Q . Find and replace text within a file using commands.

Dev Singh. asked, Mar 06 ' 2017

How can I find and replace specific words in a text file or in multiple files using command line?

  • linux
  • terminal
  • find-and-replace

2 Answers

sed -i 's/original/new/g' file.txt


  • sed = Stream EDitor
  • -i = in-place (i.e. save back to the original file)
  • The command string:

    • s = the substitute command
    • original = a regular expression describing the word to replace (or just the word itself)
    • new = the text to replace it with
    • g = global (i.e. replace all and not just the first occurrence)
  • file.txt = the file name

Find and replace text within multiple files

Here I use sed to replace every occurrence of the word "cybernetnews" with "cybernet" in every file with the extension, c, in the directory, /home/user/directory/.

find /home/user/directory -name \*.c -exec sed -i "s/cybernetnews/cybernet/g" {} \;

A more generic variation where you search recursively from the directory of execution and operate on only regular, readable, writeable files:

find ./ -type f -readable -writable -exec sed -i "s/cybernetnews/cybernet/g" {} \;

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