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What is Text Echo?
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Text Echo has a search and replace option using innovative wild word characters. You can have as many wild word symbols as you like up to the limit of the number of characters in a font. Each stands for a single letter, word or word fragment in the search phrase, and you can re-arrange them in any order in the replacement phrase.

Wild words and characters

To briefly explain how it works:

You can choose any characters as wild word characters. The preset wild word characters are *@ and #.

These match any word or part of a word. So for instance, "the * * fox" will match "the quick brown fox" or any other occurrences of "the" and "fox" with two words in between.

Using wild words in the replacement text

The words your search phrase finds in the original text can be used in the replacement.


Replace: "the * * fox" by "the fox which was * and *"

This replaces "the quick brown fox" by "the fox which was quick and brown".

Your search phrase found the words quick and brown for the *s, so these are used in the replacement text.

Changing word order with wild word characters

You can also change the order of the words in the replacement text - to do this you need to use more than one wild word character.

Example of changing the order:

Replace: "the * @ fox" by "the fox which was @ and *"

This replaces "the quick brown fox" by "the fox which was brown and quick".

You can have any number of wild word characters like this to search for different words up to the limit of the number of characters in the font.

Fragmentary words

You can also search for fragments, for instance suppose that you want to look for all words that begin with t and end with ing, such as testing, teething, etc, then just search for: t*ing

E.g. replace t*ing by "b*"

would replace testing by best,

(- so a wild word character like * matches any number characters until white space or punctuation or whatever you set the words to end at - or until it reaches whatever comes next in the search phrase).

and so on.

Wild word characters you use can occur in the original text

The wild word characters can occur in the text you search. The wild word character can get found within wild words too.

So "the * * fox" would in fact also find "the quick br*n fox" if the original text had an * there.


Replace: "the * @ fox" by "the fox which was @ and *"

Apply this to some text with *s and @s in it:

the qu*@ck br*n fox

This will get changed, just as before, by swapping the words around, to

the fox which was br*n and qu*@ck

The occurrences of *s and @s in the original text causes no problems here.

What to do if you want to search for a wild word character as the character itself

The only restriction really is the obvious one. If you want to search for an * as the character itself, then you can't use an * as your wild word character.

If that happens, just choose some other character from the font as your wild word character.

E.g. to change * to + in a whole page of sums, you obviously can't have an * as your wild word character, but just use an @ (say) instead:

Replace: "@ * @" by "@ + @" - where @ is one of your wild word characters.

Just make sure that you remove the * from your list of wild word characters.

This then would change e.g. 3 * 5 to 3 + 5

Does it work with unicode?

It can be used in a limited way to find phrases in unicode text using the wild word characters. But all the characters in the search terms and the text to replace them by have to be ascii at present (and for the near future as it would prob. require a unicode rewrite and rebuild of the program).

When searching the text, currently it only sees the ascii stand ins for the unicode (usually a ?) and can only replace found text with ascii characters.

If you use it to re-arrange two unicode words, for instance, since it only sees ?s for each one, the result will consist of a whole lot of ?s replacing the original unicode.

Comparison with other methods

There are more flexible methods, particularly the use of so called "regular expressions". If you write perl scripts or are a techy searcher, you are probably aware of those. But on the other hand wild characters are particularly easy to use, and rather intuitive and user friendly. While regular expressions are decidedly "techy" and at least not well suited to newbies.

To find this feature in Text Echo, go to Find | Show Find & Replace window (Ctrl + H). Or - go to Main | Main with replace & Opts

Freeware / Shareware status: This feature is basically free. You can use it for free to open files, do a search and replace, and resave them - or to search and replace the contents of the clipboard. You may however want to use it with one of the shareware features such as to do a search and replace for more than three items simultaneously, or all the files in a folder, or text that you enter into a web form.

To read more about Text Echo, go on to:

Search and replace folders and sub folders

To get the program, download and install Text Echo

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Activity Timer and Text Echo - Utilities
By Robert Walker

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