Monday, November 16, 2009

My favorite Regular Expression for deleting a line at a time

Ok, so you probably know the power of regular expressions or regex. One of the great things about regex is that with most modern text editors (and even some old classic ones) you can use them to do quick editing over a large file.

My favorite (and this will work in Visual Studio) is for removing lines at a time based on some match.

Let's say we want to select (most likely for removal) any line from a file that has the word Bart in it. Our regex would look like this:

^.*Bart.*$\n

The \n indicates new line. If you left off the \n the line would be selected without the new line character. If you are doing a replacement (such as with nothing to delete the line) and leave off the \n the line is selected but not the return character so for removing the text, a blank line would still exist in the file, whereas including the \n will delete the entire line from the file.

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