ddd character with octal code ddd, or backreference
\xhh character with hex code hh
\x{hhh..} character with hex code hhh..
</PRE>
</P>
<br><a name="SEC4" href="#TOC1">CHARACTER TYPES</a><br>
<P>
<pre>
. any character except newline;
in dotall mode, any character whatsoever
\C one byte, even in UTF-8 mode (best avoided)
\d a decimal digit
\D a character that is not a decimal digit
\h a horizontal whitespace character
\H a character that is not a horizontal whitespace character
\N a character that is not a newline
\p{<i>xx</i>} a character with the <i>xx</i> property
\P{<i>xx</i>} a character without the <i>xx</i> property
\R a newline sequence
\s a whitespace character
\S a character that is not a whitespace character
\v a vertical whitespace character
\V a character that is not a vertical whitespace character
\w a "word" character
\W a "non-word" character
\X an extended Unicode sequence
</pre>
In PCRE, by default, \d, \D, \s, \S, \w, and \W recognize only ASCII
characters, even in UTF-8 mode. However, this can be changed by setting the
PCRE_UCP option.
</P>
<br><a name="SEC5" href="#TOC1">GENERAL CATEGORY PROPERTIES FOR \p and \P</a><br>
<P>
<pre>
C Other
Cc Control
Cf Format
Cn Unassigned
Co Private use
Cs Surrogate
L Letter
Ll Lower case letter
Lm Modifier letter
Lo Other letter
Lt Title case letter
Lu Upper case letter
L& Ll, Lu, or Lt
M Mark
Mc Spacing mark
Me Enclosing mark
Mn Non-spacing mark
N Number
Nd Decimal number
Nl Letter number
No Other number
P Punctuation
Pc Connector punctuation
Pd Dash punctuation
Pe Close punctuation
Pf Final punctuation
Pi Initial punctuation
Po Other punctuation
Ps Open punctuation
S Symbol
Sc Currency symbol
Sk Modifier symbol
Sm Mathematical symbol
So Other symbol
Z Separator
Zl Line separator
Zp Paragraph separator
Zs Space separator
</PRE>
</P>
<br><a name="SEC6" href="#TOC1">PCRE SPECIAL CATEGORY PROPERTIES FOR \p and \P</a><br>
<P>
<pre>
Xan Alphanumeric: union of properties L and N
Xps POSIX space: property Z or tab, NL, VT, FF, CR
Xsp Perl space: property Z or tab, NL, FF, CR
Xwd Perl word: property Xan or underscore
</PRE>
</P>
<br><a name="SEC7" href="#TOC1">SCRIPT NAMES FOR \p AND \P</a><br>
<P>
Arabic,
Armenian,
Avestan,
Balinese,
Bamum,
Bengali,
Bopomofo,
Braille,
Buginese,
Buhid,
Canadian_Aboriginal,
Carian,
Cham,
Cherokee,
Common,
Coptic,
Cuneiform,
Cypriot,
Cyrillic,
Deseret,
Devanagari,
Egyptian_Hieroglyphs,
Ethiopic,
Georgian,
Glagolitic,
Gothic,
Greek,
Gujarati,
Gurmukhi,
Han,
Hangul,
Hanunoo,
Hebrew,
Hiragana,
Imperial_Aramaic,
Inherited,
Inscriptional_Pahlavi,
Inscriptional_Parthian,
Javanese,
Kaithi,
Kannada,
Katakana,
Kayah_Li,
Kharoshthi,
Khmer,
Lao,
Latin,
Lepcha,
Limbu,
Linear_B,
Lisu,
Lycian,
Lydian,
Malayalam,
Meetei_Mayek,
Mongolian,
Myanmar,
New_Tai_Lue,
Nko,
Ogham,
Old_Italic,
Old_Persian,
Old_South_Arabian,
Old_Turkic,
Ol_Chiki,
Oriya,
Osmanya,
Phags_Pa,
Phoenician,
Rejang,
Runic,
Samaritan,
Saurashtra,
Shavian,
Sinhala,
Sundanese,
Syloti_Nagri,
Syriac,
Tagalog,
Tagbanwa,
Tai_Le,
Tai_Tham,
Tai_Viet,
Tamil,
Telugu,
Thaana,
Thai,
Tibetan,
Tifinagh,
Ugaritic,
Vai,
Yi.
</P>
<br><a name="SEC8" href="#TOC1">CHARACTER CLASSES</a><br>
<P>
<pre>
[...] positive character class
[^...] negative character class
[x-y] range (can be used for hex characters)
[[:xxx:]] positive POSIX named set
[[:^xxx:]] negative POSIX named set
alnum alphanumeric
alpha alphabetic
ascii 0-127
blank space or tab
cntrl control character
digit decimal digit
graph printing, excluding space
lower lower case letter
print printing, including space
punct printing, excluding alphanumeric
space whitespace
upper upper case letter
word same as \w
xdigit hexadecimal digit
</pre>
In PCRE, POSIX character set names recognize only ASCII characters by default,
but some of them use Unicode properties if PCRE_UCP is set. You can use
\Q...\E inside a character class.
</P>
<br><a name="SEC9" href="#TOC1">QUANTIFIERS</a><br>
<P>
<pre>
? 0 or 1, greedy
?+ 0 or 1, possessive
?? 0 or 1, lazy
* 0 or more, greedy
*+ 0 or more, possessive
*? 0 or more, lazy
+ 1 or more, greedy
++ 1 or more, possessive
+? 1 or more, lazy
{n} exactly n
{n,m} at least n, no more than m, greedy
{n,m}+ at least n, no more than m, possessive
{n,m}? at least n, no more than m, lazy
{n,} n or more, greedy
{n,}+ n or more, possessive
{n,}? n or more, lazy
</PRE>
</P>
<br><a name="SEC10" href="#TOC1">ANCHORS AND SIMPLE ASSERTIONS</a><br>
<P>
<pre>
\b word boundary
\B not a word boundary
^ start of subject
also after internal newline in multiline mode
\A start of subject
$ end of subject
also before newline at end of subject
also before internal newline in multiline mode
\Z end of subject
also before newline at end of subject
\z end of subject
\G first matching position in subject
</PRE>
</P>
<br><a name="SEC11" href="#TOC1">MATCH POINT RESET</a><br>
<P>
<pre>
\K reset start of match
</PRE>
</P>
<br><a name="SEC12" href="#TOC1">ALTERNATION</a><br>
<P>
<pre>
expr|expr|expr...
</PRE>
</P>
<br><a name="SEC13" href="#TOC1">CAPTURING</a><br>
<P>
<pre>
(...) capturing group
(?&#60;name&#62;...) named capturing group (Perl)
(?'name'...) named capturing group (Perl)
(?P&#60;name&#62;...) named capturing group (Python)
(?:...) non-capturing group
(?|...) non-capturing group; reset group numbers for
capturing groups in each alternative
</PRE>
</P>
<br><a name="SEC14" href="#TOC1">ATOMIC GROUPS</a><br>
<P>
<pre>
(?&#62;...) atomic, non-capturing group
</PRE>
</P>
<br><a name="SEC15" href="#TOC1">COMMENT</a><br>
<P>
<pre>
(?#....) comment (not nestable)
</PRE>
</P>
<br><a name="SEC16" href="#TOC1">OPTION SETTING</a><br>
<P>
<pre>
(?i) caseless
(?J) allow duplicate names
(?m) multiline
(?s) single line (dotall)
(?U) default ungreedy (lazy)
(?x) extended (ignore white space)
(?-...) unset option(s)
</pre>
The following are recognized only at the start of a pattern or after one of the
newline-setting options with similar syntax:
<pre>
(*NO_START_OPT) no start-match optimization (PCRE_NO_START_OPTIMIZE)
(*UTF8) set UTF-8 mode (PCRE_UTF8)
(*UCP) set PCRE_UCP (use Unicode properties for \d etc)
</PRE>
</P>
<br><a name="SEC17" href="#TOC1">LOOKAHEAD AND LOOKBEHIND ASSERTIONS</a><br>
<P>
<pre>
(?=...) positive look ahead
(?!...) negative look ahead
(?&#60;=...) positive look behind
(?&#60;!...) negative look behind
</pre>
Each top-level branch of a look behind must be of a fixed length.
</P>
<br><a name="SEC18" href="#TOC1">BACKREFERENCES</a><br>
<P>
<pre>
\n reference by number (can be ambiguous)
\gn reference by number
\g{n} reference by number
\g{-n} relative reference by number
\k&#60;name&#62; reference by name (Perl)
\k'name' reference by name (Perl)
\g{name} reference by name (Perl)
\k{name} reference by name (.NET)
(?P=name) reference by name (Python)
</PRE>
</P>
<br><a name="SEC19" href="#TOC1">SUBROUTINE REFERENCES (POSSIBLY RECURSIVE)</a><br>
<P>
<pre>
(?R) recurse whole pattern
(?n) call subpattern by absolute number
(?+n) call subpattern by relative number
(?-n) call subpattern by relative number
(?&name) call subpattern by name (Perl)
(?P&#62;name) call subpattern by name (Python)
\g&#60;name&#62; call subpattern by name (Oniguruma)
\g'name' call subpattern by name (Oniguruma)
\g&#60;n&#62; call subpattern by absolute number (Oniguruma)
\g'n' call subpattern by absolute number (Oniguruma)
\g&#60;+n&#62; call subpattern by relative number (PCRE extension)
\g'+n' call subpattern by relative number (PCRE extension)
\g&#60;-n&#62; call subpattern by relative number (PCRE extension)
\g'-n' call subpattern by relative number (PCRE extension)
</PRE>
</P>
<br><a name="SEC20" href="#TOC1">CONDITIONAL PATTERNS</a><br>
<P>
<pre>
(?(condition)yes-pattern)
(?(condition)yes-pattern|no-pattern)
(?(n)... absolute reference condition
(?(+n)... relative reference condition
(?(-n)... relative reference condition
(?(&#60;name&#62;)... named reference condition (Perl)
(?('name')... named reference condition (Perl)
(?(name)... named reference condition (PCRE)
(?(R)... overall recursion condition
(?(Rn)... specific group recursion condition
(?(R&name)... specific recursion condition
(?(DEFINE)... define subpattern for reference
(?(assert)... assertion condition
</PRE>
</P>
<br><a name="SEC21" href="#TOC1">BACKTRACKING CONTROL</a><br>
<P>
The following act immediately they are reached:
<pre>
(*ACCEPT) force successful match
(*FAIL) force backtrack; synonym (*F)
</pre>
The following act only when a subsequent match failure causes a backtrack to
reach them. They all force a match failure, but they differ in what happens
afterwards. Those that advance the start-of-match point do so only if the
pattern is not anchored.
<pre>
(*COMMIT) overall failure, no advance of starting point
(*PRUNE) advance to next starting character
(*SKIP) advance start to current matching position
(*THEN) local failure, backtrack to next alternation
</PRE>
</P>
<br><a name="SEC22" href="#TOC1">NEWLINE CONVENTIONS</a><br>
<P>
These are recognized only at the very start of the pattern or after a
(*BSR_...) or (*UTF8) or (*UCP) option.
<pre>
(*CR) carriage return only
(*LF) linefeed only
(*CRLF) carriage return followed by linefeed
(*ANYCRLF) all three of the above
(*ANY) any Unicode newline sequence
</PRE>
</P>
<br><a name="SEC23" href="#TOC1">WHAT \R MATCHES</a><br>
<P>
These are recognized only at the very start of the pattern or after a
(*...) option that sets the newline convention or UTF-8 or UCP mode.
<pre>
(*BSR_ANYCRLF) CR, LF, or CRLF
(*BSR_UNICODE) any Unicode newline sequence
</PRE>
</P>
<br><a name="SEC24" href="#TOC1">CALLOUTS</a><br>
<P>
<pre>
(?C) callout
(?Cn) callout with data n
</PRE>
</P>
<br><a name="SEC25" href="#TOC1">SEE ALSO</a><br>
<P>
<b>pcrepattern</b>(3), <b>pcreapi</b>(3), <b>pcrecallout</b>(3),
<b>pcrematching</b>(3), <b>pcre</b>(3).
</P>
<br><a name="SEC26" href="#TOC1">AUTHOR</a><br>
<P>
Philip Hazel
<br>
University Computing Service
<br>
Cambridge CB2 3QH, England.
<br>
</P>
<br><a name="SEC27" href="#TOC1">REVISION</a><br>
<P>
Last updated: 21 November 2010
<br>
Copyright &copy; 1997-2010 University of Cambridge.
<br>
<p>
Return to the <a href="index.html">PCRE index page</a>.
</p>

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