Extracting information from a text using Regex and Match in C# .NET

Occasionally you need to extract some information from a free-text form. Consider the following text:

First name: Elvis
Last name: Presley
Address: 1 Heaven Street
City: Memphis
State: TN
Zip: 12345

Say you need to extract the full name, the address, the city, the state and the zip code into a pipe-delimited string. The following function is one option:

private static string ExtractJist(string freeText)
	StringBuilder patternBuilder = new StringBuilder();
	patternBuilder.Append(@"First name: (?<fn>.*$)\n")
		.Append("Last name: (?<ln>.*$)\n")
		.Append("Address: (?<address>.*$)\n")
		.Append("City: (?<city>.*$)\n")
		.Append("State: (?<state>.*$)\n")
		.Append("Zip: (?<zip>.*$)");
	Match match = Regex.Match(freeText, patternBuilder.ToString(), RegexOptions.Multiline | RegexOptions.IgnoreCase);
	string fullname = string.Concat(match.Groups["fn"], " ", match.Groups["ln"]);
	string address = match.Groups["address"].ToString();
	string city = match.Groups["city"].ToString();
	string state = match.Groups["state"].ToString();
	string zip = match.Groups["zip"].ToString();
	return string.Concat(fullname, "|", address, "|", city, "|", state, "|", zip);

Call the function as follows:

string source = @"First name: Elvis
Last name: Presley
Address: 1 Heaven Street
City: Memphis
State: TN
Zip: 12345
string extracted = ExtractJist(source);

View all posts related to string and text operations here.


About Andras Nemes
I'm a .NET/Java developer living and working in Stockholm, Sweden.

3 Responses to Extracting information from a text using Regex and Match in C# .NET

  1. Reblogged this on public interface IReadable { IEnumerable Read(); } and commented:
    Regex has never been easy for me for some reason :/

  2. Andras Nemes says:

    It’s probably not easy for anyone for that matter, it’s so cryptic. I know a handful of them, otherwise I need to google for a solution.

  3. Genti says:

    What if the order of the subjects (first name, last name etc) were arbitrary?

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