What Are Regular Expressions In Notepad++

What Are Regular Expressions In Notepad++

A notepad feature like regular expressions, known as Regex (regexp), is a mechanism for searching and replacing characters in a text array. Regular expression can be used both in line text in Notepad ++ or Notepad, and for search / replace in various files. Unlike the usual search tool, this mechanism allows you to define templates.

For example, you need to find all dates in a text document, but how to do it? Using a regular expression, you can specify a pattern by which the function will find numbers in a specific format. Regularity will also help to replace a certain format with another, for example, change the form of dates or names (DD.MM.YYYY, for example, to YYYY.DD.MM).

Regular expression, a unique tool that will allow you to correct systematic errors or flaws in the text, code, titles. For example, add missing characters, remove empty lines and double spaces, replace words and characters with others. This function is effective for programmers, copywriters, editors, seo specialists. Regular expression will significantly speed up the workflow, help avoid errors and eliminate the human factor when writing code or text.

When do you need regular expressions?

Regular expressions (also called regexp, or regex) are a mechanism for finding and replacing text. In line, file, multiple files. They are used by developers in the application code, testers in autotests, and simply when working on the command line. Actually use regex in notepad++ is a very handy feature for users.

To extract information, search and replace arrays of text, as well as a number of other solutions, it is most convenient to use regular expressions. Unlike the usual copy-paste, this method of information processing guarantees the replacement of all selected elements and eliminates the possibility of skipping errors. Regular expressions are used today for the following tasks:

  1. When validating data (for example, to find errors in the time string, etc.);
  2. To collect data (when searching for pages that contain a certain set of characters, letters, words);
  3. When processing data (for example, when converting raw data into a specific format);
  4. Parsing (to extract a GET from a URL - or to perform similar tasks);
  5. To replace strings (you can convert Java to C #, etc.);
  6. In order to rename files, analyze data, highlight syntax or perform other tasks.

How exactly to use the regular expression of a special notepad or a regular text editor is a matter for each specialist. The set of functions and tools is manually configured by each webmaster, programmer or copywriter, depending on the desired solution to the list of tasks.

What do you need to learn to use?

First of all, it is important to understand what an Anchor is. In regular expressions, these are the characters ^ and $. Each character has its own role. And it can be used in certain situations:

  • ^ Robot - matches a line starting with robot;
  • land $ - matches a line ending in land;
  • ^ Robot Earth $ - Exact Match (starts and ends as Robot Earth)
  • Warm-up - matches any line containing the warm-up text;

To fully understand the basics, other than anchors, it's also important to understand quantifiers. Their role is played by the following symbols: *, +,? , {}.

The basics of learning regular expressions also include operator symbols: | and [].

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At the initial stage in working with regular expressions, it is also important to know the character classes (\ d, \ w, \ s and.), Flags (g, m, i), bracket groups (()), bracket expressions ([]).

The various notepad++ regular expression global flags g,m,i are standing for:
  • g for global search, it remembers last match index, to allow iterative searches, usually used together with m as /gm
  • m for multiline, so the start anchor ^ and ending anchor $ will match the start or end of a line,
  • i for case sensitiveness: (?-i) will make the search case sensitive, (?i) will make the search case insensitive.

There are also higher levels of knowledge of regular expressions in text editors. Regulars can have complex forms and are capable of performing unique tasks, for the implementation of which, it is important to delve deeper into this topic and study a sufficient amount of literature on computer science, programming and, of course, the use of regular expressions.

Macros in Notepad ++ - the simplest regular

In a notepad application, a macro acts as a regular expression. Inside the Notepad ++ program, a macro plays the role of a template, both for webmasters and coders, as well as for ordinary users. Thanks to this function, you can use the ready-made code in the form of a template in the document by clicking one click.

The macro is written individually, by each webmaster independently, in the form of a template, inside the Notepad ++ program itself. To manage a set of macros, you need to go to the toolbar of the text editor itself to develop a regular expression:

  • Opening a text document;
  • Click on the red circle in the right corner of the program, which has the signature Start recording;
  • We write down the actions in order, without errors;
  • After the end of the macro recording, press the Stop recording button in the form of a black square;
  • Select the section Macros in the menu and click Save recording to macro;
  • We name the regular expression and save it by clicking on the OK button.

To run the saved macro, you need to click in the Macros section, the Page skeleton button. After clicking, the regular expression saved in Notepad ++ as a macro will be inserted into the document.


In cases where a text editor cannot cope with replacement and search tasks, a special program - grepWin can help. This software can search and replace characters both with the Regex tool and in the form of a text search / editor. But do not forget about backup files - data backup is the only way to save information in case of incorrect substitution of characters.

grepWin: Regular expression search and replace for Windows

In conclusion: advanced Notepad++ regular expressions

Regular expressions can be used both in text editors and using a set of programs created specifically for this. The most famous software for regulars is: Regex101, Myregexp, Regexr. Regular expressions are most often used in Notepad ++. There are also online services for working with regular expressions. What exactly to choose for you is definitely an individual decision and depends on the circumstances, the required functionality and the capabilities of the program. And most importantly - from the specifics of the specialty.

More Notepad++ tips and tricks

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the meaning of regular expressions Notepad++?
Regular expressions are a mechanism for finding and replacing text in a string, in a file, in multiple files. They are used by developers in the application code, testers in autotests and just when working on the command line.

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Comments (2)

 2022-12-19 -  rbear
You wrote that you need to know the flags for Notepad. Can you give an example of how to enter them there?
 2022-12-20 -  admin
@rbear, sure, see the updated article: /gm for global multiline search, (?i) for case insensitive search, (?-i) for case sensitive search

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