Performs a wild-card pattern match on a string

(wcmatch string pattern) 



A string to be compared. The comparison is case-sensitive, so uppercase and lowercase characters must match.


A string containing the pattern to match against string. The pattern can contain the wild-card pattern-matching characters shown in the table Wild-card characters. You can use commas in a pattern to enter more than one pattern condition. Only the first 500 characters (approximately) of the string and pattern are compared; anything beyond that is ignored.

Both arguments can be either a quoted string or a string variable. It is valid to use variables and values returned from AutoLISP functions for string and pattern values.

Return Values

If string and pattern match, wcmatch returns T; otherwise, wcmatch returns nil.

Wild-card characters



# (pound)

Matches any single numeric digit.

@ (at)

Matches any single alphabetic character.

. (period)

Matches any single nonalphanumeric character.

* (asterisk)

Matches any character sequence, including an empty one, and it can be used anywhere in the search pattern: at the beginning, middle, or end.

? (question mark)

Matches any single character.

~ (tilde)

If it is the first character in the pattern, it matches anything except the pattern.


Matches any one of the characters enclosed.


Matches any single character not enclosed.

- (hyphen)

Used inside brackets to specify a range for a single character.

, (comma)

Separates two patterns.

` (reverse quote)

Escapes special characters (reads next character literally).


The following command tests a string to see if it begins with the character N:

Command: (wcmatch "Name" "N*")


The following example performs three comparisons. If any of the three pattern conditions is met, wcmatch returns T. The tests are:

If any of the three pattern conditions is met, wcmatch returns T:

Command: (wcmatch "Name" "???,~*m*,N*")


In this example, the last condition was met, so wcmatch returned T.

Using Escape Characters with wcmatch

To test for a wild-card character in a string, you can use the single reverse-quote character (`) to escape the character. Escape means that the character following the single reverse quote is not read as a wild-card character; it is compared at its face value. For example, to search for a comma anywhere in the string β€œName”, enter the following:

Command: (wcmatch "Name" "*`,*")


Both the C and AutoLISP programming languages use the backslash (\) as an escape character, so you need two backslashes (\\) to produce one backslash in a string. To test for a backslash character anywhere in β€œName”, use the following function call:

Command: (wcmatch "Name" "*`\\*")


All characters enclosed in brackets ([ . . . ]) are read literally, so there is no need to escape them, with the following exceptions: the tilde character (~) is read literally only when it is not the first bracketed character (as in "[A~BC]"); otherwise, it is read as the negation character, meaning that wcmatch should match all characters except those following the tilde (as in "[~ABC]"). The dash character (-) is read literally only when it is the first or last bracketed character (as in "[-ABC]" or "[ABC-]") or when it follows a leading tilde (as in "[~-ABC]"). Otherwise, the dash character (-) is used within brackets to specify a range of values for a specific character. The range works only for single characters, so "STR[1-38]" matches STR1, STR2, STR3, and STR8, and "[A-Z]" matches any single uppercase letter.

The closing bracket character (]) is also read literally if it is the first bracketed character or if it follows a leading tilde (as in "[ ]ABC]" or "[~]ABC]").

NoteBecause additional wild-card characters might be added in future releases of AutoLISP, it is a good idea to escape all nonalphanumeric characters in your pattern to ensure upward compatibility.