I have a SQL dump with expressions such as youtubehd:2nj6bykw. The 2nj6bykw can also be a different random string. It is always 8 characters long.

I want to replace youtubehd:2nj6bykw with just youtubehd.

How can I do this without replacing it manually, one by one? The SQL dump is over 230000 lines long and has about 200 occurrences of these strings.

I suppose I need a wildcard, but I have no clue about what it is and how I can do this.


Please make sure you have a backup in case something goes wrong.

  • In Notepad++ go to Search → Replace
  • In the Find What textbox paste the following: youtubehd:\w\w\w\w\w\w\w\w
  • In the Replace With textbox paste the following: youtubehd
  • Ensure that Search Mode is set to Regular expression
  • Click Replace All

Thanks to KCotreau for pointing out that search mode defaults to Normal and needs to be changed.


It's been pointed out in the comments below that you could instead use youtubehd:\w{8} as your search pattern. This is correct and indeed preferable. Support for this was only added in Notepad++ v6 though which came out after this was originally written hence the reason why I used the longer form. See here for more.

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  • 1
    +1 I have been beating myself up trying to figure this out. It should be so simple, but it was not easy to find. I tested this and it does work. I would add: Choose "Regular Expression" for the search type. – KCotreau Jul 21 '11 at 13:15
  • More elegant would be: youtubehd:\w{8} for fixed lenth and youtubehd:\w* for any – AndriuZ Sep 6 '17 at 16:13
  • @AndriuZ: I was aware of the \w{8} syntax but to my knowledge Notepad++ didn't support it at the time and I believe it was added in a later version. I'll probably update the answer to reflect this at some point. – James P Sep 6 '17 at 16:22
  • @James P it worked when I tested on Np++ 7.4.2 32bit – AndriuZ Sep 6 '17 at 20:14

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