Find and Replace

by James Cook on May 14, 2009

Recently on Twitter @fesworks asked about Dreamweaver's find and replace functionality (menu Edit>Find and Replace… or Control+F/Command+F). It's really quite extensive and, if you're serious about building websites, I recommend you explore it.

Here's a quick rundown of  the functionality:

  1. F&R can work on unopened documents, so you don't even have to have a document open to access it. Just remember, there is no undo for unopened documents. So, before you get too fancy with your site-wide f&r you might want to consider making a backup copy of your site.
  2. It can search the following:
    1. The selected text in an open document.
    2. The entire document currently being edited.
    3. All open documents.
    4. All documents in a folder that you select.
    5. Files selected in the site window.
    6. The entire current site
  3. You can also choose what parts of a document to search:
    1. The source code.
    2. Only the text of the document (basically what you see in design view).
    3. Text inside (or outside) of a specific html tag or tags.
    4. A specific html tag with specific attributes.

In addition you have the usual options to match case or whole words as well as to ignore white space.

One option newcomers may be unfamiliar with is using regular expressions in searches. Regular expressions let you construct formulas to search not just for a specific text string but for patterns of characters and text strings as well. It's a powerful tool that deserves a tutorial all it's own. So for now I'll simply point you to Wikipedia to get you started.

And, as always, feel free to email me with questions, comment here and follow me on Twitter (DWcourse).

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