Inconsistent results from Regular Expression (Regex)

I’m having difficulty understanding the regex functionality. I have created a simple list with default values to try to isolate the issue and am getting some very unexpected results. The list is:

  1. One Cow
  2. Two
  3. Eleven sheep and a pig
  4. Four on it’s own
  5. Five

If I put .*sheep into the variable for regex sometimes row 3 is found, sometimes not. I am also having difficulty getting some standard functions to fun at all - the ^ symbol seems never to work properly.

Is there some specific way of entering WF regex statements that are different to normal? I am testing all my conditions on and confirming that the behaviour is as expected.

Any help much appreciated, especially a code snippet. It’s driving me MAAAD!!! :confounded:!

Hi Owen,
According to your regex on the screenshot, row 3 shouldn’t be found, as the string should end with sheep.
For this text, you should use expression .*sheep.*

Could you please share an example where ^ doesn’t work? Maybe, there is a mistake somewhere else in the expression?

Also, you can check out this thread for more info about regex: Text Actions - RegEx help

Thanks Alesia,
So now I understand what the issue is:

  • In the online Regex helpers, such as and a phrase in the middle of a string will be matched without specifying anything past the matching portion. So, if I have a phrase “'Eleven sheep and a pig” the online regex tools will show a match for *.sheep whereas Sunbird requires a further specification past the end of the string to be matched and will only return correctly for *.sheep.*

  • This issue is the same for all expressions including the ^ expression so you will also not get a match for ^Eleven but instead must specify ^Eleven.*

  • Finally, as regards the inconsistency of outputs it may well be related to my poor syntax. I will keep an eye on it and repost if I can see something not working but right now I can’t reliably repeat the problem (which usually means I’m the problem!!!)

Thanks for the help - in summary, use good practice and specify all the way to the end of the string!


Correct, it is better to adhere to the strict rules.
Let us know if you have any other issues with regex.