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smatch | Regex (Regular Expressions) in C++
  • Difficulty Level : Hard
  • Last Updated : 04 Sep, 2018

smatch is an instantiation of the match_results class template for matches on string objects.
Functions that can be called using smatch:
str(), position(), and length() member functions of the match_results object can be called to get the text that was matched, or the starting position and its length of the match relative to the subject string.

  • Call these member functions without a parameter or with 0 as the parameter to get the overall regex match.
  • Call them passing 1 or greater to get the match of a particular capturing group.
  • The size() member function indicates the number of capturing groups plus one for the overall match.
  • Thus you can pass a value up to size()-1 to the other three member functions(str(), position(), length() ).

What is capturing group ?

Suppose you create a regex object like : regex re("(geeks)(.*)") 
Here no of capturing group is = 2 
[ one is "geeks" and second is any character after "geeks" ].

regex re("a(b)c")
Here no of capturing group is = 1[ 'b' is the capturing group].
whatever within '(' and ')' braces is treated as capturing group.

Below is the program to show the working of smatch:

#include <bits/stdc++.h>
using namespace std;
int main()
    string sp("geeksforgeeks");
    regex re("(geeks)(.*)");
    // flag type for determining the matching behavior
    // && here it is for matches on strings.
    smatch match;
    // we can use member function on match
    // to extract the matched pattern.
    if (regex_search(sp, match, re) == true) {
        // The size() member function indicates the
        // number of capturing groups plus one for the overall match
        // match size = Number of capturing group + 1
        // (.*) which "forgeeks" ).
        cout << "Match size = " << match.size() << endl;
        // Capturing group is index from 0 to match_size -1 
        // 0 to 2
        // pattern at index 0 is the overall match "geeksforgeeks"
        // pattern at index 1 is the first capturing group "geeks"
        // pattern at index 2 is the 2nd capturing group "forgeeks"
        cout << "Whole match : " << match.str(0) << endl;
        cout << "First capturing group is '" << match.str(1)
             << "' which is captured at index " << match.position(1)
             << endl;
        cout << "Second capturing group is '" << match.str(2)
             << "' which is captured at index " << match.position(2)
             << endl;
    else {
        cout << "No match is found" << endl;
    return 0;
Match size = 3
Whole match : geeksforgeeks
First capturing group is 'geeks' which is captured at index 0
Second capturing group is 'forgeeks' which is captured at index 5
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