ExpressionEngine Docs

String Helper

The String Helper file contains functions that assist in working with strings. This helper is loaded using the following code:


Available Functions

random_string([$type = 'alnum'[, $len = 8]])

Parameter Type Description
$type String Randomization type
$len Int Output string length
Returns String A random string

Generates a random string based on the type and length you specify. Useful for creating passwords or generating random hashes.

The first parameter specifies the type of string, the second parameter specifies the length. The following choices are available:

Usage example:

echo random_string('alnum', 16);

Note: Usage of the unique and encrypt types is DEPRECATED. They are just aliases for md5 and sha1 respectively.

increment_string($str[, $separator = '_'[, $first = 1]])

Parameter Type Description
$str String Input string
$separator String Separator to append a duplicate number with
$first Int Starting number
Returns String An incremented string

Increments a string by appending a number to it or increasing the number. Useful for creating “copies” or a file or duplicating database content which has unique titles or slugs.

Usage example:

echo increment_string('file', '_'); // "file_1"
echo increment_string('file', '-', 2); // "file-2"
echo increment_string('file_4'); // "file_5"


Parameter Type Description
$args Mixed A variable number of arguments
Returns Mixed Alternated string(s)

Allows two or more items to be alternated between, when cycling through a loop. Example:

for ($i = 0; $i < 10; $i++)
    echo alternator('string one', 'string two');

You can add as many parameters as you want, and with each iteration of your loop the next item will be returned.

for ($i = 0; $i < 10; $i++)
    echo alternator('one', 'two', 'three', 'four', 'five');

Note: To use multiple separate calls to this function simply call the function with no arguments to re-initialize.


Parameter Type Description
$str String Input string
Returns String A string with normalized slashes

Converts double slashes in a string to a single slash, except those found in URL protocol prefixes (e.g. https://).


$string = "";
echo reduce_double_slashes($string); // results in ""


Parameter Type Description
$data Mixed Input string or an array of strings
Returns Mixed String(s) with stripped slashes

Removes any slashes from an array of strings.


$str = array(
    'question'  => 'Is your name O\'reilly?',
    'answer' => 'No, my name is O\'connor.'

$str = strip_slashes($str);

The above will return the following array:

    'question'  => "Is your name O'reilly?",
    'answer' => "No, my name is O'connor."

Note: For historical reasons, this function will also accept and handle string inputs. This however makes it just an alias for stripslashes().


Parameter Type Description
$str String Input string
Returns String Slash-trimmed string

Removes any leading/trailing slashes from a string. Example:

$string = "/this/that/theother/";
echo trim_slashes($string); // results in this/that/theother

reduce_multiples($str[, $character = ''[, $trim = FALSE]])

Parameter Type Description
$str String Text to search in
$character String Character to reduce
$trim Bool Whether to also trim the specified character
Returns String Reduced string

Reduces multiple instances of a particular character occurring directly after each other. Example:

$string = "Fred, Bill,, Joe, Jimmy";
$string = reduce_multiples($string,","); //results in "Fred, Bill, Joe, Jimmy"

If the third parameter is set to TRUE it will remove occurrences of the character at the beginning and the end of the string. Example:

$string = ",Fred, Bill,, Joe, Jimmy,";
$string = reduce_multiples($string, ", ", TRUE); //results in "Fred, Bill, Joe, Jimmy"


Parameter Type Description
$str String Input string
Returns String String with quotes converted to HTML entities

Converts single and double quotes in a string to the corresponding HTML entities. Example:

$string = "Joe's \"dinner\"";
$string = quotes_to_entities($string); //results in "Joe&#39;s &quot;dinner&quot;"


Parameter Type Description
$str String Input string
Returns String String with quotes stripped

Removes single and double quotes from a string. Example:

$string = "Joe's \"dinner\"";
$string = strip_quotes($string); //results in "Joes dinner"


Parameter Type Description
$string String The string to trim
Returns String The trimmed string

Just like trim, but also removes non-breaking spaces


Parameter Type Description
$string String The string to check
Returns Mixed The surrounding character, or FALSE if there isn’t one

Returns the surrounding character of a string, if it exists