Since: DataTables 1.11

Escape special characters in a regular expression string.


When working with regular expressions it can often be useful to escape input so formatted strings with characters that have special meaning in a regular expression will simply perform a character match. There are a number of special characters in Javascript's regular expressions and DataTables requires the ability to escape these strings internally (for user input of search data) - this method exposes that ability externally.

This is a utility method that is provided for use by extension and plug-in authors. Its use does not directly effect a DataTable or DataTables configuration. It is used internally by DataTables and is made available in the public API to help promote code reuse for extension authors.

Please note that this is a static function and is accessed through the DataTable or $.fn.dataTable object, not an API instance. It can be accessed at any time, even before any DataTables have been created on the page.

Prior to DataTables 1.11 this method could be accessed through the $.fn.dataTable object only. As of 1.11, either DataTable or $.fn.dataTable can be used.


function escapeRegex( str )


Escape special characters in a regular expression string.


Escaped string


Perform an escape match search using select elements:

var table = new DataTable('#myTable');

	.each(function (i) {
		var column = table.column(i);
		var select = $('<select><option value=""></option></select>')
			.on('change', function () {
				// Escape the expression so we can perform a regex match
				var val = $.fn.dataTable.util.escapeRegex($(this).val());

				column.search(val ? '^' + val + '$' : '', true, false).draw();

			.each(function (d, j) {
				select.append('<option value="' + d + '">' + d + '</option>');


The following options are directly related and may also be useful in your application development.