I'm trying to extract 456 from the string :123:456: as follows:

select regexp_substr(':123:456:', ':(\d+):', 1, 2, 'i', 1) from dual

However, this query returns null. What am I doing wrong?


2 Answers 2


This works fine:

select regexp_substr(':123:456:', '(\d+):', 1, 2, 'i', 1) from dual;

I think yours fails because the opening and closing colons won't get matched by both occurrences (because the first match is greedy).

select regexp_substr(':123:456:','[^:]+',2,2) from dual
  • 1
    If this is substantially different from the accepted answer posted by Phil 10 months ago, please add some context explaining why. Jul 9, 2013 at 13:58
  • This will match on :123:abc: which doesn't sound desirable, but fail to match on ::456: which might be.
    – Mat
    Jul 9, 2013 at 17:03

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