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find and replace textThe world is effectively riddled with different kinds of notations. Most countries have a score of special characters in store, and different scripts deploy different tags and notations – even if a certain bijection is existent.

Replacing these manually, even using a standard search-replace feature, can be tedious business. It’s doable, but a real chore.

To take care of said situations where one or two substitutions aren’t enough to improve a text, mass substitution rule sets might be an option.

wReplace

At first glance, wReplace looks and works just as a simple text editor. As such, you can also use it to write simple notes in plain text. There’s one feature that makes wReplace stand out, though; Replace Many.

Many applications support some sort of find-replace functionality. Intended for heavier usage, Replace Menu allows you to substitute parts of your text using a set of find-replace rules. With the click of a mouse, you can adjust pages by pages of text. Using it to replace names, notations, or (partly) substitute alphabets.

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find and replace text

wReplace allows you to save these rules, so you can quickly call upon them in future sessions, and also comes with a variety of rule-sets installed. Looking past those standard find-replace scenarios, we’ll take a look at just some of the things you can achieve out of the box using the default replacement rules.

1. Avoiding ‘Corrupt’ or Missing Characters

Many languages embrace so-called ‘local characters’; diacritical variations, or even additional alphabets. Although these are practically always supported on the computer of origin, by installing special language packs, the same is not always true for the recipients of that writing.

find and replace text

As such, you might encounter a case where some of these characters are missing. Think foreign documents, or movie subtitles. If you’ve ever seen a blank square, as depicted in the screenshot above, you should know what I’m talking about. Substituting all these special characters with plain ASCII counterparts might not be grammatically correct, but allows everyone to see what’s written.

2. Adjusting Scripts and Jumping Between Character Notations

Apart from local alphabets, different script languages are known to use different character notations. For example, because in some special characters hold a special meaning in HTML, they’re usually written down as a ‘character entity’.

Some web-addresses also use special notations to replace certain characters. For instance, whitespace is automatically replaced with %20. Substitutions can save you from a tedious task of checking a document and making sure the correct notations are being used – or, in reverse, from having to ‘decipher’ said notations manually.

3.  Using Morse Code and Simple Substitution Ciphers

Another usage of mass character replacement allows you to convert your text to morse code or simple substitution ciphers. Mono-alphabetic substitution cipher, a form of encryption where every character is replaced with a cryptic counterpart.

Admittedly, this borders more on ‘fun’ than on ‘national security’. Mono-alphabetic ciphers have long been outdated and are easily decrypted. But it should be enough to keep a secret from a snooping co-worker.

Know that you can also use the application to reverse said encryption. If you know the substitution rules, you can easily decrypt a message using mass find-replace.

Of course, the possibilities of mass text replacement are close the endless, and you can create any set of rules, for any purpose. Do you know any other applications that will do this? Or any other clever uses for such a software? Let us know in the comments section below!

  1. Nat Jay
    May 31, 2010 at 5:33 am

    I see possibilities of this tool among uber geeks and technology language aficionados, though I doubt many of the regular folks would use it. It's a 'dry' tool, but a useful one when you're working with text and theses. Thanks!

    • Aibek
      June 5, 2010 at 2:19 pm

      agree, it's not something for everyone but it's invaluable for those who need it.

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