James Bachini

REGEX | A Complete Guide With Examples

Regexes are a powerful way to do search queries on a text string. They can be used to replace text, sanitize user inputs and much more.


  1. Introduction to REGEX
  2. REGEX Cheatsheet
  3. REGEX Examples
  4. REGEX Javascript Code

An Introduction to REGEX

A REGEX or regular expression is used to match text strings in many programming languages. Let’s look at some examples in Javascript and PHP.


const cleanString = inputString.split(/[^a-zA-Z0-9]/).join('');


$cleanString = preg_replace("/[^a-zA-Z0-9]/","",$inputString);

This code removes any bad characters which aren’t alphanumeric from a user inputed string which is useful for indexing and filenames.

The regex part is the /[^a-zA-Z0-9]/, notice how it is the same across both languages.

The regex is contained within two / / symbols. We can add modifyer letters such as i like this /regex/i which means the search is case-insensitve.

Regexs can be used to build complex if statements, search and replace functions, data extraction etc.

One word of note is that often regex performance isn’t great so if you are looking at doing something at really high volumes which is performance sensitive consider doing a more direct search.

Let’s look at some of the ways we compose regexes using a cheatsheet.

Download the regex cheat sheet here:


REGEX Cheatsheet

.match any character
\w \d \sword, digit, whitespace
\W \D \Snot word, digit, whitespace
[abc]any of a, b, or c
[^abc]not a, b, or c
[a-g] [0-9]character between a & g or 0-9
^abc$Anchor ^start and end$ of the string
\b \Bword, not-word boundary
Escaped characters
\. \* \\escape special characters with backslash
\t \n \rtab, linefeed, carriage return
(abc)capture group
\1backreference to group #1
(?:abc)non-capturing group
(?=abc)positive lookahead
(?!abc)negative lookahead
a*a+a?0 or more, 1 or more, 0 or 1
a{5}a{2,}exactly five, two or more
a{1,3}between one & three
a+?a{2,}?match as few as possible
(ab|cd)match ab or cd

Favorite REGEX Examples

/[ -~]/
This matches all printable characters

Match and validate email addresses

Match any numbers

Regex to match the user agent for just Chrome

Regex to match the user agent for just Safari

Match any newline windows & unix

Favourite Javascript REGEX Code Examples

Test if a string matches a regex

if (/^([a-z0-9]{5,})$/.test('abc1')) {

Count the occurrences of a regex

const count = (string.match(/test/g) || []).length;

Search and replace regex based on query

const new = oldString.replace(/\[code:([0-9]+)\]/g, '<a href="$1">click</a>');

This example adds all the URL string query parameters to the get variable.

const getQueryParams = () => {
	const qs = document.location.search.split("+").join(" ");
	const params = {};
  let tokens;
  const regex = /[?&]?([^=]+)=([^&]*)/g;
	while (tokens = regex.exec(qs)) {
    params[decodeURIComponent(tokens[1])] = decodeURIComponent(tokens[2]);
	return params;
const get = getQueryParams();

A clean string function for user input that allows emojis and limits input to 256 characters

const cleanString = (stringRaw) => {
	let stringClean = String(stringRaw);
	stringClean = stringClean.split(/[^ .$*+?\\\-_:/&=,{}@a-zA-Z0-9😀😁😂🤣😃😄😅😆😉😊😋😎😍🥰😘😗😙😚☺️🙂🤗🤩🤔🤨😐😑😶🙄😏😣😥😮🤐😯😪😫😴😌😛😜😝🤤😒😓😔😕🙃🤑😲☹️🙁😖🥵😞😟🥶🥴😤😢😭😦😧🥳😨😩🤯😬😰😱😳🤪😵😡🥺😠🤬😷🤒🤕🤢🤮🤧😇🤠🤥🤫🤭🧐🤓😈👿🤡👹👺💀☠️👻👽👾🤖💩🙊💋💘💝💖💗💓💞💕💌❣️💔❤️🧡💛💚💙💜🖤💟💍💎💐💒👶🧒👦👧🧑👨👱‍♂️🧔👩👱‍♀️🧓👴👵👨‍⚕️👩‍⚕️👨‍🎓👩‍🎓👨‍🏫👩‍🏫👨‍⚖️👩‍⚖️👨‍🌾👩‍🌾👨‍🍳👩‍🍳👨‍🔧👩‍🔧👨‍🏭👩‍🏭👨‍💼👩‍💼👨‍🔬👩‍🔬👨‍💻👩‍💻👨‍🎤👩‍🎤👨‍🎨👩‍🎨👨‍✈️👩‍✈️👨‍🚀👩‍🚀👨‍🚒👩‍🚒👮‍♂️👮‍♀️🕵️‍♂️🕵️‍♀️💂‍♂️💂‍♀️👷‍♂️👷‍♀️🤴👸👳‍♂️👳‍♀️👲🧕🤵👰🤰🤱👼🎅🤶🧙‍♂️🧙‍♀️🧚‍♂️🧚‍♀️👨‍🦰🧛‍♂️🧛‍♀️👨‍🦱👨‍🦳👨‍🦲🧜‍♂️🧜‍♀️🧝‍♂️👩‍🦰👩‍🦱🧝‍♀️👩‍🦳🧞‍♂️👩‍🦲🧞‍♀️🧟‍♂️🧟‍♀️🙍‍♂️🙍‍♀️🙎‍♂️🙎‍♀️🙅‍♂️🙅‍♀️🙆‍♂️🙆‍♀️💁‍♂️💁‍♀️🙋‍♂️🙋‍♀️🙇‍♂️🙇‍♀️🤦🤦‍♂️🤦‍♀️🤷🤷‍♂️🤷‍♀️💆‍♂️💆‍♀️💇‍♂️💇‍♀️👤👥🦸‍♂️🦸‍♀️🦹‍♂️🦹‍♀️👫👬👭👩‍❤️‍💋‍👨👨‍❤️‍💋‍👨👩‍❤️‍💋‍👩👩‍❤️‍👨👨‍❤️‍👨👩‍❤️‍👩👨‍👩‍👦👨‍👩‍👧👨‍👩‍👧‍👦👨‍👩‍👦‍👦👨‍👩‍👧‍👧👨‍👨‍👦👨‍👨‍👧👨‍👨‍👧‍👦👨‍👨‍👦‍👦👨‍👨‍👧‍👧👩‍👩‍👦👩‍👩‍👧👩‍👩‍👧‍👦👩‍👩‍👦‍👦👩‍👩‍👧‍👧👨‍👦👨‍👦‍👦👨‍👧👨‍👧‍👦👨‍👧‍👧👩‍👦👩‍👦‍👦👩‍👧👩‍👧‍👦👩‍👧‍👧🦵🦶🤳💪👈👉☝️👆🖕👇✌️🤞🖖🤘🤙🖐️✋👌👍👎✊👊🤛🤜🤚👋🤟✍️👏👐🙌🤲🙏🤝👂👃👀👁️🧠👅👄🚶‍♂️🚶‍♀️🏃‍♂️🏃‍♀️💃🕺👯‍♂️👯‍♀️🧖‍♂️🧖‍♀️🧗‍♂️🧗‍♀️🧘‍♂️🧘‍♀️🛌🕴️🗣️🤺🏇⛷️🏂🏌️‍♂️🏌️‍♀️🏄‍♂️🏄‍♀️🚣‍♂️🚣‍♀️🏊‍♂️🏊‍♀️⛹️‍♂️⛹️‍♀️🏋️‍♂️🏋️‍♀️🚴‍♂️🚴‍♀️🚵‍♂️🚵‍♀️🏎️🏍️🤸🤸‍♂️🤸‍♀️🤼🤼‍♂️🤼‍♀️🤽🤽‍♂️🤽‍♀️🤾🤾‍♂️🤾‍♀️🤹🤹‍♂️🤹‍♀️🎖️🏆🏅🥇🥈🥉⚽⚾🏀🏐🏈🏉🎾🎳🏏🏑🥎🏒🏓🏸🥊🥋🥏🥅⛸️🎣🥍🎿🛷🥌🎯🎱🧿🧩🧸🧵🧶📢📣📯🔔🎼🎵🎶🎙️🎚️🎛️🎧📻🎷🎸🎹🎺🎻🥁💽💿📀🎥🎞️📽️🎬📺📷📸📹📼🥭🍇🍈🍉🍊🍋🍌🍍🍎🍏🍐🍑🍒🥬🍓🥝🍅🥥🥑🍆🥔🥕🌽🌶️🥯🥒🥦🥜🌰🍞🥐🥖🥨🥞🧀🍖🍗🥩🥓🍔🍟🍕🌭🥪🌮🌯🥙🥚🧂🍳🥘🍲🥣🥗🍿🥫🍱🍘🍙🍚🍛🍜🥮🍝🍠🍢🍣🍤🍥🍡🥟🥠🥡🍦🍧🍨🍩🍪🧁🎂🍰🥧🍫🍬🍭🍮🍯🍼🥛☕🍵🍶🍾🍷🍸🍹🍺🍻🥂🥃🥤🥢🍽️🍴🥄🏺😺😸😹😻😼😽🙀😿😾🙈🙉🦝🐵🐒🦍🐶🐕🐩🐺🦊🐱🐈🦁🐯🐅🐆🐴🐎🦄🦓🦌🐮🦙🐂🐃🐄🐷🦛🐖🐗🐽🐏🐑🐐🐪🐫🦒🐘🦏🐭🐁🐀🦘🐹🦡🐰🐇🐿️🦔🦇🐻🐨🐼🐾🦃🐔🦢🐓🐣🐤🦚🐥🐦🦜🐧🕊️🦅🦆🦉🐸🐊🐢🦎🐍🐲🐉🦕🦖🐳🐋🐬🐟🐠🐡🦈🐙🐚🦀🦟🦐🦑🦠🐌🦋🐛🐜🐝🐞🦗🕷️🕸️🦂🦞🌸💮🏵️🌹🥀🌺🌻🌼🌷🌱🌲🌳🌴🌵🌾🌿☘️🍀🍁🍂🍃🍄⌛⏳⚡🎆🎇🔇🔈🔉🔊🔕🔒🔓🔏🔐🚮🚰♿🚹🚺🚻🚼🚾🛂🛃🛄🛅⚠️🚸⛔🚫🚳🚭🚯🚱🚷📵🔞⏭️⏯️⏮️⏸️⏹️⏺️⏏️🎦🔅🔆📶📳📴🔱ℹ️Ⓜ️🅿️🧭⬆️↗️➡️↘️⬇️↙️⬅️↖️↕️↔️↩️↪️⤴️⤵️🔃🔄🔀🔁🔂▶️⏩◀️⏪🔼⏫🔽⏬🦷🦴🛀👣💣🔪🧱🛢️⛽🛹🚥🚦🚧🛎️🧳⛱️🔥🧨🎗️🎟️🎫🧧🔮🎲🎴🎭🖼️🎨🎤🔍🔎🕯️💡🔦🏮📜🧮🔑🗝️🔨⛏️⚒️🛠️🗡️⚔️🔫🏹🛡️🔧🔩⚙️🗜️⚖️⛓️⚗️🔬🔭📡💉💊🚪🛏️🛋️🚽🚿🛁🛒🚬⚰️⚱️🧰🧲🧪🧴🧷🧹🧻🧼🧽🧯💠♟️💺🎮🕹️🎰📱📲☎️📞📟📠💻🖥️🖨️⌨️🖱️🖲️💾📔📕📖📗📘📙📚📓📒📃📄📰🗞️📑🔖🏷️💰💴💵💶💷💸💳💹💱✉️📧📨📩📤📥📦📫📪📬📭📮🗳️✏️✒️🖋️🖊️🖌️🖍️📝💼📁📂🗂️📅📆🗒️🗓️📇📈📉📊📋📌📍📎🖇️📏📐✂️🗃️🗄️🗑️🧾💅👓🕶️👔👕👖🧣🧤🧥🧦👗👘👙👚👛👜👝🛍️🎒👞👟👠👡👢👑👒🎩🎓🧢⛑️📿💄🌂☂️🎽🥽🥼🥾🥿🧺🚂🚃🚄🚅🚆🚇🚈🚉🚊🚝🚞🚋🚌🚍🚎🚐🚑🚒🚓🚔🚕🚖🚗🚘🚙🚚🚛🚜🚲🛴🛵🚏🛣️🛤️⛵🛶🚤🛳️⛴️🛥️🚢✈️🛩️🛫🛬🚁🚟🚠🚡🛰️🚀🛸🌍🌎🌏🌐🗺️🗾🏔️⛰️🗻🏕️🏖️🏜️🏝️🏞️🏟️🏛️🏗️🏘️🏚️🏠🏡🏢🏣🏤🏥🏦🏨🏩🏪🏫🏬🏭🏯🏰🗼🗽⛪🕌🕍⛩️🕋⛲⛺🏙️🎠🎡🎢🎪⛳🗿💦🌋🌁🌃🌄🌅🌆🌇🌉🌌🌑🌒🌓🌔🌕🌖🌗🌘🌙🌚🌛🌜🌡️☀️🌝🌞🌟🌠☁️⛅⛈️🌤️🌥️🌦️🌧️🌨️🌩️🌪️🌫️🌬️🌀🌈☔❄️☃️⛄☄️💧🌊🎑⌚⏰⏱️⏲️🕰️🕛🕧🕐🕜🕑🕝🕒🕞🕓🕟🕔🕠🕕🕡🕖🕢🕗🕣🕘🕤🕙🕥🕚🕦🏧🔙🔚🔛🔜🔝🔰‼️⁉️❓❔❕❗™️#️⃣*️⃣0️⃣1️⃣2️⃣3️⃣4️⃣5️⃣6️⃣7️⃣8️⃣9️⃣🔟💯🔠🔡🔢🔣🔤🅰️🆎🅱️🆑🆒🆓🆔🆕🆖🅾️🆗🆘🆙🆚🈁🈂️🈷️🈶🈯🉐🈹🈚🈲🉑🈸🈴🈳㊗️㊙️🈺🈵🇦🇧🇨🇩🇪🇫🇬🇭🇮🇯🇰🇱🇲🇳🇴🇵🇶🇷🇸🇹🇺🇻🇼🇽🇾🇿💢♨️💈⚓♠️♥️♦️♣️💲☢️☣️🛐⚛️🕉️✡️☸️☯️✝️☦️☪️☮️🕎🔯♈♉♊♋♌♍♎♏♐♑♒♓⛎♀️♂️⚕️♻️⚜️©️®️♾️👁️‍🗨️💤💥💨💫💬🗨️🗯️💭🕳️🚨🛑⭐🎃🎄✨🎈🎉🎊🎋🎍🎎🎏🎐🎀🎁🃏🀄🔋🔌🔗🧫🧬📛⭕✅☑️✔️✖️❌❎➕➖➗➰➿〽️✳️✴️❇️〰️🔴🔵⚪⚫⬜⬛◼️◻️◽◾▫️▪️🔶🔷🔸🔹🔺🔻🔘🔲🔳\s]/).join('');
	stringClean = stringClean.substr(0, 256);
	return stringClean;

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James Bachini

Disclaimer: Not a financial advisor, not financial advice. The content I create is to document my journey and for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not under any circumstances investment advice. I am not an investment or trading professional and am learning myself while still making plenty of mistakes along the way. Any code published is experimental and not production ready to be used for financial transactions. Do your own research and do not play with funds you do not want to lose.