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How to Use Regular Expressions in Visual Studio Find

I have to admit that I've never really understood regular expressions. But if there was any reason that I was going to learn to use them, it would be when doing searches in Visual Studio.

For one thing, regular expressions are easy to invoke when doing a search: When you press Ctrl_F to get the Find dialog box, all you have to do is click the asterisk (*) to the left of the of scope dropdown list to start using regular expressions in your search.

I think, for example, I'm ready to start using the period (which matches a single character) in my searches. That would let me (for example) search for any string that begins with a and ends with p that has only one character in between (a.p). I not only understand this, but it's also easy to extend: Looking for a and p with two characters in between is a..p.

Where I could see being even more successful is by using Replace in Files more. When you open Replace in Files there's a Use Regular Expressions option tucked in under Find Options. Checking off that option enables the button at the end of the "Find what" text box. I like that button because clicking on it produces a quick study guide for regular expression newbies like me. I could do this.

I mean: it's certainly possible that I could learn something new. Unlikely, but possible.

Posted by Peter Vogel on 05/30/2019 at 11:02 AM


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