Wipster Wipster - 3 months ago 10x
PHP Question

Removing curly braces outside texs math-mode

I want to have curly braces removed outside texs math-mode. For example:

Lorem Ipsum $\mathbb{R}$ dolore. {Author} $\{1,\dotsc,n}$

should become:

Lorem Ipsum $\mathbb{R}$ dolore. Author $\{1,\dotsc,n}$

As you can't really negate regular expressions I was looking into look-aheads and -behinds. That wasn't working for me as technically speaking, {Author} also is between two dollar signs. Some regex professional having some advice for me?

I'd love to only use preg_replace when the problem isn't too complex for this.


You can use this lookahead based regex:

$re = '/[{}](?![^$\s]*\$)/'; 
$str = "Lorem Ipsum \$\mathbb{R}\$ dolore. {Author} \${1,\dotsc,n}\$"; 

$result = preg_replace($re, '', $str);

//=> Lorem Ipsum $\mathbb{R}$ dolore. Author $\{1,\dotsc,n}$ 

RegEx Demo

(?![^$\s]*\$) is negative lookahead to assert we are not in math-mode by ensuring there is no $ ahead following non-space, non-dollar characters.

Alternatively you can use PCRE verbs (*SKIP)(*F) to skip the math-mode blocks and replace { and } in rest of the text:

$re = '~\$[^$\h]*\$(*SKIP)(*F)|[{}]~';
$result = preg_replace($re, '', $str);

RecEx Demo