Replace Genius: find and replace text in Excel and Word files, in batch

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Finding and replacing text in multiple text files at once isn’t new, but most people in businesses and homes use Word and Excel files, not text files. If you use Excel or Word extensively and would like to perform find and replace operations right from the desktop (and/or in batch), then check out ‘Replace Genius’, a program that recently became freeware.

‘Replace Genius’ allows you to find and replace text within Excel, Word, and text files. It can apply 10 different kinds of operations, many of which you’ve probably seen before and are familiar with from file renumbering programs, such as: inserting a string, trimming (removing leading or trailing spaces), renumbering, and adding counters, just to name a few.

Replace Genius Screenshot1

But it can go a crucial step further, in that it allows you to combine your desired text manipulation operations together and save then in ‘presets’. Not only can you keep these for later use, but you can also use them to perform operations on files in batch. The screenshot below illustrates the process of adding multiple operations to a preset, to be performed in sequence.

Replace Genius Screenshot3

Reasons why you would want to use Replace Genius:

If you’ve had to perform find/replace operations in Excel or Word before, you may be wondering why you would use ‘Replace Genius’ rather than the native find and replace in the Microsoft programs. Here’s a number of reasons to do so:

  • You can process multiple files in batch
  • You can save your manipulations as presets for later use
  • You can perform extremely sophisticated operations, such as numbering and string manipulations, that could only be done with advanced formulas in Excel. And you could do it in one fell swoop.
  • You can limit your operations to a subset of lines using a filter: e.g. a range of lines, or limit to lines that contain a certain text, or match using regular expressions etc.
  • Unlike Find/Replace in Excel or Word, Replace Genius shows a preview of what the result will look like.

Reasons why you would want to NOT want to use it:

  • Processes one column at a time within one worksheet, which you have to select manually. Very Strange indeed, since in Excel you could specify a range (or several columns or even a custom area of cells), as well as select several worksheets at once if you want to search/replace simultaneously.
  • Does not find/replace inside formulas. Which is to say assumes all of your file’s content is data, and the program does not seem to know that a column contains formulas. In this case the preview pane will be completely off the mark and unreliable.

The verdict:

This program is unique, in the power that it brings to the find/replace functionality, and in that it can handle Word and Excel files (including the post Excel 2007 .XLSX format).

The program may appeal more to power users than casual users, and it may be more suited to search/replace operations involving a gigantic column of data (such as logs or lists for example) rather than an Excel file consisting of multiple worksheets/columns/rows. So keep that in mind.

Although ‘Replace Genius’ may not be for everyone (no’r for everyday use),when you DO need it, it can be extremely useful.

Get this program on the Replace Genius home page (Windows).