Java Regex

The Java Regex or Regular Expression is an API to define a pattern for searching or manipulating strings.

It is widely used to define the constraint on strings such as password and email validation. After learning Java regex tutorial, you will be able to test your regular expressions by the Java Regex Tester Tool.

Java Regex API provides 1 interface and 3 classes in java.util.regex package.

java.util.regex package

The Matcher and Pattern classes provide the facility of Java regular expression. The java.util.regex package provides following classes and interfaces for regular expressions.

  1. MatchResult interface
  2. Matcher class
  3. Pattern class
  4. PatternSyntaxException class
Java Regex API

Matcher class

It implements the MatchResult interface. It is a regex engine which is used to perform match operations on a character sequence.

No.MethodDescription
1boolean matches()test whether the regular expression matches the pattern.
2boolean find()finds the next expression that matches the pattern.
3boolean find(int start)finds the next expression that matches the pattern from the given start number.
4String group()returns the matched subsequence.
5int start()returns the starting index of the matched subsequence.
6int end()returns the ending index of the matched subsequence.
7int groupCount()returns the total number of the matched subsequence.

Pattern class

It is the compiled version of a regular expression. It is used to define a pattern for the regex engine.

No.MethodDescription
1static Pattern compile(String regex)compiles the given regex and returns the instance of the Pattern.
2Matcher matcher(CharSequence input)creates a matcher that matches the given input with the pattern.
3static boolean matches(String regex, CharSequence input)It works as the combination of compile and matcher methods. It compiles the regular expression and matches the given input with the pattern.
4String[] split(CharSequence input)splits the given input string around matches of given pattern.
5String pattern()returns the regex pattern.

Example of Java Regular Expressions

There are three ways to write the regex example in Java.

snippet
import java.util.regex.*;
public class RegexExample1{
public static void main(String args[]){
//1st way
Pattern p = Pattern.compile(".s");//. represents single character
Matcher m = p.matcher("as");
boolean b = m.matches();

//2nd way
boolean b2=Pattern.compile(".s").matcher("as").matches();

//3rd way
boolean b3 = Pattern.matches(".s", "as");

System.out.println(b+" "+b2+" "+b3);
}}

Output

Output
true true true

Regular Expression . Example

The . (dot) represents a single character.

snippet
import java.util.regex.*;
class RegexExample2{
public static void main(String args[]){
System.out.println(Pattern.matches(".s", "as"));//true (2nd char is s)
System.out.println(Pattern.matches(".s", "mk"));//false (2nd char is not s)
System.out.println(Pattern.matches(".s", "mst"));//false (has more than 2 char)
System.out.println(Pattern.matches(".s", "amms"));//false (has more than 2 char)
System.out.println(Pattern.matches("..s", "mas"));//true (3rd char is s)
}}

Regex Character classes

No.Character ClassDescription
1[abc]a, b, or c (simple class)
2[^abc]Any character except a, b, or c (negation)
3[a-zA-Z]a through z or A through Z, inclusive (range)
4[a-d[m-p]]a through d, or m through p: [a-dm-p] (union)
5[a-z&&[def]]d, e, or f (intersection)
6[a-z&&[^bc]]a through z, except for b and c: [ad-z] (subtraction)
7[a-z&&[^m-p]]a through z, and not m through p: [a-lq-z](subtraction)

Regular Expression Character classes Example

snippet
import java.util.regex.*;
class RegexExample3{
public static void main(String args[]){
System.out.println(Pattern.matches("[amn]", "abcd"));//false (not a or m or n)
System.out.println(Pattern.matches("[amn]", "a"));//true (among a or m or n)
System.out.println(Pattern.matches("[amn]", "ammmna"));//false (m and a comes more than once)
}}

Regex Quantifiers

The quantifiers specify the number of occurrences of a character.

RegexDescription
X?X occurs once or not at all
X+X occurs once or more times
X*X occurs zero or more times
X{n}X occurs n times only
X{n,}X occurs n or more times
X{y,z}X occurs at least y times but less than z times

Regular Expression Character classes and Quantifiers Example

snippet
import java.util.regex.*;
class RegexExample4{
public static void main(String args[]){
System.out.println("? quantifier ....");
System.out.println(Pattern.matches("[amn]?", "a"));//true (a or m or n comes one time)
System.out.println(Pattern.matches("[amn]?", "aaa"));//false (a comes more than one time)
System.out.println(Pattern.matches("[amn]?", "aammmnn"));//false (a m and n comes more than one time)
System.out.println(Pattern.matches("[amn]?", "aazzta"));//false (a comes more than one time)
System.out.println(Pattern.matches("[amn]?", "am"));//false (a or m or n must come one time)

System.out.println("+ quantifier ....");
System.out.println(Pattern.matches("[amn]+", "a"));//true (a or m or n once or more times)
System.out.println(Pattern.matches("[amn]+", "aaa"));//true (a comes more than one time)
System.out.println(Pattern.matches("[amn]+", "aammmnn"));//true (a or m or n comes more than once)
System.out.println(Pattern.matches("[amn]+", "aazzta"));//false (z and t are not matching pattern)

System.out.println("* quantifier ....");
System.out.println(Pattern.matches("[amn]*", "ammmna"));//true (a or m or n may come zero or more times)

}}

Regex Metacharacters

The regular expression metacharacters work as shortcodes.

RegexDescription
.Any character (may or may not match terminator)
\dAny digits, short of [0-9]
\DAny non-digit, short for [^0-9]
\sAny whitespace character, short for [\t\n\x0B\f\r]
\SAny non-whitespace character, short for [^\s]
\wAny word character, short for [a-zA-Z_0-9]
\WAny non-word character, short for [^\w]
\bA word boundary
\BA non word boundary

Regular Expression Metacharacters Example

snippet
import java.util.regex.*;
class RegexExample5{
public static void main(String args[]){
System.out.println("metacharacters d....");\\d means digit

System.out.println(Pattern.matches("\\d", "abc"));//false (non-digit)
System.out.println(Pattern.matches("\\d", "1"));//true (digit and comes once)
System.out.println(Pattern.matches("\\d", "4443"));//false (digit but comes more than once)
System.out.println(Pattern.matches("\\d", "323abc"));//false (digit and char)

System.out.println("metacharacters D....");\\D means non-digit

System.out.println(Pattern.matches("\\D", "abc"));//false (non-digit but comes more than once)
System.out.println(Pattern.matches("\\D", "1"));//false (digit)
System.out.println(Pattern.matches("\\D", "4443"));//false (digit)
System.out.println(Pattern.matches("\\D", "323abc"));//false (digit and char)
System.out.println(Pattern.matches("\\D", "m"));//true (non-digit and comes once)

System.out.println("metacharacters D with quantifier....");
System.out.println(Pattern.matches("\\D*", "mak"));//true (non-digit and may come 0 or more times)

}}

Regular Expression Question 1

snippet
/*Create a regular expression that accepts alphanumeric characters only. 
Its length must be six characters long only.*/

import java.util.regex.*;
class RegexExample6{
public static void main(String args[]){
System.out.println(Pattern.matches("[a-zA-Z0-9]{6}", "arun32"));//true
System.out.println(Pattern.matches("[a-zA-Z0-9]{6}", "kkvarun32"));//false (more than 6 char)
System.out.println(Pattern.matches("[a-zA-Z0-9]{6}", "JA2Uk2"));//true
System.out.println(Pattern.matches("[a-zA-Z0-9]{6}", "arun$2"));//false ($ is not matched)
}}

Regular Expression Question 2

snippet
/*Create a regular expression that accepts 10 digit numeric characters
 starting with 7, 8 or 9 only.*/

import java.util.regex.*;
class RegexExample7{
public static void main(String args[]){
System.out.println("by character classes and quantifiers ...");
System.out.println(Pattern.matches("[789]{1}[0-9]{9}", "9953038949"));//true
System.out.println(Pattern.matches("[789][0-9]{9}", "9953038949"));//true

System.out.println(Pattern.matches("[789][0-9]{9}", "99530389490"));//false (11 characters)
System.out.println(Pattern.matches("[789][0-9]{9}", "6953038949"));//false (starts from 6)
System.out.println(Pattern.matches("[789][0-9]{9}", "8853038949"));//true

System.out.println("by metacharacters ...");
System.out.println(Pattern.matches("[789]{1}\\d{9}", "8853038949"));//true
System.out.println(Pattern.matches("[789]{1}\\d{9}", "3853038949"));//false (starts from 3)

}}

Java Regex Finder Example

snippet
import java.util.regex.Pattern;
import java.util.Scanner;
import java.util.regex.Matcher;  
public class RegexExample8{  
    public static void main(String[] args){  
        Scanner sc=new Scanner(System.in);
        while (true) {  
        	System.out.println("Enter regex pattern:");
            Pattern pattern = Pattern.compile(sc.nextLine());  
            System.out.println("Enter text:");
            Matcher matcher = pattern.matcher(sc.nextLine());  
            boolean found = false;  
            while (matcher.find()) {  
                System.out.println("I found the text "+matcher.group()+" starting at index "+  
                 matcher.start()+" and ending at index "+matcher.end());  
                found = true;  
            }  
            if(!found){  
                System.out.println("No match found.");  
            }  
        }  
    }  
}

Output:

Output
Enter regex pattern: java Enter text: this is java, do you know java I found the text java starting at index 8 and ending at index 12 I found the text java starting at index 26 and ending at index 30
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