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I have a requirement where I need to format 'Phone Number' field which is of type 'Phone'. It should not allow some of the special characters like %$#@*&, so am trying to replace each character individually with blank as below but it's acting weird. Am using the expression as below to replace everything except alphanumeric values and the 2 characters ( & ).

Acc.Phone = Acc.Phone.replaceAll('[^\\(\\)][^a-zA-Z0-9]','');

And when I entered

7876*78(67)87564#7

Its formatted as

7877687567

Ex2:

96*85/56+98(45)874*568(

formatted as

985948756

If someone understand what's happening and where am doing the mistake, please correct me.

Thanks.

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The problem is that you're using two character sets (a set starts with [ and ends with ]).

In your first example, the first match happens in the bold area:

7876*78(67)87564#7

Because 6 matches [^\\(\\)] (it is not a parentheses), and * matches [^a-zA-Z0-9] (it is not a letter or number).

The next match occurs here:

7876*78(67)87564#7

Because 8 matches [^\\(\\)], and ( matches [^a-zA-Z0-9].

You can see that by trying to match two sets, you're actually matching a more complex pattern than you meant to.

Instead, you want one character set, and you can use + to indicate one or more occurrences (better performance):

Acc.Phone = Acc.Phone.replaceAll('[^\\(\\)a-zA-Z0-9]+','');
  • Thanks a lot, i got the concept now. But, to match every special character, do we need to prefix with \\? for example, replaceAll('[^\*\\&a-zA-Z0-9]+',''); is not working as expected. – Amulya Apr 4 '16 at 15:12
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    @Amulya Actually, no, you don't need to escape special characters like (, ), , |, and so on *within a character set (but, of course, [ and ] should be escaped). Also note that you need to use \\ to represent a single escape, and \\\\ to represent an actual backslash character. This is because the parser/compiler converts \\ into a literal \. – sfdcfox Apr 4 '16 at 16:15
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    Hi Please try this regular expression to remove special character from   phone field 
    e.g :

    String strName = 'aZ^96*85/56+9^8(45)874*56^8(';
    String replacement = '[*/+()^a-zA-Z]';
    String result = strName.replaceALL(replacement,'');
    System.debug('Result ::'+result);

    Result will be : 9685569845874568
  • Hi Sagar, No this expression doesn't work. According to [*/+()^a-zA-Z], it should not replace alphabets right, but in your results, no alphabets at all. – Amulya Apr 4 '16 at 14:29

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