2.3. Matching/Filtering of IDA types

IDA exposes a number of types as lists that can be viewed within a window. Although these lists can be interacted with, the only way a user has to filter them is via doing text searches and this is moreso used for navigation. When interacting with these types programmatically, there are a number of ways that a user can implement to filter or match them.

However, this requires the user to implement these methods themselves, which can potentially require time searching through documentation in order to identify the required functionality in order to extract the required properties to filter said types.

This project actually implements a number of these filtering methods to avoid the user having to implement this themselves. This is done by providing what are known as Common matcher functions for the various types that IDA exposes to a user. These Common matcher functions let a user provide a keyword argument describing the method to filter with which will then be used to return the filtered types to the user.

Some examples of the common keyword arguments that are provided are:

address Match according to an address.
name Match according to the exact name specified.
like Filter according to a glob being applied to a name
regex Filter according to a regular-expression being applied to a name.
predicate Filtering according to a callable that critiques the type returning true or false.

These keywords are then exposed to users via 3 general function styles. Each matcher will typically provide functionality similar to the namespace.list(), namespace.search(), and namespace.iterate() functions described within this document. This can then be used to filter the various types in IDA using one of the keywords that are supported by the Common matcher functions for said type.

2.3.1. Examples

Some of the matcher classes that are available can be found within the database module, the structure and enumeration modules, or the segment modules. Within the database module, most of the Common matcher functions are defined within namespaces and represent different things such as imports, entries, names, functions, etc. It is recommended to review the help for these modules in order to understand exactly what is provided.

To list all of the structures within the database:

> struc.list()

To iterate through all the structures that begin with “my_”:

> for st in struc.iterate(like="my_*"): ...

To search for a function containing the address 0x401034:

> f = db.functions.search(ea=0x401034)
> print f

To iterate through all the structure members that match a regex to search for unnamed fields:

> st = struc.by(...)
> for m in st.iterate(regex='field_.*$')

2.3.2. Common matcher functions

The 3 basic matcher functions typically have the following prototypes. Each of these prototypes can take a keyword argument where the key specifies the type. Typically there are also multicased versions of these functions that take a single string as its argument. By default this function will be using the like keyword thus making its argument a glob. Please review the related documentation for the full functionality of each matcher instance.


This function will list the matched types within the IDA console. Each row that is displayed will contain a summary of the type that has matched. This can then either be double-clicked on, or used to build another filter to then match with another function.

Parameters:type – a keyword argument representing the type of match to perform and what value to match it against

Once a desired type has been determined, this function can then be used to return the first result that matches. If more than one result is returned, then this function will warn the user the number of results that matched, whilst still returning the very first one.

Parameters:type – a keyword argument representing the type of match to perform and what value to match it against
Returns:the first item that was matched

When a user wishes to enumerate all of the matches of a particular type, they will need to use this function. Once given a keyword and value to match with, this function will iterate through all of the results that are available. These results will be the core type that the matcher is filtering.

Parameters:type – a keyword argument representing the type of match to perform and what value to match it against
Returns:an iterator that yields each matched result