NoMoreErrors NoMoreErrors - 2 months ago 15x
Java Question

How do I use a delimiter in Java Scanner?

sc = new Scanner(new File(dataFile));

I don't understand how delimiter works, can someone explain this in layman terms?


The scanner can also use delimiters other than whitespace.

Easy example from Scanner API:

 String input = "1 fish 2 fish red fish blue fish";

 // \\s* means 0 or more repetitions of any whitespace character 
 // fish is the pattern to find
 Scanner s = new Scanner(input).useDelimiter("\\s*fish\\s*");

 System.out.println(s.nextInt());   // prints: 1
 System.out.println(s.nextInt());   // prints: 2
 System.out.println(;      // prints: red
 System.out.println(;      // prints: blue

 // don't forget to close the scanner!!

The point is to understand the regular expressions (regex) inside the Scanner::useDelimiter. Find an useDelimiter tutorial here.

To start with regular expressions here you can find a nice tutorial.


abc…    Letters
123…    Digits
\d      Any Digit
\D      Any Non-digit character
.       Any Character
\.      Period
[abc]   Only a, b, or c
[^abc]  Not a, b, nor c
[a-z]   Characters a to z
[0-9]   Numbers 0 to 9
\w      Any Alphanumeric character
\W      Any Non-alphanumeric character
{m}     m Repetitions
{m,n}   m to n Repetitions
*       Zero or more repetitions
+       One or more repetitions
?       Optional character
\s      Any Whitespace
\S      Any Non-whitespace character
^…$     Starts and ends
(…)     Capture Group
(a(bc)) Capture Sub-group
(.*)    Capture all
(ab|cd) Matches ab or cd