String.prototype.matchAll()

The matchAll() method returns an iterator of all results matching a string against a regular expression, including capturing groups.

Syntax

matchAll(regexp)

Parameters

regexp

A regular expression object.

If a non-RegExp object obj is passed, it is implicitly converted to a RegExp by using new RegExp(obj).

The RegExp object must have the /g flag, otherwise a TypeError will be thrown.

Return value

An iterator (which is not a restartable iterable) of matches.

Each match is an array (with extra properties index and input; see the return value for RegExp.exec). The match array has the matched text as the first item, and then one item for each parenthetical capture group of the matched text.

Examples

Regexp.exec() and matchAll()

Prior to the addition of matchAll to JavaScript, it was possible to use calls to regexp.exec (and regexes with the /g flag) in a loop to obtain all the matches:

const regexp = new RegExp('foo[a-z]*','g');
const str = 'table football, foosball';
let match;

while ((match = regexp.exec(str)) !== null) {
  console.log(`Found ${match[0]} start=${match.index} end=${regexp.lastIndex}.`);
  // expected output: "Found football start=6 end=14."
  // expected output: "Found foosball start=16 end=24."
}

With matchAll available, you can avoid the while loop and exec with g.

Instead, by using matchAll, you get an iterator to use with the more convenient for...of, array spread, or Array.from() constructs:

const regexp = new RegExp('foo[a-z]*','g');
const str = 'table football, foosball';
const matches = str.matchAll(regexp);

for (const match of matches) {
  console.log(`Found ${match[0]} start=${match.index} end=${match.index + match[0].length}.`);
}
// expected output: "Found football start=6 end=14."
// expected output: "Found foosball start=16 end=24."

// matches iterator is exhausted after the for..of iteration
// Call matchAll again to create a new iterator
Array.from(str.matchAll(regexp), m => m[0]);
// Array [ "football", "foosball" ]

matchAll will throw an exception if the g flag is missing.

const regexp = new RegExp('[a-c]','');
const str = 'abc';
str.matchAll(regexp);
// TypeError

matchAll internally makes a clone of the regexp—so, unlike regexp.exec(), lastIndex does not change as the string is scanned.

const regexp = new RegExp('[a-c]','g');
regexp.lastIndex = 1;
const str = 'abc';
Array.from(str.matchAll(regexp), m => `${regexp.lastIndex} ${m[0]}`);
// Array [ "1 b", "1 c" ]

Better access to capturing groups (than String.prototype.match())

Another compelling reason for matchAll is the improved access to capture groups.

Capture groups are ignored when using match() with the global /g flag:

let regexp = /t(e)(st(\d?))/g;
let str = 'test1test2';

str.match(regexp);
// Array ['test1', 'test2']

Using matchAll, you can access capture groups easily:

let array = [...str.matchAll(regexp)];

array[0];
// ['test1', 'e', 'st1', '1', index: 0, input: 'test1test2', length: 4]
array[1];
// ['test2', 'e', 'st2', '2', index: 5, input: 'test1test2', length: 4]

Specifications

Specification
ECMAScript Language Specification (ECMAScript)
# sec-string.prototype.matchall

Browser compatibility

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See also