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findstr as alternative for recursive grep search

Posted by jpluimers on 2016/04/27

Usually I use the old Borland grep.exe that still ships with Delphi. Too bad it is 16-bit app which does not recognise Unicode.

FindStr does. Though much slower and with limited regular expression capabilities, can do recursive searches too:

findstr /spin /c:"string to find" *.*

The /spin is a shortcut for these case insensitive command-line options (the full list of possible options is below):

  /S         Searches for matching files in the current directory and all
             subdirectories.
  /I         Specifies that the search is not to be case-sensitive.
  /N         Prints the line number before each line that matches.
  /P         Skip files with non-printable characters.

Sometimes I leave out the /P to include binary files.

–jeroen

via:

findstr /? help output:

Searches for strings in files.

FINDSTR [/B] [/E] [/L] [/R] [/S] [/I] [/X] [/V] [/N] [/M] [/O] [/P] [/F:file]
        [/C:string] [/G:file] [/D:dir list] [/A:color attributes] [/OFF[LINE]]
        strings [[drive:][path]filename[ ...]]

  /B         Matches pattern if at the beginning of a line.
  /E         Matches pattern if at the end of a line.
  /L         Uses search strings literally.
  /R         Uses search strings as regular expressions.
  /S         Searches for matching files in the current directory and all
             subdirectories.
  /I         Specifies that the search is not to be case-sensitive.
  /X         Prints lines that match exactly.
  /V         Prints only lines that do not contain a match.
  /N         Prints the line number before each line that matches.
  /M         Prints only the filename if a file contains a match.
  /O         Prints character offset before each matching line.
  /P         Skip files with non-printable characters.
  /OFF[LINE] Do not skip files with offline attribute set.
  /A:attr    Specifies color attribute with two hex digits. See "color /?"
  /F:file    Reads file list from the specified file(/ stands for console).
  /C:string  Uses specified string as a literal search string.
  /G:file    Gets search strings from the specified file(/ stands for console).
  /D:dir     Search a semicolon delimited list of directories
  strings    Text to be searched for.
  [drive:][path]filename
             Specifies a file or files to search.

Use spaces to separate multiple search strings unless the argument is prefixed
with /C.  For example, 'FINDSTR "hello there" x.y' searches for "hello" or
"there" in file x.y.  'FINDSTR /C:"hello there" x.y' searches for
"hello there" in file x.y.

Regular expression quick reference:
  .        Wildcard: any character
  *        Repeat: zero or more occurrences of previous character or class
  ^        Line position: beginning of line
  $        Line position: end of line
  [class]  Character class: any one character in set
  [^class] Inverse class: any one character not in set
  [x-y]    Range: any characters within the specified range
  \x       Escape: literal use of metacharacter x
  \    Word position: end of word

For full information on FINDSTR regular expressions refer to the online Command
Reference.

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