Please need a multiple renewable change

  • Hello,

    I have a text in its content contains a character ‘&’ repeated several times, I want to replace each & that exists in the text by :

    In the 1st & replace by 1
    In the 2nd & replace with 2
    the 3rd & replace with 3
    the 4th & replace with 4
    the 5th & replace with 5
    the 6th & replace with 6
    And the rest of ‘&’ that are present in the text:

    Put in the 7th &, the same replacement that I gave before to the 1st & which is 1, and so on for the other ‘&’:

    Put in the 8th &’ : the same replacement I gave to the 2nd ‘&’ which is 2

    In the 9th &’ : the replacement of the 3rd ‘&’ which is 3
    In the 10th &’ : the replacement of the 4th ‘&’ which is 4
    in the 11th &’ : replacement of the 5th ‘&’ which is 5
    the 12th &’ : the replacement of the 6th ‘&’ which is 6

    In the 13th & : the replacement will be 1
    the 14th & : the replacement will be 2
    the 15th & by : 3
    the 16th & by : 4
    the 17th & by : 5
    the 18th & by : 6

    And so on; always a renewal of this operation described above for the rest of & that are in the text.

    Can someone help me ?

    And thank you for your help.

  • @patrick-rozon

    Not natively in stock Notepad++.
    If you have the PythonScript plugin, or ar willing to install it, it’s easy, using the “add_1” style replacement found in the PythonScript documentation.

    Here’s one such implementation; the instructions for installing PythonScript, creating the script, and running the script are embedded in the comments of the script.

    # encoding=utf-8
    """this uses the "add_1" style search and replace in Notepad++
    1. Install PythonScript
       * Plugins > Plugins Admin
       * Click ☑ PythonScript checkbox until checked
       * click INSTALL
       * restart Notepad++ as necessary
    2. Create new PythonScript script
       * Plugins > PythonScript > New Script
       * Give it a reasonable name, like
       * Paste in the code from this black box
       * Save
    3. Switch to the document where you want to search/replace
    4. Plugins > PythonScript > Scripts > NReplacements
    You can change the replacement values, or the number of replacements,
    then save, and it will still run.
    I used editor.replace() so that & wouldn't have special meaning.
    If you need to use a regular expression to match your "to-be-matched" text, use editor.rereplace instead.
    PythonScript has documentation in it's Context-Sensitive Help
    from Npp import *
    counter = 0
    replacements = ('1','2','3','4','5','6')
    def add_1(m):
        global counter
        repl = replacements[counter]
        counter = (counter + 1) % len(replacements)
        return repl
    editor.replace(r'&', add_1) # use editor.rereplace if the first term needs to be a regex

    Please note that & has special meaning for regexes, so I used the non-regex editor.replace(); normally, I would just use editor.rereplace(r'...', add_1) so that when the end user decides they need a more powerful search, all they have to do is change the value, without having to remember to change the replace to rereplace.

  • @PeterJones

    Thank you dear PeterJones for your quick response,

    I have installed PythonScript plugin, the script works very well as desired, thank you very much for your support.

  • @patrick-rozon @PeterJones

    Although the solution has been found (in PythonScript) it does appear to be possible with regular expression (regex) as well, that is if I read the question correctly.

    The regex isn’t too daunting to understand and indeed it shows a reoccurring sequence so could easily be extended to whatever modulo was used (currently the number 6 requested).
    This is using the Find function with search mode set to “regular expression”.
    Find What:(([^&]*)&)?(([^&]*)&)?(([^&]*)&)?(([^&]*)&)?(([^&]*)&)?(([^&]*)&)?
    Replace With:(?{1}${2}1)(?{3}${4}2)(?{5}${6}3)(?{7}${8}4)(?{9}${10}5)(?{11}${12}6)

    With “Wrap around” ticked and the "Replace All button pressed it will commence at the start of the file and find the first group of up to 6 & with (or without) characters around them. It will then replace with the numbers 1 through 6 respectively. It then repeats finding the next sequence of up to 6 & and so on.

    So for a description we have:
    (([^&]*)&)? - means look for some non & characters (or not, that’s the *) followed by a & character. The ? allows for this capture group to be skipped if it does not find the right characters, this allows for a last sequence of less than 6 & to be changed. This is then repeated the number of times required (6 in this case).
    (?{1}${2}1) - means if group 1 DID capture some characters then we return them without the & (that’s group 2) and then follow that string with a number, in this case 1. By repeating this sequence and incrementing the group numbers and the following number as a replacement we will respectively replace up to 6 & with the corresponding new number (1 through 6).


  • Hello, @patrick-rozon , @peterjones , @terry-r and All,

    Here is my solution. Not ideal, of course, as it would be suitable for small file size, only, but quite flexible !. It also uses a dummy character, not present in current file. I presonally chose the ¤ char of my French keyboard but, of course, any other char may be used

    • Add a line ¤123456 at the very end of current file

    • SEARCH (?s)&(.*¤)(\d)(\d+)|¤\d+

    • REPLACE ?1\2\1\3\2

    • Tick the Wrap around option

    • Select the Regular expression seardh mode

    • Hit, repeatedly, on Alt + R ( Replace button ) OR on Alt + A ( Replace All button ) till one of the follwing messages occurs :

      • Replace: one occurrence was replaced. No more occurrences were found.

      • Replae All: 0 occurrences were replaced in entire file

    One advantage of this method is that you may change, either, the modudlo and the values, without changing the regex S/R ! For instance, let’s suppose you want to replace any & char, by any even number ( so, modulo 5 ), in decreasing order, Then, simply add the line ¤86420 at the very end of the file and just use the regex S/R mentionned above !

    So, from the INPUT text :


    After 19 replaceemnts, we would get the OUTPUT text :


    Best Regards,


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