Being able to find and replace text in Chrome, can save you loads of time and enhance productivity. But as this is not a native tool, we’ll show you the best Chrome extensions for the job.
Chrome is hands down the King of all browsers with no heirs in the waiting. But, there are some features that I sometimes wish were included in this capable browser. One of these is native ‘Search and Replace’, a standard feature in Word processing applications that users expect when editing any content.
There are a few situations that come to mind where a native ‘Search and Replace’ feature would be incredibly useful:
- Weird Characters In Blog Entries – This sometimes happens in WordPress immediately after an upgrade. You may end with weird characters such as “â€”, “â€™” or “??”. I’m sure you can imagine the agony of having to replace each occurrence manually.
- Renaming A Word – Sometimes you may want to rename a word that occurs several times in an entire blog post, forum post or email. For example, you could decide to use a synonym which sounds better or brings out the meaning more clearly.
- Fixing A Typo – You may also realize that you have been spelling a word the wrong way and it happens to reoccur several times in your blog post, forum post or email.
These are just a few examples but there are many instances when a ‘Find a Replace’ feature in the browser would come in handy. You could always paste the content into your word processor, fix it and paste it back into the Chrome input field but would’t it really be cool if you could just do this straight from the browser?
Well, it turns out, and to my utter surprise, that there are actually two Chrome extensions that do just this.
The Search and Replace extension does exactly what the name suggests. Install the extension from the Chrome web store, restart Chrome and you are good to go. Make sure you restart the browser because the extension won’t work if you don’t. I noted that failure to restart the extension explains most of the negative reviews in the Chrome web store. After testing, I can confirm that it works in WordPress, Gmail, Hotmail and a couple of vBulletin forums. However, it doesn’t work in Blogger and Facebook.
To use Search and Replace, highlight the text that you want to edit and click the Search and Replace icon. In the Search for field, enter the term/text you want to search and in the Replace with field, enter the new word(s). Watch the video below for more details.
By default, the extension allows you to search for text and replace anywhere on the page. You can set it to search input fields only and also match the case. If you are familiar with regular expressions, you can also search and replace using this feature. Read more about using Search and Replace for Chrome.
This extension doesn’t search text on the page directly. What it does is provide you with an editing field where you can paste text from any input field in your browser, quickly find and replace the words you want, and cut and paste the text back to the browser.
You may be thinking that there isn’t much difference between this and opening your word processing application but the fact is, it is much faster because you do everything from within the browser’s current tab (which is great for Chromebook users). It also conserves processing power since you don’t have to keep your word processor running.
Other Ways To Search & Replace In Chrome
Of course, if you don’t want to use an extension, there is always Ctrl-F and manually pasting in each replacement. This is tedious, though.
In addition to these extensions which allow you to search and replace text in Chrome, there are also other ways to do it when using specific web applications. For example, if you own a self-hosted WordPress blog, there are several free plugins that offer search and replace. There is also a Find and Replace tool for Blogger which searches all posts in a Blogger blog for a specific string of words and replaces with a specified string. However, there is no way to do it from the Blogger window on one specific post. You will also need to authorize the tool in your Google account.
For more cool Chrome extensions, please see our Best Chrome Extensions page.
Do you search and replace in Chrome often? What tools do you use to do it? Leave a comment and share your top picks!