re sub help

Mike Meyer mwm at
Sat Nov 5 09:35:53 CET 2005

s99999999s2003 at writes:
> i am still interested about using re, i find it useful. am still
> learning it's uses.
> so i did something like this for a start, trying to get everything in
> between [startdelim] and [enddelim]
> a =
> "this\nis\na\nsentence[startdelim]this\nis\nanother[enddelim]this\nis\n"
> t = re.compile(r"\[startdelim\](.*)\[enddelim\]")
> t.findall(a)
> but it gives me []. it's the "\n" that prevents the results.
> why can't (.*) work in this case? Or am i missing some steps to "read"
> in the "\n"..?
> thanks.

Newlines are magic to regular expressions. You use the flags in re to
change that. In this case, you want . to match them, so you use the
DOTALL flag:

>>> a = "this\nis\na\nsentence[startdelim]this\nis\nanother[enddelim]this\nis\n"
>>> t = re.compile(r"\[startdelim\](.*)\[enddelim\]", re.DOTALL)
>>> t.findall(a)

Mike Meyer <mwm at>
Independent WWW/Perforce/FreeBSD/Unix consultant, email for more information.

More information about the Python-list mailing list