Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 

Alteryx designer Discussions

Find answers, ask questions, and share expertise about Alteryx Designer.

RegEx: Parse Comment Field with Special Characters

Hi All, 


I'm attempting to use RegEx to parse a comment field into multiple blocks, then find the commenter, time, and comment. I'm having trouble with the RegEx to break out the comment blocks at the moment. Does anyone know how to best solve this problem or have some links for leads? 


Details on the problem below! 



1(abcd0ef.abcd0ef - 1/1/2019 2:00 PM) Random Free Text (xyz0ef.abc0ef - 1/2/2019 1:00 AM) Response
2(a1cd0ef.abcd0ef - 12/1/2018 2:00 PM) Random Free Text (l0n0op.ghi0yf - 12/31/2018 1:00 AM) Other Random Free Text (system administrator - 1/3/2019 6:00 PM) More text
3(Donny Darko - d10d00.hai0sd - 12/15/2018 8:00 AM) Other text (System Administrator - 12/15/2018 8:31 AM) Notes notes notes


Desired Output: 

1abcd0ef.abcd0ef1/1/2019 2:00 PMRandom Free Text
1xyz0ef.abc0ef1/2/2019 1:00 AMResponse
2a1cd0ef.abcd0ef12/1/2018 2:00 PMRandom Free Text
2l0n0op.ghi0yf12/31/2018 1:00 AMOther Random Free Text
2l0n0op.ghi0yf1/3/2019 6:00 PMMore text
3d10d00.hai0sd12/15/2018 8:00 AMOther text
3System Administrator12/15/2018 8:31 AMNotes notes notes


Here's what I am thinking for process: 

1. Tokenize comment blocks -- e.g. "(abcd0ef.abcd0ef - 1/1/2019 2:00 PM) Random Free Text" 

- This partially works if I use parse instead of tokenize, but I can't get the regex to capture the blocks

- Currently using: (\(.*\))

2. Parse commenter, datetime, comment


Here are links to other posts that have been helpful so far: 

Regex Parsing Help Needed With Special Characters

RegEx Get Repeated Parse Matches

Extract Date from Text

Regex Perl Syntax Guide &  Regex Cheat Sheet

Challenge 11 - Identify Logical Groups


Attached is a file with my current work and a sample solution from another post on the Community. 


Please see the attached workflow.  It accomplishes your goal.


Please see the attached workflow.  It accomplishes your goal.

I suggest using:


to tokenise the input comment. Please note this will get confused if message has brackets.


To parse into columns I suggest:

^\((.*?)\s+-\s+([0-9:/APM ]+)\)\s+(.*?)\s*$

This will break into three columns. It is a little defensive against odd characters.


Sample attached.


Hi @katherineL


Looking at this, part of the challenge is that what delimits the comment blocks for the row parsing also starts the rows. With the tokenize method, you need to specify what defines the delimiter by basically telling Alteryx what not to capture, using the (?:). You put in the delimiting character/string after the :. If there are more than 1, use the | for "or"


So, for the first RegEx parse tool, I'm using the tokenize method, split to rows, with the following as the Regular Expression: (.*?)(?:\(|$). This tells the tool to grab everything that's not either an end of the field, or an opening parenthesis. And the opening parenthesis or end of the field are the characters that delimit the rows.

The second RegEx parse uses the Parse method, with the Regular expression of (.+)\s-\s(.+?M)\)\s(.+$)

Finally, a formula tool replaces "Donnie Darko" with the code representing his name. I'm sure there's a way to do that in the second RegEx parse tool, just didn't figure it out.


And here's a great resource on the RegEx parse tool:


Lots of great replies and solutions! This was the simplest and most direct solution. Thanks @jdunkerley79 and all!