How can I jump to the next character matching a regex (see example below)? And if possible, enable highlighting of all the matching characters in the buffer when I jump for the first time.


This article says how to do it for non-ASCII, but I want to allow certain non-ASCII characters. I tried occur, but it doesn't seem to accept \x##. Regardless, jump and highlight is highly preferable.

Update: To use isearch for my purpose, I modified this snippet. However, it seems to do a literal search, even if I have t as argument. How do I make it do a regex search?

(defun my-search-word ()
  (isearch-forward t 1)
  (isearch-yank-string "[^ -~éèëê

Note: I had to include a literal newline in the search string to prevent highlighting all newlines.

  • \x## is an elisp read syntax escape sequence for chars and strings, so you can use it in elisp code, but you can't use it when entering a regexp interactively. e.g. Interactively the regexp [\x20] matches any one of \ , x, 2, and 0.
    – phils
    Apr 7, 2018 at 22:07
  • That said, if you have enable-recursive-minibuffers set (preferably with minibuffer-depth-indicate-mode enabled) then you can use elisp evaluation to enter an interactive value. e.g. At the regexp prompt, type C-u M-: "[^\x20-\x7eéèëê]" RET (double-quotes included), and then you edit the double-quotes out of the result.
    – phils
    Apr 7, 2018 at 22:14

1 Answer 1


During Isearch, including regexp searches, you can use C-x 8 RET to input any Unicode character. Completion is available against the character names, and you can alternatively enter the code point.

So you can search directly for the pattern [^ -~éèëê] instead of [^\x20-\x7eéèëê].

You can also use character composition and input methods during Isearch, as far as I know.

These approaches let you see the characters you are searching, in the regexp pattern itself.

  • Do you know how to make my snippet work, so I can easily jump into this mode of searching?
    – forthrin
    Apr 10, 2018 at 12:44
  • Did you try using \n instead of a literal newline char?
    – Drew
    Apr 10, 2018 at 14:46

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