Using Sublime Text 2 to do regex search and replace

Regex search and replace in Sublime Text 2

The power of regex. In a code editor near you.

Fun and useful for maxing out efficiency on search & replace

In Frontkom the texteditor Sublime Text 2 is almost universally used. Personally I love the look, the speed, the extensibility and the small tips I pick up nearly every day.

One nifty trick is the built-in regular expression search and replace which can be quite handy in a lot of situations.

For example I recently had an Excel document which had a lot of rows like this:








and I want just the first number and "mm" added at the end, so I can paste it into a new column.

Now, there are probably some Excel wiz out there who would do this directly in Excel somehow, but since I always have Sublime open anyway I just copied the entire column into Sublime and hit the menu item Find->Replace and then activate regex search:



Now we are ready to match the patterns on each row. As we can see, it starts with a number containing one or more digits. The regex code for a number is \d (for digit) and + is "one or more". Now a nice thing in Sublime is that I can immediately see the pattern matching for all the rows simultaneously.



Next it's easy to match the rest of the line. Just match for the next "x", digits and "mm".



Now, first we want the first number in the row, and add "mm" to it. To do that we should put a parenthesis around what we want. The first group can be outputted with $1, the second group with $2 and so on. Let's Replace All with "$1mm".



And there we have the first number which can be pasted back into a new row in Excel or anywhere else.



Or, let's say we want to use all numbers and add som description, for example:



Which will result in:



Feel free to share your regex tricks in the comments!

Henrik Akselsen

Henrik Akselsen

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CMS-konsulent, utvikler og webanalytiker i Frontkom. Langt over gjennomsnittet interessert i hva som fungerer på web, og hvordan man kommer ditt via innholdstrategi og analyseverktøy.