This documentation is archived and is not being maintained.

MatchCollection Class

Represents the set of successful matches found by iteratively applying a regular expression pattern to the input string.

Namespace:  System.Text.RegularExpressions
Assembly:  System (in System.dll)

public class MatchCollection : ICollection, 

The collection is immutable (read-only) and has no public constructor. The Regex.Matches method returns a MatchCollection object.

When applying a regular expression pattern to a particular input string, the regular expression engine uses either of two techniques to build the MatchCollection object:

  • Direct evaluation.

    The MatchCollection object is populated all at once, with all matches resulting from a particular call to the Regex.Matches method. This technique is used when the collection's Count property is accessed. It typically is the more expensive method of populating the collection and entails a greater performance hit.

  • Lazy evaluation.

    The MatchCollection object is populated as needed on a match-by-match basis. It is equivalent to the regular expression engine calling the Regex.Match method repeatedly and adding each match to the collection. This technique is used when the collection is accessed through its GetEnumerator method, or when it is accessed using the foreach statement (in C#) or the For Each...Next statement (in Visual Basic).

The following example code illustrates the use of the MatchCollection class to interrogate a set of Match instances.

using System;
using System.Text.RegularExpressions;

public class Test

    public static void Main ()

        // Define a regular expression for repeated words.
        Regex rx = new Regex(@"\b(?<word>\w+)\s+(\k<word>)\b",
          RegexOptions.Compiled | RegexOptions.IgnoreCase);

        // Define a test string.        
        string text = "The the quick brown fox  fox jumped over the lazy dog dog.";

        // Find matches.
        MatchCollection matches = rx.Matches(text);

        // Report the number of matches found.
        Console.WriteLine("{0} matches found in:\n   {1}", 

        // Report on each match. 
        foreach (Match match in matches)
            GroupCollection groups = match.Groups;
            Console.WriteLine("'{0}' repeated at positions {1} and {2}",  

// The example produces the following output to the console: 
//       3 matches found in: 
//          The the quick brown fox  fox jumped over the lazy dog dog. 
//       'The' repeated at positions 0 and 4 
//       'fox' repeated at positions 20 and 25 
//       'dog' repeated at positions 50 and 54


Any public static (Shared in Visual Basic) members of this type are thread safe. Any instance members are not guaranteed to be thread safe.

Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP SP2, Windows XP Media Center Edition, Windows XP Professional x64 Edition, Windows XP Starter Edition, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2000 SP4, Windows Millennium Edition, Windows 98, Windows CE, Windows Mobile for Smartphone, Windows Mobile for Pocket PC, Xbox 360, Zune

The .NET Framework and .NET Compact Framework do not support all versions of every platform. For a list of the supported versions, see .NET Framework System Requirements.

.NET Framework

Supported in: 3.5, 3.0, 2.0, 1.1, 1.0

.NET Compact Framework

Supported in: 3.5, 2.0, 1.0

XNA Framework

Supported in: 3.0, 2.0, 1.0