Best Free Search and Replace Utility


Many programs have a search and replace function that allows you to replace text in the file you are currently editing. However, search and replace utilities allow you to replace text across multiple files or folders.

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Replace TextThe most powerful free program in this class is Replace Text (formerly BK ReplaceEm). It will carry out replacements in individual files, in a group of selected files, in a set of files determined by a file mask, or indeed every file in a folder.

Replacement can be by text string or by using regular expressions. You can even replace text within a nominated range such as html tags. The interface is both logical and powerful, but it does take a little getting used to, so read the Help file before using. Power users need look no further than this product.


A.F.9A little less powerful, but a tad easier for normal users is A.F.9. It allows multiple search and replace operations in the one pass, can save search and replace operations for later re-use, and has full drag and drop support.


InfoRapidThese programs are designed for use on text based files such as .txt and .html and must not be used on binary files or proprietary formats such as Microsoft Word.


If you want to search and replace these file types, then check out InfoRapid Search & Replace. It's not as powerful as the best binary editors, but with suitable add-ins it­ can handle certain Microsoft Office file types plus .rtf and .pdf

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Quick Selection Guide

Replace Text

Gizmo's Freeware award as the best product in its class!

Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
many replacement features, text and binary files
takes some time to learn
833 KB
Unrestricted freeware
From the developers' web site: "Please note that Replace Text is no longer supported and has known problems with some Windows 7 installations." The download is atill available as of July 2013.


Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
multiple search and replace operations in the one pass
less powerful than Replace Text
992 KB
Unrestricted freeware
Windows 9x/Me/NT4/XP

InfoRapid Seach & Replace

Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
can handle certain Microsoft Office file types plus .rtf and .pdf
does not work with binary files
1.0 MB
Free for private use only
Windows 98, ME, NT, 2000, XP, Vista

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The more correct license type of InfoRapid Seach & Replace is:
"InfoRapid Search & Replace is freeware and may be copied, distributed and used for private purposes without any limitations. Installing and using the freeware version on a commercially used computer is absolutely prohibited. In order to use the program commercially, you need one license (25 Euro) for every user."

Thanks Lew Wadoo for your kind feedback. The product record has now been updated.

Thanks for these reviews. I see that the page for Replace Text says "Please note that Replace Text is no longer supported and has known problems with some Windows 7 installations."

Thanks for the information. This category is currently without an editor.

You really should include TextCrawler in your list. It's free and very powerful - it supports regex, previewing, text ripping and has batch processing. It's pretty fast too.

Caution! TextCrawler is ad-supported and will try to install unwanted components such as toolbars. MC - Site Manager.

Not the version I downloaded last week? It seemed clean to me.

The download defaults to which uses a wrapped installer. cnet is no longer a safe or trustworthy download source. Their own installer also included OpenCandy although the exact makeup of what is there now will no doubt be varied as users discover the contents and try to avoid it. MC - Site Manager.

Nope, nothing in the CNET download either. I've heard that developers can 'Opt out' of having their software CNET wrapped after there was some hoo-ha about open source stuff being wrapped a while back.

The CNET is offering the download for TextCrawler without their wrapped installer. So, that's good. But still, this is not the same for all cases. As you say, some developers can opt out of this by telling CNET, to which they comply. But, still in majority of cases, CNET employs its wrapped installer, and that is why we do not recommend it as a download site. I did download and run TextCrawler. It seems it is free of any extras, like toolbar, OpenCandy etc. It's clean. Although Softpedia does say that it is ad-supported. Maybe it did bundle something extra before, not now.
Thanks for checking it out. :) MC
"... TurboSR Search and Replace is very handy if you need to make changes to a whole range of text, HTML, XML or other text-based files ...":