Unicode character properties

Since 5.1.0, three additional escape sequences to match generic character types are available when UTF-8 mode is selected. They are:

a character with the xx property
a character without the xx property
an extended Unicode sequence

The property names represented by xx above are limited to the Unicode general category properties. Each character has exactly one such property, specified by a two-letter abbreviation. For compatibility with Perl, negation can be specified by including a circumflex between the opening brace and the property name. For example, \p{^Lu} is the same as \P{Lu}.

If only one letter is specified with \p or \P, it includes all the properties that start with that letter. In this case, in the absence of negation, the curly brackets in the escape sequence are optional; these two examples have the same effect:

Supported property codes
Property Matches Notes
C Other  
Cc Control  
Cf Format  
Cn Unassigned  
Co Private use  
Cs Surrogate  
L Letter Includes the following properties: Ll, Lm, Lo, Lt and Lu.
Ll Lower case letter  
Lm Modifier letter  
Lo Other letter  
Lt Title case letter  
Lu Upper case letter  
M Mark  
Mc Spacing mark  
Me Enclosing mark  
Mn Non-spacing mark  
N Number  
Nd Decimal number  
Nl Letter number  
No Other number  
P Punctuation  
Pc Connector punctuation  
Pd Dash punctuation  
Pe Close punctuation  
Pf Final punctuation  
Pi Initial punctuation  
Po Other punctuation  
Ps Open punctuation  
S Symbol  
Sc Currency symbol  
Sk Modifier symbol  
Sm Mathematical symbol  
So Other symbol  
Z Separator  
Zl Line separator  
Zp Paragraph separator  
Zs Space separator  

Extended properties such as "Greek" or "InMusicalSymbols" are not supported by PCRE.

Specifying case-insensitive (caseless) matching does not affect these escape sequences. For example, \p{Lu} always matches only upper case letters.

The \X escape matches any number of Unicode characters that form an extended Unicode sequence. \X is equivalent to (?>\PM\pM*).

That is, it matches a character without the "mark" property, followed by zero or more characters with the "mark" property, and treats the sequence as an atomic group (see below). Characters with the "mark" property are typically accents that affect the preceding character.

Matching characters by Unicode property is not fast, because PCRE has to search a structure that contains data for over fifteen thousand characters. That is why the traditional escape sequences such as \d and \w do not use Unicode properties in PCRE.