command line tool for search and replace
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Go Replace

Go Replace (gr) is a simple utility which can be used as replacement for grep + sed combination in one of most popular cases - find files, which contain something, possibly replace this with something else. Main points:

  • Reads .hgignore/.gitignore to skip files
  • Skips binaries
  • Familiar PCRE-like regexp syntax
  • Can perform replacements
  • Fast


  • Can search in file names with -f (i.e. a simple alternative to find)

Build Status

Releases and changelog


Why do thing which is done by grep, find, and sed? Well, for one - I grew tired of typing long commands with pipes and ugly syntax. You want to search? Use grep. Replace? Use find and sed! Different syntax, context switching, etc. Switching from searching to replacing with gr is 'up one item in history and add a replacement string', much simpler!

Besides, it's also faster than grep! Hard to believe, and it's a bit of cheating - but gr by default ignores everything you have in your .hgignore and .gitignore files, skipping binary files and compiled bytecodes (which you usually don't want to touch anyway).

This is my reason to use it - less latency doing task I'm doing often.


Just download a suitable binary from release page. Put this file in your $PATH and rename it to gr to have easier access.

Building from source

You can also install it from source, if that's your thing:

go get

And you should be done. You have to have $GOPATH set for this to work (go will put sources and generated binary there). Add -u flag there to update your gr.

I prefer name gr to goreplace, so I link gr somewhere in my path (usually in ~/bin) to $GOPATH/bin/goreplace. NOTE: if you use oh-my-zsh, it aliases gr to git remote, so you either should use another name (I propose gor) or remove gr alias:

mkdir -p ~/.oh-my-zsh/custom && echo "unalias gr" >> ~/.oh-my-zsh/custom/goreplace.zsh


Usage is pretty simple, you can just run gr to see help on options. Basically you just supply a regexp (or a simple string - it's a regexp always as well) as an argument and gr will search for it in all files starting from the current directory, just like this:

gr somestring

Some directories and files can be ignored by default (gr is looking for your .hgignore/.gitignore in parent directories), just run gr without any arguments to see help message - it contains information about them.

And to replace:

gr somestring -r replacement

It's performed in place and no backups are made (not that you need them, right? You're using version control, aren't you?). Regular expression submatches supported via $1 syntax - see re2 documentation for more information about syntax and capabilities.