I have an html-code which should be analyzed with String Patterns.

I would like to find all p-tags which contain a padding-left. And I would like to read out the value of the padding left.

I have defined a

regPx = RegularExpression["\\d+"];

It seems to work when I try to search the html by

listPx = 
 StringCases[normText[[n]], "padding-left: " ~~ x : regPx -> x]

But, I would like to find only those values which begin in a new p-tag. That's why I tried it with

listPx = 
  "<p " ~~ ___ ~~ "padding-left: " ~~ x : regPx -> x]

And this brings me strange results.

How do I have to define the pattern so that it works?

THX and best regards, JJJ

  • $\begingroup$ Sorry, you're right. I forgot to add it. But I have solved the problem (see my own answer below). But could you please have a look onto my comment to my answer? I got another issue... $\endgroup$
    – JJJanezic
    Commented Nov 6, 2022 at 9:17
  • $\begingroup$ Got is. See below. $\endgroup$
    – JJJanezic
    Commented Nov 6, 2022 at 9:28

2 Answers 2


I suggest not using some custom-written regex for parsing the whole HTML but a built-in importer for HTML instead.

(* Auxiliary function for extracting style values *)
extractValue[prop_][style_] := 
    StringSplit[#, ":"] & /@ StringSplit[style, ";"], {prop, val_} :> 

(* Find elements with given tag and given prop in style *)
findElements[doc_, tag_, prop_] := 
 extractValue[prop] /@ 
   XMLElement["p", {"style" -> style_, ___}, ___] /; 
     StringContainsQ[style, "padding-left"] :> style, Infinity]

(* Example HTML *)
html = "<html><body><div><p style=\"padding-left:1em;margin-left:2em\">Text</p></div> \
        <p style=\"color:red;padding-left:5px;\">Text</p><p style=\"color:blue\">Text</p> \

(* Import and parse HTML *)
doc = ImportString[html, {"HTML", "XMLObject"}];

(* Find p elements containing padding-left *)
findElements[doc, "p", "padding-left"]

{"1em", "5px"}


As written above, I have managed to analyze a string like this

<p style=""padding-left: 30px;""><span class=""bullet1"">1.</span>Text.</p>


listPx[[n]] = StringCases[normText[[n]], Shortest["<p " ~~ ___ ~~ "padding-left: " ~~ x : regPx___ ~~ "px" ~~ ___ ~~"<span class=\"bullet1\">" ~~ y : regText___ ~~ "</span>"] -> {x, y}];

so that I get back {30,1}.

The two regex used are defined as follows:

regPx = RegularExpression["\\d+"];
regText = RegularExpression["\\(?\\w+\\.?\\)?"];

But now, I have another string that contains a bit more information in the html-tag:

<p style=""padding-left: 30px;""><span class=""bullet1""><strong>&sect; 18.</strong> (1)</span>Text</p>

So, the additional information is the xxx tag.

How could I change my above mentioned string pattern, so that it "ignores" the strong-tag? I mean, if it's there: ignore it. If it isn't there, just go ahead. In both cases return the same as above: {30,1}

I just forgot to add "Shortest[]", so it went from the first occurrence of "<p " to the last of "padding-left: ".

The correct solution therefore is:

listPx = StringCases[normText[[n]],Shortest["<p " ~~ ___ ~~"padding-left: " ~~ ___ ~~ "px" ~~ ___ ~~"<span class=\"bullet1\">" ~~ ___ ~~ "</span>"]]

To combine it with RegEx this reads as follows:

listPx = StringCases[normText[[n]],Shortest["<p " ~~ ___ ~~"padding-left: " ~~ x : regPx___ ~~ "px" ~~ ___ ~~"<span class=\"bullet1\">" ~~ y : regText___ ~~ "</span>"] -> {x, y}]



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