Wild Cards in Description Keys

Many of us use wild cards in Civil 3D description key codes to help sort through the raw descriptions of points and match them with description key codes.  However, it is easy to forget that there are many different wild cards that work with Civil 3D description keys and limit ourselves to using just the standard * (asterisk).  Some of these less popular wild cards are very powerful and may give you just the functionality that you need to quickly sort and manage your point data without making tedious, manual changes or requiring changes to your field crew’s procedures.

Below is a table of wild card characters you can use in a description key code:

Character
Function in Description Key Code
# (pound) Matches any single numeric digit.
@ (at) Matches any alphabetic character.
. (period) Matches any non-alphanumeric character.
* (asterisk) Matches any string and can be used anywhere in the search string.
? (question mark) Matches any single character, for example, ?BC matches ABC and 3BC.
~ (tilde) Matches anything but the pattern, for example, ~*AB* matches all strings that don’t contain AB.
[…] (brackets) Matches any one of the characters enclosed, for example, [AB]C matches AC and BC.
[~…] Matches any character not enclosed, for example, [~AB]C matches XC but not AC.
– (hyphen) Inside brackets, specifies a range for a single character, for example [A-G]C matches AC, BC, through GC, but not HC.
‘ (reverse quote) Reads the next characters exactly, for example, ‘*AB matches *AB.

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