Daily Archives: 20 October 2016

Regex Support in Notepad++

I’ve always loved Notepad++ and still think it has a place in this new world of Atom, Brackets, Sublime, Visual Studio Code et al. Notepad++ fills that sweet spot where you need something more powerful than a simple text editor, but something short of the “new coding editors”.

I recently had to massage some data, which I had extracted from an Excel file, into a csv file. It kinda looked like this and went for 800 lines or so:

13,Abdomen
15,Lower leg
22,Upper limb

I needed to change that, so that the text was enclosed in single quotes as so:

13,’Abdomen’
15,’Lower leg’
22,’Upper limb’

I did not really want to manually type those single quotes around the text for a file with 800 lines “and change”. And there was no simple find and replace opportunity unless I turned to regex!

The pattern I used was reasonably straight forward. There were 2 things I had to match:

  1. the integer before the comma (a primary key); and
  2. the text following the comma.

This would allow me to leave the primary key in tact, whilst replacing the text with itself wrapped in single quotes.

In the Find what input, I added the regex: (\d+),(.*)$
And in the Replace with input: $1,'$2'

I’ve included a screenshot below:

npp-regex

And don’t forget to click the Regular Expression radio button at the foot of the dialog. Pretty nice regex support saving a huge amount of time for me.