Unicode Properties

Unicode is distinguished from other coding standards not only with respect to its level of completeness including all possibly used character sets. Moreover, much effort has been accomplished in categorizing characters, providing terminology for concepts related to letter systems and defining character properties. Unicode defines a fixed set of properties that a character can have. The most important property for a lexical analyzer is the ‘code point’, i.e. the integer value that represents a character. However, there are other interesting properties that simplify the description of regular expressions.

Quex supports Unicode Standard Properties through the \P{..} expressions, where the P stands for property. For a quex user properties can be devided into two categories:

  • Binary Properties, i.e. properties that a character either has or has not. For example, a character is either a white space character or it is not. Sets of characters having a binary property binary_property can be accessed through \P{binary_property}.
  • Non-Binary Properties, i.e. properties that require a particular value related to it. For example, each character belongs to a certain script. A character belonging to the greek script has the property ‘Script=Greek’. Sets of characters that have a certain property setting can be accessed via \P{property=value}.

Note, that the result of a \P{...} expression is always a set of characters. Therefore, it cannot be used inside a quotes string expression. For convinience, the properties ‘Name’ and ‘General_Category’ are provided through the shortcuts \N{...} and \G{...}. Thus, \N{MIDDLE DOT} is a shorthand for \P{Name=MIDDLE DOT} and \G{Uppercase_Letter} is a shorthand for \P{General_Category=Uppercase_Letter}.

Unicode 5.0 provides more than 17000 character names, so please consult the standard literature for settings of the Name property footnote:[Alternatively, consider the file UnicodeData.txt that comes with the quex application]. Note also, that names as defined in Unicode 1.0 can be accessed through the ‘Unicode_1_Name’ property. This property also contains names of control functions according to ISO 6429 cite{}.

As for the General_Category property, the appendix provides the list of possible settings <<sec-appendix-property-general-category>>. At this place, more detailed information is specified about provided properties, their meaning, and settings of other likely-to-be-used properties.

When starting to write lexical analyzers using a wider range of unicode characters the reliance on properties becomes almost unavoidable. However, the huge volume of characters requires some sophisticated tool to browse through properties and related character sets. For this purpose quex provides a query mode. This mode allows the user to specify some queries on the command line and get the response immediately on the console. This subject is handled in section <<sec-query-intro>>.

As an option to facilitate the specification of property values, quex allows you to use wildcards *, ? and simple character sets such as as [AEIOUX-Z] for the characters A, E, I, O, U, X, Y, and Z. If the first character is an ! then the complementary character set is considered. This is conform with unix file name matching. set specifications such as [a-z] such to facilitate the search. It is advisable, though, to use quex’s query functionality first <<sec-query-intro>> in order to get an impression to what value such a wild-card expression expands.

UCS Property Descriptions

This section focuses on the Unicode Character Properties as they are supported by quex. The current version of Quex is based on Unicode 5.0. It uses the databases as provided by the Unicode Consortium and it is likely that Quex integrates the property system of any later standard as soon as it is in a major state. In particular, Unicode Character Properties are used to define _sets of characters_ to be matched during lexical analysis. This excludes some properties from consideration, namely the properties tagged as string property types and the ‘quick-check’ properties (see <<UCS#15>>). The following properties are explicitly supported by quex. The expressions in brackets are the aliases that can be used as a shorthand for the full name of the property.

Binary Properties

ASCII_Hex_Digit(AHex), Alphabetic(Alpha), Bidi_Control(Bidi_C), Bidi_Mirrored(Bidi_M), Composition_Exclusion(CE), Dash(Dash), Default_Ignorable_Code_Point(DI), Deprecated(Dep), Diacritic(Dia), Expands_On_NFC(XO_NFC), Expands_On_NFD(XO_NFD), Expands_On_NFKC(XO_NFKC), Expands_On_NFKD(XO_NFKD), Extender(Ext), Full_Composition_Exclusion(Comp_Ex), Grapheme_Base(Gr_Base), Grapheme_Extend(Gr_Ext), Grapheme_Link(Gr_Link), Hex_Digit(Hex), Hyphen(Hyphen), IDS_Binary_Operator(IDSB), IDS_Trinary_Operator(IDST), ID_Continue(IDC), ID_Start(IDS), Ideographic(Ideo), Join_Control(Join_C), Logical_Order_Exception(LOE), Lowercase(Lower), Math(Math), Noncharacter_Code_Point(NChar), Other_Alphabetic(OAlpha), Other_Default_Ignorable_Code_Point(ODI), Other_Grapheme_Extend(OGr_Ext), Other_ID_Continue(OIDC), Other_ID_Start(OIDS), Other_Lowercase(OLower), Other_Math(OMath), Other_Uppercase(OUpper), Pattern_Syntax(Pat_Syn), Pattern_White_Space(Pat_WS), Quotation_Mark(QMark), Radical(Radical), STerm(STerm), Soft_Dotted(SD), Terminal_Punctuation(Term), Unified_Ideograph(UIdeo), Uppercase(Upper), Variation_Selector(VS), White_Space(WSpace), XID_Continue(XIDC), XID_Start(XIDS),

Non-Binary Properties

Age(age), Bidi_Class(bc), Bidi_Mirroring_Glyph(bmg), Block(blk), Canonical_Combining_Class(ccc), Case_Folding(cf), Decomposition_Mapping(dm), Decomposition_Type(dt), East_Asian_Width(ea), FC_NFKC_Closure(FC_NFKC), General_Category(gc), Grapheme_Cluster_Break(GCB), Hangul_Syllable_Type(hst), ISO_Comment(isc), Joining_Group(jg), Joining_Type(jt), Line_Break(lb), Lowercase_Mapping(lc), NFC_Quick_Check(NFC_QC), NFD_Quick_Check(NFD_QC), NFKC_Quick_Check(NFKC_QC), NFKD_Quick_Check(NFKD_QC), Name(na), Numeric_Type(nt), Numeric_Value(nv), Script(sc), Sentence_Break(SB), Simple_Case_Folding(sfc), Simple_Lowercase_Mapping(slc), Simple_Titlecase_Mapping(stc), Simple_Uppercase_Mapping(suc), Special_Case_Condition(scc), Titlecase_Mapping(tc), Unicode_1_Name(na1), Unicode_Radical_Stroke(URS), Uppercase_Mapping(uc), Word_Break(WB),

Binary properties can simply be applied using an expression such as \P{ID_Start}, which results in the set of characters that can build the beginning of an identifier in usual programming languages. Non-binary properties require values and are specified in the form \P{Property=Value}. The supported values for each non-binary property are the following: Some settings can be provided using shorthand value aliases. Those aliases are specified in brackets.


1.1, 2.0, 2.1, 3.0, 3.1, 3.2, 4.0, 4.1, 5.0.


Arabic_Letter(AL), Arabic_Number(AN), Boundary_Neutral(BN), Common_Separator(CS), European_Number(EN), European_Separator(ES), European_Terminator(ET), Left_To_Right(L), Left_To_Right_Embedding(LRE), Left_To_Right_Override(LRO), Nonspacing_Mark(NSM), Other_Neutral(ON), Paragraph_Separator(B), Pop_Directional_Format(PDF), Right_To_Left(R), Right_To_Left_Embedding(RLE), Right_To_Left_Override(RLO), Segment_Separator(S), White_Space(WS).


(not supported)


Aegean_Numbers, Alphabetic_Presentation_Forms, Ancient_Greek_Musical_Notation, Ancient_Greek_Numbers, Arabic, Arabic_Presentation_Forms-A, Arabic_Presentation_Forms-B, Arabic_Supplement, Armenian, Arrows, Balinese, Basic_Latin, Bengali, Block_Elements, Bopomofo, Bopomofo_Extended, Box_Drawing, Braille_Patterns, Buginese, Buhid, Byzantine_Musical_Symbols, CJK_Compatibility, CJK_Compatibility_Forms, CJK_Compatibility_Ideographs, CJK_Compatibility_Ideographs_Supplement, CJK_Radicals_Supplement, CJK_Strokes, CJK_Symbols_and_Punctuation, CJK_Unified_Ideographs, CJK_Unified_Ideographs_Extension_A, CJK_Unified_Ideographs_Extension_B, Cherokee, Combining_Diacritical_Marks, Combining_Diacritical_Marks_Supplement, Combining_Diacritical_Marks_for_Symbols, Combining_Half_Marks, Control_Pictures, Coptic, Counting_Rod_Numerals, Cuneiform, Cuneiform_Numbers_and_Punctuation, Currency_Symbols, Cypriot_Syllabary, Cyrillic, Cyrillic_Supplement, Deseret, Devanagari, Dingbats, Enclosed_Alphanumerics, Enclosed_CJK_Letters_and_Months, Ethiopic, Ethiopic_Extended, Ethiopic_Supplement, General_Punctuation, Geometric_Shapes, Georgian, Georgian_Supplement, Glagolitic, Gothic, Greek_Extended, Greek_and_Coptic, Gujarati, Gurmukhi, Halfwidth_and_Fullwidth_Forms, Hangul_Compatibility_Jamo, Hangul_Jamo, Hangul_Syllables, Hanunoo, Hebrew, High_Private_Use_Surrogates, High_Surrogates, Hiragana, IPA_Extensions, Ideographic_Description_Characters, Kanbun, Kangxi_Radicals, Kannada, Katakana, Katakana_Phonetic_Extensions, Kharoshthi, Khmer, Khmer_Symbols, Lao, Latin-1_Supplement, Latin_Extended-A, Latin_Extended-B, Latin_Extended-C, Latin_Extended-D, Latin_Extended_Additional, Letterlike_Symbols, Limbu, Linear_B_Ideograms, Linear_B_Syllabary, Low_Surrogates, Malayalam, Mathematical_Alphanumeric_Symbols, Mathematical_Operators, Miscellaneous_Mathematical_Symbols-A, Miscellaneous_Mathematical_Symbols-B, Miscellaneous_Symbols, Miscellaneous_Symbols_and_Arrows, Miscellaneous_Technical, Modifier_Tone_Letters, Mongolian, Musical_Symbols, Myanmar, NKo, New_Tai_Lue, Number_Forms, Ogham, Old_Italic, Old_Persian, Optical_Character_Recognition, Oriya, Osmanya, Phags-pa, Phoenician, Phonetic_Extensions, Phonetic_Extensions_Supplement, Private_Use_Area, Runic, Shavian, Sinhala, Small_Form_Variants, Spacing_Modifier_Letters, Specials, Superscripts_and_Subscripts, Supplemental_Arrows-A, Supplemental_Arrows-B, Supplemental_Mathematical_Operators, Supplemental_Punctuation, Supplementary_Private_Use_Area-A, Supplementary_Private_Use_Area-B, Syloti_Nagri, Syriac, Tagalog, Tagbanwa, Tags, Tai_Le, Tai_Xuan_Jing_Symbols, Tamil, Telugu, Thaana, Thai, Tibetan, Tifinagh, Ugaritic, Unified_Canadian_Aboriginal_Syllabics, Variation_Selectors, Variation_Selectors_Supplement, Vertical_Forms, Yi_Radicals, Yi_Syllables, Yijing_Hexagram_Symbols(n/a).


0, 1, 10, 103, 107, 11, 118, 12, 122, 129, 13, 130, 132, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 202, 21, 216, 218, 22, 220, 222, 224, 226, 228, 23, 230, 232, 233, 234, 24, 240, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 7, 8, 84, 9, 91.


(not supported)


(not supported)


Canonical(can), Circle(enc), Compat(com), Final(fin), Font(font), Fraction(fra), Initial(init), Isolated(iso), Medial(med), Narrow(nar), Nobreak(nb), Small(sml), Square(sqr), Sub(sub), Super(sup), Vertical(vert), Wide(wide).


A, F, H, N, Na, W.


(not supported)


Close_Punctuation(Pe), Connector_Punctuation(Pc), Control(Cc), Currency_Symbol(Sc), Dash_Punctuation(Pd), Decimal_Number(Nd), Enclosing_Mark(Me), Final_Punctuation(Pf), Format(Cf), Initial_Punctuation(Pi), Letter_Number(Nl), Line_Separator(Zl), Lowercase_Letter(Ll), Math_Symbol(Sm), Modifier_Letter(Lm), Modifier_Symbol(Sk), Nonspacing_Mark(Mn), Open_Punctuation(Ps), Other_Letter(Lo), Other_Number(No), Other_Punctuation(Po), Other_Symbol(So), Paragraph_Separator(Zp), Private_Use(Co), Space_Separator(Zs), Spacing_Mark(Mc), Surrogate(Cs), Titlecase_Letter(Lt), Uppercase_Letter(Lu).


CR(CR), Control(CN), Extend(EX), L(L), LF(LF), LV(LV), LVT(LVT), T(T), V(V).


L, LV, LVT, T, V.


*, Abkhasian, Adrar_yaj, Aristeri_keraia, Assamese, Byelorussian, Dasia, Dexia_keraia, Dialytika, Enn, Enotikon, Erotimatiko, Faliscan, German, Greenlandic, Icelandic, Kaeriten, Kanbun_Tateten, Khutsuri, Maatham, Mandarin_Chinese_first_tone, Mandarin_Chinese_fourth_tone, Mandarin_Chinese_light_tone, Mandarin_Chinese_second_tone, Mandarin_Chinese_third_tone, Merpadi, Naal, Oscan, Oxia,_Tonos, Patru, Psili, Rupai, Sami, Serbocroatian, Tuareg_yab, Tuareg_yaw, Ukrainian, Umbrian, Varavu, Varia, Varudam, Vietnamese, Vrachy, a, aa, ae, ai, ang_kang_ye, ang_kang_yun, anusvara, ardhacandra, ash_*, au, b_*, bb_*, bha, break, bs_*, bub_chey, c_*, candrabindu, cha, chang_tyu, che_go, che_ta, che_tsa_chen, chu_chen, colon, d_*, danda, dd_*, dda, ddha, deka_chig, deka_dena, deka_nyi, deka_sum, dena_chig, dena_nyi, dena_sum, dha, di_ren_*, dong_tsu, dorje, dorje_gya_dram, double_danda, drilbu, drul_shey, du_ta, dzu_ta_me_long_chen, dzu_ta_shi_mig_chen, e, escape, g_*, gg_*, gha, golden_number_17, golden_number_18, golden_number_19, gs_*, gug_ta_ye, gug_ta_yun, gup, gya_tram_shey, h_*, halfwidth_katakana-hiragana_semi-voiced_sound_mark, halfwidth_katakana-hiragana_voiced_sound_mark, harpoon_yaz, hdpe, hlak_ta, honorific_section, hwair, i, ii, independent, j_*, je_su_nga_ro, jha, ji_ta, jj_*, k_*, ka_sho_yik_go, ka_shog_gi_go_gyen, kha, kur_yik_go, kuruka, kuruka_shi_mik_chen, kyu_pa, l_*, lakkhang_yao, lazy_S, lb_*, ldpe, lg_*, lh_*, line-breaking_hyphen, lm_*, lp_*, ls_*, lt_*, m_*, mai_taikhu, mai_yamok, mar_tse, mathematical_use, n_*, nam_chey, nan_de, ng_*, nge_zung_gor_ta, nge_zung_nyi_da, nh_*, nikkhahit, nj_*, nna, norbu, norbu_nyi_khyi, norbu_shi_khyi, norbu_sum_khyi, not_independent, nukta, nyam_yig_gi_go_gyen, nyi_da_na_da, nyi_shey, nyi_tsek_shey, o, oe, or_shuruq, other, p_*, paiyan_noi, pause, pema_den, pete, pha, phurba, pp, ps, pug, punctuation_ring, pvc, r_*, ren_*, ren_di_*, ren_ren_*, ren_tian_*, repha, rinchen_pung_shey, s_*, sara_ai_mai_malai, sara_ai_mai_muan, sara_uue, section, sha, shey, ss_*, ssa, t_*, tamatart, ter_tsek, ter_yik_go_a_thung, ter_yik_go_wum_nam_chey_ma, ter_yik_go_wum_ter_tsek_ma, tha, tian_ren_*, trachen_char_ta, tru_chen_ging, tru_me_ging, tsa_tru, tsek, tsek_shey, tsek_tar, tta, ttha, u, uu, virama, visarga, vocalic_l, vocalic_ll, vocalic_r, vocalic_rr, yang_ta, yar_tse, yik_go_dun_ma, yik_go_kab_ma, yik_go_pur_shey_ma, yik_go_tsek_shey_ma.


Ain, Alaph, Alef, Beh, Beth, Dal, Dalath_Rish, E, Fe, Feh, Final_Semkath, Gaf, Gamal, Hah, Hamza_On_Heh_Goal, He, Heh, Heh_Goal, Heth, Kaf, Kaph, Khaph, Knotted_Heh, Lam, Lamadh, Meem, Mim, Noon, Nun, Pe, Qaf, Qaph, Reh, Reversed_Pe, Sad, Sadhe, Seen, Semkath, Shin, Swash_Kaf, Syriac_Waw, Tah, Taw, Teh_Marbuta, Teth, Waw, Yeh, Yeh_Barree, Yeh_With_Tail, Yudh, Yudh_He, Zain, Zhain(n/a).


C, D, R, T.


AI, AL, B2, BA, BB, BK, CB, CL, CM, CR, EX, GL, H2(H2), H3(H3), HY, ID, IN, IS, JL(JL), JT(JT), JV(JV), LF, NL, NS, NU, OP, PO, PR, QU, SA, SG, SP, SY, WJ, XX, ZW.


(not supported)


(not supported)


(not supported)


(not supported)


(not supported)


(see Unicode Standard Literature)


Decimal(De), Digit(Di), Numeric(Nu).


0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9.


Arabic(Arab), Armenian(Armn), Balinese(Bali), Bengali(Beng), Bopomofo(Bopo), Braille(Brai), Buginese(Bugi), Buhid(Buhd), Canadian_Aboriginal(Cans), Cherokee(Cher), Common(Zyyy), Coptic(Copt), Cuneiform(Xsux), Cypriot(Cprt), Cyrillic(Cyrl), Deseret(Dsrt), Devanagari(Deva), Ethiopic(Ethi), Georgian(Geor), Glagolitic(Glag), Gothic(Goth), Greek(Grek), Gujarati(Gujr), Gurmukhi(Guru), Han(Hani), Hangul(Hang), Hanunoo(Hano), Hebrew(Hebr), Hiragana(Hira), Inherited(Qaai), Kannada(Knda), Katakana(Kana), Kharoshthi(Khar), Khmer(Khmr), Lao(Laoo), Latin(Latn), Limbu(Limb), Linear_B(Linb), Malayalam(Mlym), Mongolian(Mong), Myanmar(Mymr), New_Tai_Lue(Talu), Nko(Nkoo), Ogham(Ogam), Old_Italic(Ital), Old_Persian(Xpeo), Oriya(Orya), Osmanya(Osma), Phags_Pa(Phag), Phoenician(Phnx), Runic(Runr), Shavian(Shaw), Sinhala(Sinh), Syloti_Nagri(Sylo), Syriac(Syrc), Tagalog(Tglg), Tagbanwa(Tagb), Tai_Le(Tale), Tamil(Taml), Telugu(Telu), Thaana(Thaa), Thai(Thai), Tibetan(Tibt), Tifinagh(Tfng), Ugaritic(Ugar), Yi(Yiii).


ATerm(AT), Close(CL), Format(FO), Lower(LO), Numeric(NU), OLetter(LE), STerm(ST), Sep(SE), Sp(SP), Upper(UP).


(not supported)


(not supported)


(not supported)


(not supported)


(not supported)


(not supported)


(see Unicode Standard Literature)


(not supported)


(not supported)


ALetter(LE), ExtendNumLet(EX), Format(FO), Katakana(KA), MidLetter(ML), MidNum(MN), Numeric(NU).