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regular expressions tutorial

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Posted by jimspoon
Sep 10, 2014 at 10:32 PM


I’ve been consolidating my journal entries into a single Excel spreadsheet, and now I have well over 100,000 entries going back to 2002.  Each journal entry begins with a timestamp in the format - “2014.09.10.1541 -”

anyway it has taken quite a bit of doing to break up the entries into smaller entries and put the timestamp at the front of each one. 

I was able to accomplish a lot in Notepad++ (freebie) using seach and replace using regular expressions.  The process has been an eye-opener for me on the power of regular expressions.  Also Excel helps a lot particularly with converting dates from one text format to another.

I just wanted to pass along a link to a good regex tutorial -


Posted by Slartibartfarst
Sep 11, 2014 at 07:29 AM


Thanks Jim - the Regex tutorial will come in handy for me, as a revision tool.
On your moving all your journal entries into Excel, I have to ask, “Why?”


Posted by jimspoon
Sep 11, 2014 at 02:26 PM


Slartibartfarst wrote:
Thanks Jim - the Regex tutorial will come in handy for me, as a revision
>On your moving all your journal entries into Excel, I have to ask,

Primarily for purposes of altering the data before I copy the items into Infoqube.  With all its functions, etc., Excel is quite good for this purpose.  And I’m not even using macros yet.  Unfortunately Excel does not support search and replace using regular expressions, that would make it even more powerful.  OpenOffice Calc does do this, but I haven’t tried it yet for this purpose.

Excel is also very useful for filtering a large number of text items - filtering for text contained within the items using the “contains” option.  Even when the spreadsheet contains hundreds of thousands of items, it is very very fast.  (Excel supports up to 1,048,576 rows x 16,384 columns.)  Much faster than OpenOffice Calc for this purpose.  I am thinking of making greater use of Excel for note-taking, even if just as a secondary means for searching and manipulating my text entries.

back to regular expressions - this website advertises itself as “The Premier website about Regular Expressions” and I think that may be justified:



Posted by Alexander Deliyannis
Sep 11, 2014 at 03:17 PM


Regular expressions are indeed very powerful. I usually employ them in one of my main editors, EmEditor.

But I admit that I am rather lazy to actually learn them, so I resort to ‘cheatting’ with the help of RegEx Buddy http://www.just-great-software.com/


Posted by CRC
Sep 11, 2014 at 04:42 PM


I second the recommendation on RegEx Buddy.


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