Maximising the use of Find and Replace


October 20th, 2005 by admin admin

The find and replace feature is used to replace word(s) or phrase(s). And most people only know how to use this feature to replace full word(s) or phrase(s). It may not occur to them that the usability of this feature could be enhanced by understanding a little bit more about the words or phrases or abbreviations you want to replace. Let me share with you what I mean.

Assuming if you have a long list of company names (a short list of 4 companies is shown below for illustration purpose).

ABC PL Co
EFR Placement Co
THG Gold-Plating Co
JHG PL Co

Assuming that you want to spell the word PL in full (i.e. Private Limited). If you are to find (“PL”) and replace it with (“Private Limited”), you will replace the first & last company name correctly. At the same time, you will change the word “placement” to “Private Limitedacement” and the word “Gold-Plating” to “Gold-Private Limitedating”, something you do not wish to do.

In most cases, people would have stopped here thinking that you have to do this manually. If you are one of them, read on.

PL is an isolate “word” in the listing while Placement and Gold-Plating are part of a word. So to effectively replace PL without touching Placement and Gold-Plating, you should find ” PL ” (note the spaces before and after) and replace it with ” Private Limited ” (note the spaces before and after). With this slight change, you would not have to waste time replace the word manually and save the time for other task.

You can also use this tip with any program that has a find and replace function.
Drop me a note if you think this is useful to you.

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