Code covered by the BSD License  

Highlights from
Find and Replace in Files

Find and Replace in Files


Tucker McClure (view profile)


14 Aug 2013 (Updated )

Replace the specified text in a list of files with new text.

find_and_replace(file, expression, replacement)
function find_and_replace(file, expression, replacement)

% find_and_replace(file, to_find, to_replace)
% Replaces a string (expression) in a given file (file) with a new string 
% (replacement).
% See regexprep for info on valid 'expression' and 'replace' inputs.
% Examples:
% Replace all instances of the string 'abs', including 'cabs', with 'mag':
% find_and_replace('my_file.m', 'abs', 'mag');
% Replace all the exact variable names 'my_var' with 'my_other_var'. This
% *won't* match 'my_var_2' or 'this_is_my_var'.
% find_and_replace('my_file.m', '\<my_var\>', 'my_other_var');
% Replace all calls to sqrt(...) with my_sqrt(...), keeping the function's 
% argument (this is using regular expressions).
% find_and_replace(tc.file_name, 'sqrt\((.*?)\)', 'my_sqrt\($1\)');
% Note that the above does *not* work for nested parentheses (regular
% expressions can't match nested parentheses to an arbitrary depth).
% This function can also handle multiple files, where the first input is
% either a cell array of file names (e.g., {'file1.txt', 'file2.m'}) or a
% struct with a 'name' field that contains the file name, such as is output
% from files = dir('*.m');
% For example, to replace in all .m files in the current directory:
% find_and_replace(dir('*.m'), 'string_1', 'string_2');
% See doc regexprep for more examples.
% Tucker McClure
% Copyright 2013, The MathWorks, Inc.

    % If user passed in a single file name, wrap it as a cell.
    if ischar(file)
        file = {file};
    elseif isstruct(file) && any(strcmp(fieldnames(file), 'name'))
        file = {file(:).name};
    elseif ~iscell(file);
        error('find_and_replace:invalid_inputs', ...
              'Unknown input type for ''file''.');

    % For all files in the cell array...
    for k = 1:length(file)
        % Make sure the file exists.
        if ~exist(file{k}, 'file')
            error('find_and_replace:no_file', ...
                  ['File doesn''t exist. To replace strings in text, ' ...
                   'use regexprep.']);

        % Read in the file as binary and convert to chars.
        fid = fopen(file{k});
        text = fread(fid, inf, '*char')';

        % Find and replace.
        text = regexprep(text, expression, replacement);

        % Write out the new file.
        fid = fopen(file{k}, 'w');
        fwrite(fid, text);


Contact us