Keyboard Maestro uses ICU Regular Expressions (aka RegEx or RegExp) which is very similar to PCRE (Perl Compatible Regular Expressions), and you can read their documentation by choosing ICU Regular Expression Reference from the Help menu in Keyboard Maestro.
In any Action where the term “matches” is used, you may (optionally) use a regular expression.
The two most commonly used RegEx Actions are:
In all of the RegEx searches, you can choose to search in any one of the following: System Clipboard, Variable, File, Text entered into the Action, and Named Clipboard.
There are many Actions in Keyboard Maestro where you can use a regular expression, which may not be obvious. For more info see Places where Regular Expressions can be used.
The ICU calls these modifiers “flag options”.
The search modifier “Pattern to Use” shown below is placed at the very beginning of the Search/Find Regular Expression box.
as shown in the below example #1.
|Purpose||Pattern to Use||Description|
|Global||NONE||The Search using Regular Expression Action will return the first match it finds in the source string.
In order to make it be a “global” search, you need to put this Action in a For Each Action that uses the [ Substrings Matching in ] Collection. This will loop through all matches found in the source string.
This is often indicated in other tools by the
|Case Insensitive||Matching will be in a case-insensitive manner.
In some Actions this is NOT necessary since the Action already provides an “ignoring case” option.
|Dot includes EOL||A “
|Multi-Line||Controls the behavior of “
If used, “
|Word Boundaries||Controls the behavior of \b in a pattern.
If used, word boundaries are found according to the definitions of word found in Unicode UAX 29, Text Boundaries.
|Comments||Ignores white space and allows #comments.
If used, white space within regular expressions is ignored and you can use #line-comments.
\<CG#>(in ver 8+) in the Action Replace box, where
<CG#>is the number for the capture group.
$1, $2, $3
\1, \2, \3
\<CG#>used in other apps/languages, like BBEdit.
For more information, see Capture Groups.
You can use Keyboard Maestro Text Tokens anywhere appropriate in both the Search pattern and the Replace pattern.
For the currently complete list, see ICU Regular Expression Metacharacters.
New Metacharacters Available in ICU 55+1)
ICU 55 was released on 2015-04-01, and is available in the follow software versions:
These Metacharacters offer some powerful solutions to long-standing RegEx problems. These can replace complicated RegEx patterns previously required, and are recommended for use if you are running the required versions. For example,
|New Metacharacters in ICU 55+2)|
|Character|| Alternate Expression|
(Pre ICU 55)
| || || Match a Horizontal White Space character.
They are characters with Unicode General Category of Space_Separator plus the ASCII tab (\u0009).
| || ||Match a non-Horizontal White Space character.|
| ||No Alternative||Named Capture Back Reference.|
| || || Match a new line character, or the sequence CR LF.
The new line characters are \u000a, \u000b, \u000c, \u000d, \u0085, \u2028, \u2029
| || || Match a new line character.
The new line characters are \u000a, \u000b, \u000c, \u000d, \u0085, \u2028, \u2029.
Does not match the new line sequence CR LF.
| || ||Match a non-new line character.|
For an in-depth discussion, see this Forum topic: RegEx for Horizontal Whitespace.
Example #1: Remove all line numbers from a string with multiple lines
Example #2: Extract Capture Group for Multiple Matches to Multiple Lines in a Variable
Sometimes you may need to extract a RegEx Capture Group after a match is made, and do this for multiple lines (matches) in the entire source string. To achieve this, you need to:
Both Actions can use the same RegEx pattern.
For a complete macro using this method, see:
MACRO: Get List of RegEx Capture Group of Multiple Matches
Keywords: Regular Expression, RegEx, RegExp, Find, Replace, Match