Sometimes the need arises search and replace text in multiple files at once without doing repetitive and boring manual work. The problem starts when we try to do this after opening each file. Of course, you only need a few seconds to find and replace text in two or three rows. However, imagine you have fifty or hundreds of files and you need to find and replace words in each file. How do you handle a situation like this? Well, first of all, don’t panic. Fortunately, there are programs that can help you and search and replace text in multiple files with just one click.
Here are the 3 best totally FREE “Text Find and Replace” software that we recommend you try. We have selected two programs for Windows and one for Mac users, so as not to disappoint anyone!
#1. Batch Text Find and Replace (for Windows)
Batch Text Find and Replace it’s a little program, 100% free, designed specifically to search for and replace text and words (or entire sentences) from all the files in a given folder. In addition to analyzing the files present in a folder, it is also possible to massively replace the text even from the subfolders of that directory. In short, it is a really powerful tool that could save you a lot of hours of work!
To get started, download the program from the following button (for Windows 11/10/8/7)
After downloading you will see the following icon on your PC
Click to open the program (being a “portable” no installation will be done). Click and launch the program directly. Here is the main interface:
To search and replace text and words in multiple files in a folder or entire directory, here are the simple steps to follow:
Step 1. Set files or directories to scan
At the top of the program you can select an input file or set a folder / directory of your PC containing all the files to be analyzed.
Step 2. Set filters
In the field Filter by default it is set *.* which allows you to analyze all files in the selected folder. However, if you only want to analyze files of a certain format, for example Word files in .docx format, simply insert the filter *.docx. If you want to analyze only html files you can insert a filter *.htmlfor excel *.xlsxetc…
In addition to the filter you can also select the “search in subdirectories” to also analyze all the files present in the subfolders of the selected directory. By selecting the box “case sensitive” the text to be searched will be searched as it is, so if you enter capital letters the program will take it into account.
There is also the box “search in files/directories names” which searches and replaces the text of the file name, but if your intent is to change the file name we recommend using software like Rename File (designed specifically to rename multiple files at once and in bulk).
Step 3. Search and replace text
Now it’s time to enter the text you want to search for (in the field Text to Find) and the one to insert in its place (in the field Replace with). On the right of the program there are buttons to start the search (FIND) and substitution (REPLACE) both single and multiple. Press up FIND ALL to first see how many occurrences there are and then click on REPLACE ALL to perform massive text replacement in all files.
The “logs” will appear at the bottom of the program, i.e. the details of all the files affected by the replacement operation. This way you will be able to know exactly which and how many files were modified in the operation.
#2. FNR: Find and Replace (for Windows)
First, download the FNR (find and replace) tool. You can download it from official site. Since this is portable software, you will not need to install it. After opening the tool on your PC, the following screen will appear,
The user interface is minimal and very intuitive. You will understand how it works in a few seconds. However, follow the steps below to find and replace text in multiple files using this free tool.
Step 1. Select directory (input)
First, you need to select the folder where all the files containing the text you want to replace are located. The program will replace the text in those files, all those that are placed in that folder. To select the directory simply click on the box next to the empty box and choose the folder. Then you can also set a particular file extension.
Step 2. Select file type to scan
By default the tool shows *.*. This means it will replace the text in all files present in the selected folder. However, suppose you want to find and replace text in all .css files. To do this you will have to write *.css in the “File Mask” box.
If you want to add more extensions, add them like this:
If you want to include all files except .exe and similar insert the following in the “Exclude mask” section:
Or to exclude both .exe and .dll files write:
Step 3. Start text replacement
At this point you need to enter the text (to search and replace) in the box FIND. You can enter a single word or a line.
In the box below, write the text with which you wish to replace the original one. After completing everything, the window will look like this:
Now you have two options. First, you can press the button Replace to immediately replace that text. Secondly, you can get a command that you can use via Command Prompt to achieve the same operation. Click on “Gand Replace Command Line” and you will see a command in the bottom box, like:
"C:\Users\Sudip\Downloads\Programs\fnr.exe" --cl --dir "C:\Users\Sudip\Desktop\genesis" --fileMask "*.php,*.css" --excludeFileMask "*.dll, *.exe" --includeSubDirectories --find "genesis" --replace "sudip"
If you analyze this line you will notice that all the settings entered into the program are present such as the folder to analyze, the type of file to include or exclude, and obviously the text to search for and replace in all the files in the directory. Just copy the command and paste it into command prompt. After running the command, you will receive a message similar to this:
#3. MassReplaceIt (for Mac)
MassReplaceIt allows you to easily make changes to multiple files at once. Remove unwanted text from file names, replace text in a website, number files, and more.
The main features of this app are:
- Searches for contents or file names and replaces them with other text
- Preview changes
- Ability to confirm changes to the file or change the level
- Save search configurations for later reuse
- Exclude files based on filter criteria
- Regular expression support
- Undo changes made in recent searches