Regex Cheat Sheet

Regular Expressions are notoriously difficult to learn - they have a very compact syntax that ends up looking like gibberish. However, they can be extremely powerful when it comes to form validation, find and replace tasks, and/or searching through a body of text. The following cheatsheet provides common RegEx examples and techniques for the JavaScript developer.

🔥 There are several awesome tools that can help you debug RegEx in the browser - my personal favorite is RegExr.

How do you Pronounce RegEx?

Much like Gif vs Jif, the proper pronunciation of RegEx is passionately debated among developers. Based on my limited twitter poll, in looks like most prefer the hard G over the soft J.

Regex Reference

Basics

  • / expression / flags, i.e /[A-Z]+/g basic format
  • / hello\?\*\\/ escape special characters with backslashes
  • () group with parentheses
  • | logical OR

Character classes

  • \w word \d digit \s whitespace (tabs, line breaks)
  • \W NOT word \D NOT digit \S NOT whitespace
  • \t tabs, \n line breaks
  • . any character (except newline)

Brackets

  • [xyz] match any x, y, z
  • [J-Z] match any capital letters between J & Z.
  • [^xyz] NOT x, y, z

Quantification

  • bob|alice match bob or alice
  • z? zero or one occurrences
  • z* zero or multiple occurrences
  • z+ one or multiple occurrences
  • z{n} n occurrences
  • z{min,max} min/max occurrences

Anchors

  • hello world exact match
  • ^hello start of the strings
  • world$ end of the string

How to Use RegEx in JavaScript

Create a Regular Expression

There are two ways to create a regular expression in JavaScript. The literal way is just a set of characters between two forward slashes / /.

file_type_js_official regex.js
const re = /foo/; 

You can also instantiate RegExp.

const re = new RegExp(/foo/);

String Regex Functions

There are several ways to use a regular expression on a string primitive, such as (1) match all the occurrences, (2) search for the existence of a pattern, or (3) replace matches with a new value.

const matches = 'aBC'.match(/[A-Z]/g);
// Output: Array [B, C]

const index = 'aBC'.search(/[A-Z]);
// Output: 1

const next = 'aBC'.replace(/a/, 'A');
// Output: ABC

Common Examples

Password Validation

How do you validate the format of a password for a signup form? Let’s force passwords to contain a capital letter, lowercase letter, number, and min length of 8.

file_type_js_official regex.js
const re = /^(?=.*\d)(?=.*[a-z])(?=.*[A-Z])(?=.*[a-zA-Z]).{8,}$/g

"1sMyPasswordOK?".search(re);
Validate a password with RegEx (via regexr.com)

Validate a password with RegEx (via regexr.com)

See full demo.

Hex Codes

How do you find all of the hex codes, such as CSS colors, in a document? Useful if you need to analyze the color scheme.

file_type_js_official regex.js
const re = /#?([\da-fA-F]{2})([\da-fA-F]{2})([\da-fA-F]{2})/g

"color: #ffffff; color: #000000;".match(re);
Find all of the hex codes with RegEx (via regexr.com)

Find all of the hex codes with RegEx (via regexr.com)

See full demo.

Remove HTML Tags

How do you remove all HTML tags from a document? Use the regex below to find and replace all HTML tags.

file_type_js_official regex.js
const re = /(<script(\s|\S)*?<\/script>)|(<style(\s|\S)*?<\/style>)|(<!--(\s|\S)*?-->)|(<\/?(\s|\S)*?>)/g

const sanitized = "<h1>Hello World</h1>".replace(re, '');
Find all HTML tags with RegEx (via regexr.com)

Find all HTML tags with RegEx (via regexr.com)

See full demo

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