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4.8.3 replace — A String-Replacement Utility

The replace utility program changes strings in place in files or on the standard input.

Invoke replace in one of the following ways:

shell> replace from to [from to] ... -- file_name [file_name] ...
shell> replace from to [from to] ... < file_name

from represents a string to look for and to represents its replacement. There can be one or more pairs of strings.

Use the -- option to indicate where the string-replacement list ends and the file names begin. In this case, any file named on the command line is modified in place, so you may want to make a copy of the original before converting it. replace prints a message indicating which of the input files it actually modifies.

If the -- option is not given, replace reads the standard input and writes to the standard output.

replace uses a finite state machine to match longer strings first. It can be used to swap strings. For example, the following command swaps a and b in the given files, file1 and file2:

shell> replace a b b a -- file1 file2 ...

replace supports the following options.

  • -?, -I

    Display a help message and exit.

  • -#debug_options

    Enable debugging.

  • -s

    Silent mode. Print less information what the program does.

  • -v

    Verbose mode. Print more information about what the program does.

  • -V

    Display version information and exit.

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