A file has hundreds of lines of text similar to the one below:

<Random Variable1="test" Description="this is a random description" number="12345" />

The value "<Random" at the start and the value "/>" at the end is the same on all lines of text.

I am trying to use regular expression to replace the /> symbol at the end with > and insert new lines of text underneath. An example of what the line from above needs to be replaced to:

<Random Variable1="test" Description="this is a random description" number="12345" >

I have been testing with regular expressions but have not been successful, regular expressions I have tried to use:

To add in the new lines:


To change the /> character:

<Random(.*) >

EDIT: I am using the find and replace option within Visual Studio 17

  • 1
    Which language/tool are you using?
    – Toto
    Sep 24, 2021 at 16:14

1 Answer 1


If your language/tool supports PCRE regex flavour, you can do:

  • Find: (?s)<Random\b.*?\K/> or <Random\b.*?\K/> for multilines
  • Replace: ><Operating>\n<Operating>All</Operating>\n</Operating>\n</Random>

If it doesn't, use:

  • Find: (<Random\b.*?)/>
  • Replace: $1><Operating>\n<Operating>All</Operating>\n</Operating>\n</Random>

You may have to escape the < and >

  • Find: (\<Random\b.*?)/\>
  • Thank you for the feedback Toto, I am using Visual Studio 17's find and replace tool. Visual Studios didn't seem to like the find regular expression as it didn't catch anything :(
    – Help
    Sep 24, 2021 at 16:23
  • Thank you, that works!
    – Help
    Sep 24, 2021 at 17:00

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