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Find and Replace Tool in Dreamweaver CS4

There will come a time and place in the near future when you are going to need to use the find and replace tool in Dreamweaver. It might be that you want to replace a text line on some of your pages. Maybe you want to change the copyright notice on your web site from 2009 to 2010. Or it could be that you have made a monumental mistake to the code in a thousand or so pages and you really, really need to learn how find and replace multiple lines of code in Dreamweaver.

I have used the find and replace words tool in Dreamweaver many times at great success. The first time I ever used it however, I messed up so badly that I couldn’t use the find and replace tool to help me to correct the mistake. I spent a whole weekend once manually changing the problems I had created and I was not a happy bunny by the end of it!

Ok, so I’m going to show you how to use the find and replace tool to make some site wide changes and it just so happens that I need to change some code in 120 or so pages and I’m going to use the find and replace tool to find and replace multiple pages in Dreamweaver CS4.

You can use the find and replace tool to make design view textual changes or you can use it to delve into the ‘back of house’ and adjust some code in code view or find and replace specific tags.

So, I’m going to make a code change and I need to bring up the find and replace tool:

find and replace tool from the edit menu

To access the find and replace tool you will need to go to the Edit > Find and Replace...

Alternatively you can bring up the Find and Replace too by pressing Ctrl + F in Windows or Option + F on the Mac.

What you will get is a dialog box which has many options for Finding and Replacing different parts of text or code in Dreamweaver.

find in and search options in the Find and Replace Tool

  • Find In - Gives you the option to tell Dreamweaver the files you want to search from the current file selected to the entire site you are in.
  • Search - Determines whether you want to find text or make a textual change or find code or make a code change.
  • Find Box - In the find box you can specify the text you want to find whether it be in code view or a tag or typography on the page itself.
  • Replace Box - Place the text you want to replace or leave it blank to bring up the results before you put the replacement text.

other options available with the find and replace tool

Other options for the find and replace tool are to match case which will find capital letters or certain instances of words in capitals or not. Leaving it unchecked will bring up all instances of a word. You can choose to either ignore white space which deals with tabs, extra space and hard space. you can select to use regular expression for which you can use string expressions to locate information too.

When you are happy with all of the find options you have selected. you can then go ahead and click 'find.' If you want to find all examples of a given line of code or text in your site you can select find all. and It will bring up all the files at the bottom of the screen with the text you searched for highlighted in red:

search results for find and replace

When you have placed the text you would like to replace into the replacement box you can either go one by one into each document replacing the text and overseeing it. Or you can click on the replace all function and let dreamweaver update it in seconds!

The Find and Replace Tool - A word of Caution

The find and replace tool can be your best friend and worst enemy. You must be certain that the change you are about to make has been well thought out, otherwise instead of the find and replace function saving you hours of work, It could end up giving hours more work to do.

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