Add line of text to beginning of multiple files



  • I have 52 files that I need to add a line of text to each one at the very beginning of the file every 2 or 3 days. I want to load this entire folder into Notepadd ++ and do a find and replace in all documents. I have figured out that I can add this line of text before each LINE by using find=^ and replace=lineoftext\r. However, I do not need the line of text after each line in the files. I only need to add this one line of text to the beginning (top) of each file. Does anyone know how I can accomplish this? Thanks in advance for your help with Notepad ++.



  • @Kevin-Hemken

    sorry, don’t understand your question.
    At the end - do you want to have files which only
    have one line content?
    Meaning you wanna empty the file first and then add a line? And this for each file in question?

    Cheers
    Claudia



  • I do not want to delete any data. I simply want to add a line of text to the beginning of each file.

    If the text file is…

    blah blah blah
    blah blah blah

    I want it to be …

    add line of text here
    blah blah blah
    blah blah blah



  • @Kevin-Hemken

    I see
    in find repalce dialog you need to tick regular expression AND . matches newline

    find what:(.*)
    replace with:WHATEVERTEXT\r\n\1
    

    (.*) find everything (if the dot matches newline has been ticked)

    \r\n is the normal eol for windows
    \1 represents what has been matched by (.*)

    Cheers
    Claudia



  • Thanks. Works perfect!



  • Hello Kevin, Claudia and All,

    An other possibility would be :

    SEARCH (?s).*

    REPLACE WHATEVERTEXT\r\n$0

    NOTES :

    • The (?s) modifier forces the regex engine to consider that the meta character dot . matches, absolutely, any single character, whatever the . matches new line option is set or unset

    • The $0 form , in replacement, stands for the entire searched regex, that is to say, the actual contents of each scanned file

    REMARK :

    • Due to a N++ regex engine bug, about backward assertions, we cannot use, for instance, the \A assertion, which, normally, represents the very beginning of a file. IF it would have been possible, the S/R would have been, simply :

    SEARCH : \A

    REPLACE : WHATEVERTEXT\r\n

    Therefore, the Claudia’s work-around, is a nice solution to that bug !!

    Best Regards,

    guy038



  • Hi @guy038,

    nice one ( or two :-)) but where did you find the ?s ?
    I can’t seem to see it in the official docs.

    Cheers
    Claudia



  • Search: ^\A(.*)$
    Replace by: ANYTHING \r$1

    or

    Search: ((?s:.*))
    Replace by: ANYTHING \n\1



  • @Claudia-Frank Thanks a lot!
    This saved me a lot of time as I had around 500 files to be modified.



  • @Robin-Cruise I tried your first option an it worked perfectly.



  • Hi, @Kevin-Hemken, @Robin-Cruise, @aatmankothari, @Brad-Stewart, @Terry-r, @scott-sumner, @claudia-frank and All,

    As explained in the post, below :

    https://community.notepad-plus-plus.org/post/33823

    The \A assertion which should match the very beginning of current file does not work properly, whereas the opposite assertion \z does match the very end of current file, in all cases !

    Take the time to read all the discussion and, especially, the @scott-sumner’s opinion on the \A problem and, more generally, on all the backward assertions ! Finally, I think that his approach is the right one ;-))

    https://community.notepad-plus-plus.org/post/34704


    In this discussion, @Terry-R did found out a nice work-around to replace the bugged \A feature with the regex (?<!\x0A)^ and I proposed the more rigorous regex (?<!\n|\r|\f)^, because the dot regex does not match the FF control character !

    However, thanks to the @Brad-Stewart’s reply, I saw the @robin-cruise’s reply, too and, particularly, his first regex S/R: I was intrigued with the beginning ^\A. After some tests, I can say that this regex is the shortest one, which works properly, whatever the current location of the caret, as long as you’re using the global replacement, with a click on the Replace All button, exclusively and that the Wrap around option is ticked ;-))


    So, in order to add the expression ANY TEXT THAT YOU WANT TO INSERT AT THE VERY BEGINNING at the very beginning of the current file or all opened documents or all the files from a directory, simply use the following regex S/R :

    SEARCH ^\A

    REPLACE ANY TEXT THAT YOU WANT TO INSERT AT THE VERY BEGINNING

    You may insert an entire line, with the syntax :

    SEARCH ^\A

    REPLACE ANY TEXT THAT YOU WANT TO INSERT AT THE VERY BEGINNING\r\n ( Remove \r in case of an Unix file )

    Remark :

    • In case of your replacement regex ends with the forms \r\n, \n or \r, depending of your file(s) structure, as above, it/they must not begin with one/several true empty lines !

    Best Regards,

    guy038

    P.S. :

    Assuming a file, containing a lot of lines ============, which act as separators, with some text in between, then the regex which matches the 6th separator line, only, could be, with the @robin-cruise’s solution :

    SEARCH ^\A(?s)(?:.+?^=+){5}.+?\K^=+

    Note that the similar regex ^\A(?s)(?:.+?^=+){5}.+?\K^=+\r\n would match every multiple-of-six ====== line ( So the 6th, 12th, 18th line and so on… )



  • @guy038 said in Add line of text to beginning of multiple files:

    I proposed the more rigorous regex (?<!\n|\r|\f)^, because the dot regex does not match the FF control character !

    I don’t see the connection here…where is the dot regex being used?



  • @guy038

    In case of your replacement regex ends with … \r\n, it/they must not begin with one/several true empty lines !

    I’m not sure I’m following this, either.

    How about some real examples that you are usually so good at? :-)



  • @guy038

    Also, an ideas as to why this ^\A seems to work for the intended purpose of matching only at the beginning of a file?

    I understand why the earlier (?<!\x0A)^ or (?<!\n|\r|\f)^ work, but ^\A is hard to get one’s head around.



  • Hi, @alan-kilborn and All,

    Indeed, as the \A is not working properly, a lot of particular cases occur and I confess that detailing them all is a bit tedious work !


    • Regarding your first question :

    I don’t see the connection here…where is the dot regex being used?

    The fact of the simple . regex does not match the FF character, of Unicode code-point \x{000C} means that, it is implicitly seen as a non-standard character, i.e. a pseudo EOL character !

    So, from the @Terry-r’s solution (?<!\x0A)^, which can be rewritten as (?<!\n)^, I first added the \r case to the negative look-behind, to handle MAC files and then added the Form Feed character case in case some of these chars are present in current file giving the final form (?<!\n|\r|\f)^

    For instance, assuming the text, below, where three Form Feed chars ( \x{000c} ) are inserted between the strings 12345 and 67890 of the first line

    1234567890
    This is a test
    to verify
    -----><-----
    some oddities
    on this very
    simple text
    
    • Paste this text in a new tab

    • Now, open the Replace dialog

    • SEARCH (?<!\n|\r)^ ( The \f is not present )

    • REPLACE ABC

    • Tick the Wrap around option

    • Select the Regular expression search mode

    • Put the caret, on the line -----><----- between symbols > and <

    • Click on the Replace All button

    You get the text :

    ABC12345ABCABCABC67890
    This is a test
    to verify
    -----><-----
    some oddities
    on this very
    simple text
    

    As you can see, it correctly adds the string ABC at beginning of file, but also after each FF character :-(

    • Now, change the search regex as (?<!\n|\r|\f)^

    • Put the caret, on the line -----><----- between symbols > and <

    • Click on the Replace All button

    This time, we have the expected text, with the string ABC , inserted at beginning if the first line, only ;-))

    ABC1234567890
    This is a test
    to verify
    -----><-----
    some oddities
    on this very
    simple text
    

    So, the 3 syntaxes (?<!\n|\r|\f)^, \^A and also \A^ are correct work-arounds to the bugged \A assertion, used alone !


    Note, Alan, that the syntax \A^ seems a bit more logic than the opposite form ^\A. However, remark that two consecutive assertions are commutative. For instance, the regexes ^$ and $^ are equivalent as, both, searches for a location which is, either, a beginning and an end of lines and match the zero-length location at the beginning of any empty line

    Similarly, two consecutive look-around, which can be considered as user’s assertions, are commutative too ! For instance, the regexes (?-s)(?=ABC)(?=.*XYZ).+ and (?-s)(?=.*XYZ)(?=ABC).+ are equivalent and match any non-null range of chars, beginning with ABC, till the end of current line, if, in addition, the string XYZ occurs from right after ABC till the end of current line !

    I hope that these lines answer to your third question :

    I understand why the earlier (?<!\x0A)^ or (?<!\n|\r|\f)^ work, but ^\A is hard to get one’s head around

    Now, contrary to the 3 correct regex syntaxes, above, the initial regex S/R, against our sample text :

    SEARCH \A

    REPLACE ABC

    gives the complete mess, below, adding the string ABC after any existing character :-((

    ABC1ABC2ABC3ABC4ABC5ABCABCABCABC6ABC7ABC8ABC9ABC0ABC
    ABCTABChABCiABCsABC ABCiABCsABC ABCaABC ABCtABCeABCsABCtABC
    ABCtABCoABC ABCvABCeABCrABCiABCfABCyABC
    ABC-ABC-ABC-ABC-ABC-ABC>ABC<ABC-ABC-ABC-ABC-ABC-ABC
    ABCsABCoABCmABCeABC ABCoABCdABCdABCiABCtABCiABCeABCsABC
    ABCoABCnABC ABCtABChABCiABCsABC ABCvABCeABCrABCyABC
    ABCsABCiABCmABCpABClABCeABC ABCtABCeABCxABCtABC
    ABC
    

    Now, regarding your second question :

    I’m not sure I’m following this, either.

    How about some real examples that you are usually so good at? :-)

    Well, if we still assume our sample text :

    1234567890
    This is a test
    to verify
    -----><-----
    some oddities
    on this very
    simple text
    

    Let’s use, now, the following regex S/R, with Wrap around, Regular expression set and the caret between the >< string :

    SEARCH \A^

    REPLACE ABC\r\n ( Note that we add some EOL chars, at the end of the replacement regex )

    As expected, after clicking on the Replace All button, we obtain the text, with the line ABC inserted before the present first line

    ABC
    1234567890
    This is a test
    to verify
    -----><-----
    some oddities
    on this very
    simple text
    
    • Now, hit Ctrl + Z to undo the changes

    • Hit 3 times on the Enter key, to create three empty lines, beginning current file

    • Re-run the same S/R

    This time, we get :

    ABC
    
    ABC
    
    ABC
    
    ABC
    1234567890
    This is a test
    to verify
    -----><-----
    some oddities
    on this very
    simple text
    

    Which is not, obviously, what it is expected ! This is the reason why I said :

    • In case of your replacement regex ends with the forms \r\n, \n or \r, depending of your file(s) structure, as above, the file(s) must not begin with one/several true empty lines !

    Finally :

    • Hit, again, Ctrl + Z to undo the changes

    • Use the logical regex S/R, below, with \A, against our sample text, with the first three empty lines :

    SEARCH \A

    REPLACE ABC\r\n

    This time, it’s even worse ! As you can see, below , everything seems to go wrong for all ;-(((

    ABC
    
    ABC
    
    ABC
    
    ABC
    1ABC
    2ABC
    3ABC
    4ABC
    5ABC
    ABC
    ABC
    ABC
    6ABC
    7ABC
    8ABC
    9ABC
    0ABC
    
    ABC
    TABC
    hABC
    iABC
    sABC
     ABC
    iABC
    sABC
     ABC
    aABC
     ABC
    tABC
    eABC
    sABC
    tABC
    
    ABC
    tABC
    oABC
     ABC
    vABC
    eABC
    rABC
    iABC
    fABC
    yABC
    
    ABC
    -ABC
    -ABC
    -ABC
    -ABC
    -ABC
    >ABC
    <ABC
    -ABC
    -ABC
    -ABC
    -ABC
    -ABC
    
    ABC
    sABC
    oABC
    mABC
    eABC
     ABC
    oABC
    dABC
    dABC
    iABC
    tABC
    iABC
    eABC
    sABC
    
    ABC
    oABC
    nABC
     ABC
    tABC
    hABC
    iABC
    sABC
     ABC
    vABC
    eABC
    rABC
    yABC
    
    ABC
    sABC
    iABC
    mABC
    pABC
    lABC
    eABC
     ABC
    tABC
    eABC
    xABC
    tABC
    
    ABC
    

    Best Regards,

    guy038



  • @guy038 said in Add line of text to beginning of multiple files:

    In case of your replacement regex ends with the forms \r\n, \n or \r, depending of your file(s) structure, as above, it/they must not begin with one/several true empty lines !

    So I found myself with just such a case. Hmmm, what to do…?

    Here’s what I wanted:

    • Add new first line\r\n to a bunch of files as, obviously, the new first line data.

    Here’s what I did:

    I did a two-step replacement; first I did:

    Find what box: ^\A
    Replace with box: new first lineFIRSTLINEPSEUDOENDING

    Secondly,

    Find what box: FIRSTLINEPSEUDOENDING
    Replace with box: \r\n

    Of course FIRSTLINEPSEUDOENDING could be any unique string that doesn’t already appear in the files I’m applying this to.



  • Hi All,

    i’m trying to add the below 6 lines into the top of 300 batch scripts, but none of the above worked

    @echo off
    call D:\Tidal\bin\SetupEnv.bat
    if errorlevel 1 (
    echo Could not retrieve environment variables.
    exit /b 1
    )



  • @sean-o-sullivan said in Add line of text to beginning of multiple files:

    none of the above worked

    What exactly did you try?

    Additional question: Do all/some/none of the files you want to affect have empty line(s) at the beginning?



  • @sean-o-sullivan,

    none of the above worked

    Notepad++ search/replace boxes use a single line for inputting the expression, so if you want to insert multiple lines, you have to encode the line endings in a way the search engine understands: since you are likely using Windows CRLF line endings for a batch file, every newline in the text you want to insert needs to be converted to \r\n; further, any special character (like the \) needs to be escaped. So, to give an example, the first two lines of your insertion would be something like @echo off\r\ncall D:\\Tidal\\bin\\SetupEnv.bat\r\n, and you’d have to prepare the rest of the lines similarly.

    But really, when you’re getting to multi-line-text inserts and hundreds of files, you’re starting to move beyond what is the primary focus of text editor software: it focuses more on one or a few files, rather than bulk editing (though Find in Files is a nice move toward bulk-file-editing).

    Operating systems like Windows and Linux are primarily GUI nowadays, but they still ship with one or more command line systems; there’s a reason for that: you can do powerful things at the command line, often on lots of files in a short amount of time, with very little code.

    1. Backup any critical batch files: your files are always your responsibility
    2. Create a file called prefix.in, which has your 6 lines that you want to insert (make sure to have a NEWLINE at the end of the last line), and save.
    3. Put prefix.in in the same directory as the three-hundred *.bat files
    4. open cmd.exe and change to that directory
    5. for %F in (*.bat) do @( copy prefix.in + %F %F.out & move /Y %F.out %F )

    This will look up the name (%F) of every batch file in the folder, it will concatenate the contents of prefix.in and %F into a new temporary file %F.out, then it will rename %F.out back to %F. (I would have used REN or RENAME instead of MOVE, but REN doesn’t have the /Y to force allowing overwriting of the destination.)

    With one line of command-line syntax, I just prefixed all 300 batch files with the 6 lines you wanted.

    (Whenever I need to look up cmd.exe syntax, I use https://ss64.com/nt/syntax.html for topic-level, and the “CMD” link https://ss64.com/nt/ for a per-commmand reference. I know, using cmd.exe is old fashioned, but I’ve never gotten the hang of powershell.)

    Notepad++ is great, but there are other tools available to you.



  • @PeterJones does the legwork I was trying to get the OP to do. :-(

    I think it’s an OK task for Notepad++. A lot of people are scared to dip down into the world of batch/CMD/Powershell…

    The OP even did the research to find this thread. However, the OP should have done more than “Wah! It doesn’t work”. Not a direct quotation. :-)

    Notepad++ …/replace boxes use a single line for inputting the expression, so if you want to insert multiple lines, you have to encode the line endings in a way the search engine understands: since you are likely using Windows CRLF line endings for a batch file, every newline in the text you want to insert needs to be converted to \r\n; further, any special character (like the ) needs to be escaped.

    People are scared also to do Pythonscript, so I hesitate to bring this up, but a script I use can do the conversion of the data per the above. It takes the currently selected text, formats it correctly, and puts the result in the clipboard, ready for pasting into the Replace with box:

    # -*- coding: utf-8 -*-
    
    from Npp import editor, notepad
    
    class T11987(object):
        def __init__(self):
            if editor.getSelections() > 1: return  # acting on multiple selections or a column block probably doesn't make sense
            s = editor.getSelText()
            if len(s) == 0: return
            new_s = s.replace('\\', '\\\\').replace('\r', '\\r').replace('\n', '\\n').replace('(', '\\(').replace(')', '\\)')
            if len(new_s) > 2046:
                notepad.messageBox('After conversion, the selected text is too long for the ***Replace with*** box (limit: ~2046 chars)', '')
            else:
                editor.copyText(new_s)
                notepad.messageBox('The selected text has been converted and is now in the clipboard.', '')
    
    if __name__ == '__main__': T11987()
    

    Running the script on the OP’s replace data yields the full string that Peter started:

    @echo off\r\ncall D:\\Tidal\\bin\\SetupEnv.bat\r\nif errorlevel 1 \(\r\necho Could not retrieve environment variables.\r\nexit /b 1\r\n\)\r\n

    There might be more characters that need escaping in a regex replace string, but in practice I haven’t encountered them yet.


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