FAQ Desk: Template for Search/Replace Questions
PeterJones last edited by PeterJones
Hello, and welcome to the FAQ Desk. If you are reading this, you were likely directed here to get a template to use when asking a search, search-and-replace, regular expression, regex, mark, or other “change data that matches X” question.
You can copy the template below and paste it into your question in the Help Wanted section of the forum. Then go through and change anything that’s in ALL CAPS into something that’s meaningful for your question. Leave the special punctuation (` or ``` symbols especially), as they provide formatting for this forum that will help your message be understandable.
Fellow Notepad++ Users,
Could you please help me the the following search-and-replace problem I am having?
DESCRIBE CIRCUMSTANCES OF YOUR QUESTION
Here is the data I currently have (“before” data):
COPY/PASTE EXACT DATA HERE
IT CAN HAVE MORE THAN ONE LINE
MAKE SURE IT ACCURATELY REPRESENTS YOUR DATA,
EVEN IF YOU HAVE TO CHANGE SOME THINGS
(LIKE CHANGING NAMES OR ADDRESSES OR ACCOUNT NUMBERS):
BUT IF YOU DO CHANGE SOMETHING, MAKE SURE THE
STRUCTURE AND LOOK OF THE DATA IS STILL ACCURATELY
Here is how I would like that data to look (“after” data):
PUT SIMILAR TEXT HERE,
BUT THIS SHOULD LOOK LIKE THE END RESULT
OF THE SEARCH-AND-REPLACE PROCESS
IF THERE IS SOMETHING THAT DOES NOT GET EXPRESSED WELL
BY PASTING YOUR EXAMPLE TEXT BETWEEN THE ``` LINES ABOVE,
PLEASE MAKE A SCREENSHOT OF YOUR NOTEPAD++ WINDOW AND
PASTE IT HERE. BUT A PICTURE SHOULD ONLY ACCOMPANY
YOUR EXAMPLE TEXT, YOU SHOULDN’T USE THE PICTURE IN
PLACE OF YOUR EXAMPLE TEXT.
To accomplish this, I have tried using the following Find/Replace expressions and settings
- Find What =
`SEARCH EXPRESSION HERE`
- Replace With =
`REPLACEMENT EXPRESSION HERE`
- Search Mode = REGULAR EXPRESSION or NORMAL or EXTENDED
- Dot Matches Newline = CHECKED or NOT CHECKED
HERE IS WHY YOU THOUGHT YOUR EXPRESSION WOULD WORK
Unfortunately, this did not produce the output I desired, and I’m not sure why. Could you please help me understand what went wrong and help me find the solution?
Hints / Guidelines
Obviously, you can feel free to include additional information not present in the template.
If you choose to leave out information from this template, it will be harder for people to answer your question, and you may get people pointing you back to this FAQ entry to provide more information.
Here are some other hints and guidelines for asking such questions:
- Be patient
- Be polite
- Show a willingness to learn
- Answer all requests for clarification
- Your example “before” and “after” data should include examples of data that should be changed, and example data that should not be changed by the replacement. Often, crafting a successful search/replace expression requires knowing both.
- If there are edge cases or exceptions, make sure your example data includes those
- When you share the expressions that you already tried, it’s good to explain why you thought it would work
- It really is important for the example “before” and “after” data to be as plain text, not just as a screenshot. Otherwise, fellow Notepad++ Community members cannot easily copy/paste your example data to experiment with the search/replace expressions.
Please note that the template above was written to try to encourage following these guidelines.
Please note: This Community Forum is not a data transformation service; you should not expect to be able to always say “I have data like X and want it to look like Y” and have us do all the work for you. If you are new to the Forum, and new to regular expressions, we will often give help on the first few (one to three) data-transformation questions, especially if they are well-asked and you show a willingness to learn; and we will point you to the documentation where you can learn how to do the data transformations for yourself in the future. But if you repeatedly ask us to do your work for you, you will find that the patience of usually-helpful Community members wears thin. The best way to learn regular expressions is by experimenting with them yourself, and getting a feel for how they work; having us spoon-feed you the answers without you putting in the effort doesn’t help you in the long term and is uninteresting and annoying for us.
- Find What =