Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Is it possible to regex replace from command line? Right now I'm using notepad++ to do this. In command line I can only use FINDSTR wich can only locate the mached files/lines

Maybe it will be possible to make a VB script and run it from cmd? I just created a file "hi.vbs" with the content

Msgbox "Hi Buddy"

Then cmd allows me to run it directly by typing "hi" from command line.
So if it is not possible with batch script, then i may use a VB script trough batch. Or..?

share|improve this question
At the end you put an inconclusive sentence and the whole EDIT part isn't pointing to the problem is more like "I create a hello world in vb, can i create something like that in batch? Check the answer posted by @IanPugsley is the easy way to do regex-replace. – mjsr Sep 29 '11 at 11:10
@Aziz: has any of these answers worked for you? If so, would you accept that one? That's part of participating in this community; the way we thank one another for help. The reputation points given for an accepted answer help other users assess one another's experience. Thanks. – JRobert Sep 29 '11 at 21:25
I was thinking to call somthing like MYVBREPLACE(.vbs) FILENAME REGEXPATTERN REPLACEMENT from command line. – Aziz Oct 5 '11 at 13:00
up vote 5 down vote accepted

go here
scroll down to SED. Download coreutils too while you're at it.

this command will replace a with b globally, and on each line. so not just the first occurrence on the line.

e.g. using sed "s/a/b/g" a.txt

C:\>type a.txt

C:\>sed "s/a/b/" a.txt

C:\>sed "s/a/b/g" a.txt


VBScript does support regular expressions, you can do find and replace with it.

dim re, s
set re = new RegExp

re.Global=True 'false is default
s="bin din in"
MsgBox re.Replace(s,"xxx")

Displays bxxx dxxx xxx

share|improve this answer
Amazing crazy tool!!! This tool was too adwanced. I could not manage to use it yet, but when I read I can see that this can do much more than what I could expect. Thanks a lot – Aziz Oct 5 '11 at 12:40
New versions of bash can also do regular expressions, sometimes that's enough for simple tasks and there's no need to use even sed. – vtest Nov 24 '11 at 6:13
and re what vtest said, in case anybody doesn't know. cygwin has bash. – barlop Jul 29 '15 at 17:53
sed sucks with multi-line replaces though – kofifus Mar 19 at 3:57
@kofifus I know you know this sentence, but just for the sake of others and clarifying what you are saying - doing a search/replace on multiple lines sed's fine for, as it operates on each line, but where the search string spans across multiple lines, yeah, sed isn't designed for that(since as mentioned, it operates on each line). One can use perl.see my answer here for some examples… or probably any language with regex support, though perl is the mother of them. – barlop Mar 19 at 8:48

I've written a free command line tool for Windows to do this. It's called rxrepl, it supports Unicode and file search. Some may find it a useful tool.

rxrepl is a Microsoft Windows command line tool to search and replace text in text files using Perl compatible regular expressions (PCRE).

It has the following features:

  • Search using Perl Compatible Regular Expressions
  • Use group matching in replacement text
  • Supports Windows and Unix line endings
  • Unicode support
  • Accepts multiple search/replace arguments
  • Options may be provided in an options file
  • Scan for files
  • Preview mode
  • Line and full file matching modes

enter image description here

share|improve this answer
This is amazing! If you're like me and need examples, this replaces "foobar" with "foofighters" in a file: rxrepl.exe -f file.txt -a -s "(foo)bar" -r "\1fighters" – Dunc Oct 23 '14 at 15:53
+1 this works too echo foobar | rxrepl -s "(foo)bar" -r "\1fighters" . It's a great tool 'cos afaik sed doesn't yet have pcre. – barlop Mar 12 at 16:58
It appears that this utility is a 16-bit application. Unfortunately my 64-bit edition of windows cannot run it because it only has a compatibility layer for 32-bit applications... – Steztric Jun 28 at 18:33

The Scripting Guy covers how to do this in PowerShell (no additional downloads on most recent Windows OSs, you probably already have it installed).

Start it up, run the following (to replace a * with a @):

(Get-Content C:\Scripts\Test.txt) | 
Foreach-Object {$_ -replace "\*", "@"} | 
Set-Content C:\Scripts\Test.txt

This supports .NET regular expressions, including positive and negative look-ahead, and all manner of things notepad++ does not support with regex (as much as I love notepad++).

share|improve this answer
Notepad++ supports full PCRE as of version 6. – Bob Sep 29 '13 at 14:10

I've found fnr.exe for that. It has GUI and command-line.

An open source tool to find and replace text in multiple files.


  • Single file download - fnr.exe (127kb)
  • Replace text in multiple files using windows application or through command line
  • Find Only to see where matches are found
  • Case-sensitive searching
  • Searching for files in one directory or recursing sub-directories
  • Regular expressions
  • Find and replace multi-line text
  • Generate command line button to create command line text to put in batch file
  • Command line help
  • Unit tests of Find/Replace engine

Viewing command line options

enter image description here

share|improve this answer
Pretty nice - you can check your "find" statement in GUI, click "Gen Replace Command Line" and get ready to use command line call. No need to spend time to get familiar with command line syntax. – sarh Jul 27 '15 at 11:57
I couldn't manage to get this to exit after making the changes. I have to press enter to close making this not especially useful for scripting – G-. Jan 8 at 15:31
@G-. There is no waiting for <enter> if it is run from a batch file. – Sergius Jan 11 at 9:12

Two good choices are either Cygwin which will give you a Unix-like, bash-like environment (alternative to cmd.exe); and Unxutils, Win32 ports of a collection of individual Unix utilities. In either package, see 'sed', 'awk', and 'grep'.

share|improve this answer
unxutils is old. now the thing is gnuwin32 – barlop Oct 4 '11 at 14:10
Thank you JRobert for your suggestion. Sorry that I did not understod it, but now I can see that SED was the thing. – Aziz Oct 5 '11 at 12:55

Looks like you can use regex with FINDSTR

findstr [Windows CMD]:

findstr allows to search for text (as specified with pattern in the file file-name. If file-name contains wildcards (* or ?), it searches in all files that match. The option /S searches in the current directory as well as in its subdirectories. If pattern contains spaces, it must be specified like so /C:"some text to be searched". In order to turn pattern into a regular expressions, the /R option must be used. The /I option searches case insensitive.

From FindStr's Help (Findstr /?):

/R - Uses search strings as regular expressions.

Regular expression quick reference:
  .        Wildcard: any character
  *        Repeat: zero or more occurrences of previous character or class
  ^        Line position: beginning of line
  $        Line position: end of line
  [class]  Character class: any one character in set
  [^class] Inverse class: any one character not in set
  [x-y]    Range: any characters within the specified range
  \x       Escape: literal use of metacharacter x
  \<xyz    Word position: beginning of word
  xyz\>    Word position: end of word
share|improve this answer
Thank you for your answer, but this was not my question. – Aziz Sep 26 '11 at 18:20

I'm a little late to the party, but JREPL.BAT is a hybrid JScript/batch script based regex utility that runs natively on any Windows machine from XP onward.

Full documentation is built into the script, which can be accessed via JREPL /?, or use JREPL /?? for paged output.

JREPL uses standard ECMA regex that comes with JScript. ECMA regex is not quite as powerful as the .NET regex available to powershell, but it is still pretty darn good. And I think the average user will find this utility easier to use than powershell.

The built-in JREPL options already provide a lot of inherent power, but the ability to inject user supplied JScript really opens up amazing possibilities.

I developed the script because my workplace does not allow downloading of non-standard exe files, but has no restriction on writing batch or JScript scripts :-)

Simply follow the link and copy the script code into a file named JREPL.BAT. Read the subsequent posts from that thread for examples of usage and development history. There are also many StackOverflow answers that use JREPL.BAT.

share|improve this answer

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .