Character Classes or Character Sets

With a "character class", also called "character set", you can tell the regex engine to match only one out of several characters. Simply place the characters you want to match between square brackets. If you want to match an a or an e, use [ae]. You could use this in gr[ae]y to match either gray or grey. Very useful if you do not know whether the document you are searching through is written in American or British English.
A character class matches only a single character. gr[ae]y does not match graaygraey or any such thing. The order of the characters inside a character class does not matter. The results are identical.
You can use a hyphen inside a character class to specify a range of characters. [0-9] matches a single digit between 0 and 9. You can use more than one range. [0-9a-fA-F] matches a single hexadecimal digit, case insensitively. You can combine ranges and single characters. [0-9a-fxA-FX] matches a hexadecimal digit or the letter X. Again, the order of the characters and the ranges does not matter.
Character classes are one of the most commonly used features of regular expressions. You can find a word, even if it is misspelled, such as sep[ae]r[ae]te or li[cs]en[cs]e. You can find an identifier in a programming language with [A-Za-z_][A-Za-z_0-9]*. You can find a C-style hexadecimal number with 0[xX][A-Fa-f0-9]+.

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