Searching for UUIDs in text with regex


Regex Problem Overview

I'm searching for UUIDs in blocks of text using a regex. Currently I'm relying on the assumption that all UUIDs will follow a patttern of 8-4-4-4-12 hexadecimal digits.

Can anyone think of a use case where this assumption would be invalid and would cause me to miss some UUIDs?

Regex Solutions

Solution 1 - Regex

The regex for uuid is:


If you want to enforce the full string to match this regex, you will sometimes (your matcher API may have a method) need to surround above expression with ^...$, that is


Solution 2 - Regex

@ivelin: UUID can have capitals. So you'll either need to toLowerCase() the string or use:


Would have just commented this but not enough rep :)

Solution 3 - Regex

> Version 4 UUIDs have the form xxxxxxxx-xxxx-4xxx-yxxx-xxxxxxxxxxxx where x is any hexadecimal digit and y is one of 8, 9, A, or B. e.g. f47ac10b-58cc-4372-a567-0e02b2c3d479.


Therefore, this is technically more correct:


Solution 4 - Regex

If you want to check or validate a specific UUID version, here are the corresponding regexes.

> Note that the only difference is the version number, which is explained in 4.1.3. Version chapter of UUID 4122 RFC.

The version number is the first character of the third group : [VERSION_NUMBER][0-9A-F]{3} :

  • UUID v1 :

  • UUID v2 :

  • UUID v3 :

  • UUID v4 :

  • UUID v5 :


Solution 5 - Regex

I agree that by definition your regex does not miss any UUID. However it may be useful to note that if you are searching especially for Microsoft's Globally Unique Identifiers (GUIDs), there are five equivalent string representations for a GUID:





"{0xCA761232, 0xED42, 0x11CE, {0xBA, 0xCD, 0x00, 0xAA, 0x00, 0x57, 0xB2, 0x23}}" 

Solution 6 - Regex


Gajus' regexp rejects UUID V1-3 and 5, even though they are valid.

Solution 7 - Regex

[\w]{8}(-[\w]{4}){3}-[\w]{12} has worked for me in most cases.

Or if you want to be really specific [\w]{8}-[\w]{4}-[\w]{4}-[\w]{4}-[\w]{12}.

Solution 8 - Regex

In python re, you can span from numberic to upper case alpha. So..

import re
test = "01234ABCDEFGHIJKabcdefghijk01234abcdefghijkABCDEFGHIJK"
re.compile(r'[0-f]+').findall(test) # Bad: matches all uppercase alpha chars
## ['01234ABCDEFGHIJKabcdef', '01234abcdef', 'ABCDEFGHIJK']
re.compile(r'[0-F]+').findall(test) # Partial: does not match lowercase hex chars
## ['01234ABCDEF', '01234', 'ABCDEF']
re.compile(r'[0-F]+', re.I).findall(test) # Good
## ['01234ABCDEF', 'abcdef', '01234abcdef', 'ABCDEF']
re.compile(r'[0-f]+', re.I).findall(test) # Good
## ['01234ABCDEF', 'abcdef', '01234abcdef', 'ABCDEF']
re.compile(r'[0-Fa-f]+').findall(test) # Good (with uppercase-only magic)
## ['01234ABCDEF', 'abcdef', '01234abcdef', 'ABCDEF']
re.compile(r'[0-9a-fA-F]+').findall(test) # Good (with no magic)
## ['01234ABCDEF', 'abcdef', '01234abcdef', 'ABCDEF']

That makes the simplest Python UUID regex:

re_uuid = re.compile("[0-F]{8}-([0-F]{4}-){3}[0-F]{12}", re.I)

I'll leave it as an exercise to the reader to use timeit to compare the performance of these.

Enjoy. Keep it Pythonic™!

NOTE: Those spans will also match :;<=>?@' so, if you suspect that could give you false positives, don't take the shortcut. (Thank you Oliver Aubert for pointing that out in the comments.)

Solution 9 - Regex

By definition, a UUID is 32 hexadecimal digits, separated in 5 groups by hyphens, just as you have described. You shouldn't miss any with your regular expression.

Solution 10 - Regex

Here is the working REGEX:

const regex = [0-9a-fA-F]{8}\-[0-9a-fA-F]{4}\-[0-9a-fA-F]{4}\-[0-9a-fA-F]{4}\-[0-9a-fA-F]{12}

Solution 11 - Regex

So, I think Richard Bronosky actually has the best answer to date, but I think you can do a bit to make it somewhat simpler (or at least terser):

re_uuid = re.compile(r'[0-9a-f]{8}(?:-[0-9a-f]{4}){3}-[0-9a-f]{12}', re.I)

Solution 12 - Regex

Variant for C++:

#include <regex>  // Required include


// Source string    
std::wstring srcStr = L"String with GIUD: {4d36e96e-e325-11ce-bfc1-08002be10318} any text";

// Regex and match
std::wsmatch match;
std::wregex rx(L"(\\{[A-F0-9]{8}-[A-F0-9]{4}-[A-F0-9]{4}-[A-F0-9]{4}-[A-F0-9]{12}\\})", std::regex_constants::icase);

// Search
std::regex_search(srcStr, match, rx);

// Result
std::wstring strGUID       = match[1];

Solution 13 - Regex

For UUID generated on OS X with uuidgen, the regex pattern is


Verify with

uuidgen | grep -E "[A-F0-9]{8}-[A-F0-9]{4}-4[A-F0-9]{3}-[89AB][A-F0-9]{3}-[A-F0-9]{12}"

Solution 14 - Regex

For bash:

grep -E "[a-f0-9]{8}-[a-f0-9]{4}-4[a-f0-9]{3}-[89aAbB][a-f0-9]{3}-[a-f0-9]{12}"

For example:

$> echo "f2575e6a-9bce-49e7-ae7c-bff6b555bda4" | grep -E "[a-f0-9]{8}-[a-f0-9]{4}-4[a-f0-9]{3}-[89aAbB][a-f0-9]{3}-[a-f0-9]{12}"

Solution 15 - Regex

$UUID_RE = join '-', map { "[0-9a-f]{$_}" } 8, 4, 4, 4, 12;

BTW, allowing only 4 on one of the positions is only valid for UUIDv4. But v4 is not the only UUID version that exists. I have met v1 in my practice as well.

Solution 16 - Regex

If using Posix regex (grep -E, MySQL, etc.), this may be easier to read & remember:


Edit: Perl & PCRE flavours also support Posix character classes so this'll work with them. For those, change the (…) to a non-capturing subgroup (?:…).

Solution 17 - Regex

Wanted to give my contribution, as my regex cover all cases from OP and correctly group all relevant data on the group method (you don't need to post process the string to get each part of the uuid, this regex already get it for you)

([\d\w]{8})-?([\d\w]{4})-?([\d\w]{4})-?([\d\w]{4})-?([\d\w]{12})|[{0x]*([\d\w]{8})[0x, ]{4}([\d\w]{4})[0x, ]{4}([\d\w]{4})[0x, {]{5}([\d\w]{2})[0x, ]{4}([\d\w]{2})[0x, ]{4}([\d\w]{2})[0x, ]{4}([\d\w]{2})[0x, ]{4}([\d\w]{2})[0x, ]{4}([\d\w]{2})[0x, ]{4}([\d\w]{2})[0x, ]{4}([\d\w]{2})

Solution 18 - Regex

Official uuid library uses following regex:


See reference


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