Monday, March 31, 2008

grepWin: a great help for complex search and replace operations

grepWin is a simple, yet powerful, freeware tool for difficult search and replace operations on text files (for example, xml or html files).

For complex search and replace operations, nothing really beats RegEx (regular expressions) searches, but regular expressions may be very difficult to create.

grepWin includes a "Test regex" utility: by using the utility on a sample of the text, you can debug the search and replace strings until the desired result is obtained, and only then execute your search on the file(s) you are working on.

For added security, the tool offers the option to create a backup copy of the work files.

The tool is still very bare-bones; for example, there is no help system (you need to know regular expression syntax to use it effectively), but I find that its search capabilities are more powerful than those in other popular search tools such as Funduc's Search and Replace, or the search and replace functionality included in most text editors.

If you need an introduction to regular expressions, an excellent little book is "Teach Yourself Regular Expressions in 10 minutes", by Ben Forta (Sams Publishing).


  1. For Help in grepWin, just press the F1 key :)

  2. The only thing that appears pressing F1 is a window with minimal examples of regular expressions (which does not include even all the symbols available).

  3. How do you insert "$Revision: $" in the begining of a set of files ( .cpp)?



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