Escape string for use in Javascript regex [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate:
Is there a RegExp.escape function in Javascript?

I am trying to build a javascript regex based on user input:

function FindString(input) {
    var reg = new RegExp('' + input + '');
    // [snip] perform search
}

But the regex will not work correctly when the user input contains a ? or * because they are interpreted as regex specials. In fact, if the user puts an unbalanced ( or [ in their string, the regex isn't even valid.

What is the javascript function to correctly escape all special characters for use in regex?

Answers:

Answer

Short 'n Sweet

function escapeRegExp(string) {
  return string.replace(/[.*+?^${}()|[\]\\]/g, '\\$&'); // $& means the whole matched string
}

Example

escapeRegExp("All of these should be escaped: \ ^ $ * + ? . ( ) | { } [ ]");

>>> "All of these should be escaped: \\ \^ \$ \* \+ \? \. \( \) \| \{ \} \[ \] "

(NOTE: the above is not the original answer; it was edited to show the one from MDN. This means it does not match what you will find in the code in the below npm, and does not match what is shown in the below long answer. The comments are also now confusing. My recommendation: use the above, or get it from MDN, and ignore the rest of this answer. -Darren,Nov 2019)

Install

Available on npm as escape-string-regexp

npm install --save escape-string-regexp

Note

See MDN: Javascript Guide: Regular Expressions

Other symbols (~`[email protected]# ...) MAY be escaped without consequence, but are not required to be.

.

.

.

.

Test Case: A typical url

escapeRegExp("/path/to/resource.html?search=query");

>>> "\/path\/to\/resource\.html\?search=query"

The Long Answer

If you're going to use the function above at least link to this stack overflow post in your code's documentation so that it doesn't look like crazy hard-to-test voodoo.

var escapeRegExp;

(function () {
  // Referring to the table here:
  // https://developer.mozilla.org/en/JavaScript/Reference/Global_Objects/regexp
  // these characters should be escaped
  // \ ^ $ * + ? . ( ) | { } [ ]
  // These characters only have special meaning inside of brackets
  // they do not need to be escaped, but they MAY be escaped
  // without any adverse effects (to the best of my knowledge and casual testing)
  // : ! , = 
  // my test "[email protected]#$%^&*(){}[]`/=?+\|-_;:'\",<.>".match(/[\#]/g)

  var specials = [
        // order matters for these
          "-"
        , "["
        , "]"
        // order doesn't matter for any of these
        , "/"
        , "{"
        , "}"
        , "("
        , ")"
        , "*"
        , "+"
        , "?"
        , "."
        , "\\"
        , "^"
        , "$"
        , "|"
      ]

      // I choose to escape every character with '\'
      // even though only some strictly require it when inside of []
    , regex = RegExp('[' + specials.join('\\') + ']', 'g')
    ;

  escapeRegExp = function (str) {
    return str.replace(regex, "\\$&");
  };

  // test escapeRegExp("/path/to/res?search=this.that")
}());

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