Find and replace for all files in directory

Posted on 2004-10-14
Last Modified: 2013-12-06

I want to find all instances of "ABC123" (case sensitive) in ALL files in the directory /home/usr/stuff/ file.txt and replace all the instances with "LMNOP789"

The ownership and permissions must be preserved.

How can this be done from a command line?
I am using Red Hat 7.

Question by:hankknight
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Expert Comment

ID: 12310824
cd /home/usr/stuff; for f in $(ls *.txt); do cat $f | sed -e 's/ABC123/LMNOP789/g' > tmp$$.txt && chown --reference=$f tmp$$.txt; chmod --reference=$f tmp$$.txt; mv -f tmp$$.txt $f; done

Keep in mind that if the owner of the file is someone other than yourself and you're not running as root then you may not be able to overwrite the file.

Written to be more legible it looks like this:

cd /home/usr/stuff
for f in $(ls *.txt)
    cat $f | sed -e 's/ABC123/LMNOP789/g' > tmp$$.txt \
    && chown --reference=$f tmp$$.txt; \
    chmod --reference=$f tmp$$.txt; \
    mv -f tmp$$.txt $f

Expert Comment

ID: 12311009
>I want to find all instances of "ABC123" (case sensitive) in ALL files in the directory /home/usr/stuff/  and
>replace all the instances with "LMNOP789"
>The ownership and permissions must be preserved.

Here's the script (one method) for that:
for i in `find /home/usr/stuff/ -type f`; do vi -e -c "%s/ABC123/LMNOP789/g" -c "wq" $i; done
Copy the command exactly. If you are typing, make sure all quotations are correct (Note that the first two single quotes is the key usually above your 'tab' key).

Expert Comment

ID: 12311050
I never gave a thought to using vi in this manner.   Thanks!

Oh, make it:

find /home/usr/stuff/ -type f -name "*.txt"   as I think from the specs that the filenames all have a txt extension.
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Expert Comment

ID: 12311474
You are welcome. BTW, FYI, the filenames need not necessarily have a txt extension.
LVL 16

Author Comment

ID: 12311637
Thanks!  It worked, but it returned several pages of errors:

                   Error detected while processing command line:
                   Pattern not found: storefront

For future refference, is there a way to supress the errors?

LVL 23

Expert Comment

ID: 12313555
You get the errors because some of the "ALL files in the directory" don't
contain the source pattern for the replace.  Rather than 'find', why don't
you use 'grep -l' to limit the files to those that contain the source pattern.

for i in `grep -l "ABC123" /home/usr/stuff/*.txt`; do vi -e -c "%s/ABC123/LMNOP789/g" -c "wq" $i; done

LVL 10

Assisted Solution

Luxana earned 100 total points
ID: 12314078
> For future refference, is there a way to supress the errors?

you can redirect standart error to /dev/null

lets take blkline's example :

find /home/usr/stuff/ -type f -name "*.txt" 2> /dev/null

so all errors will be send to /dev/null and you get just STDOUT
LVL 38

Assisted Solution

yuzh earned 100 total points
ID: 12314656
How about:

(find /home/usr/stuff/ -type f | xarg vi -e -c "%s/ABC123/LMNOP789/g" -c "wq" ) 2>/dev/null

please credit to  Sunjith's vi statement, you can also use perl/sed to do the same job.

Accepted Solution

Sunjith earned 300 total points
ID: 12315135
> (find /home/usr/stuff/ -type f | xarg vi -e -c "%s/ABC123/LMNOP789/g" -c "wq" ) 2>/dev/null

That's good. Just a correction. It should be "xargs" instead of "xarg"

Grepping is a better idea than find because it filters out the files needed to be processed by vi and grep processes file much faster than vi. Combining all the ideas, the better command would be:
grep -srl "ABC123" /home/usr/stuff/ | xargs vi -e -c "%s/ABC123/LMNOP789/g" -c "wq"

Though there wouldn't be too many errors as you got with the previous script, if you are very particular, you may redirect the std error as well:
grep -srl "ABC123" /home/usr/stuff/ | xargs vi -e -c "%s/ABC123/LMNOP789/g" -c "wq" 2>/dev/null
LVL 38

Expert Comment

ID: 12315163
Sorry about the typo, it should be "xargs", Sunjith thanks for the correction.

Expert Comment

ID: 12317537
I'd use grep a bit differently:

for f in $(find /usr/home/stuff -type f) ; do grep ABC123 $f && cat $f | sed "s/ABC123/LMNOP789/g" > tmp$$.txt && chown --reference=$f tmp$$.txt; mv -f tmp$$.txt $f; done


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