A Friend in Find and Replace

When working on websites there is no doubt that you will be able to benefit from the use of Dreamweaver’s extensive find and replace capability. Whether making a new site or updating an already existing one, this functionality can prove very useful. When working with sites with only a few pages it may seem like it doesn’t give that much assistance, but if you have a global change to make on a site with thousands of pages, you will really see the benefit and power that a good find and replace can give.

You have options for how to choose which files you want to execute this method on. You can change it to work with the current document (default), all open documents, a folder in the site, selected files in the site, or the entire local site. Another note of caution is to make sure you have the most current files on your local computer. So download the site again before doing any large scale find and replace changes.

There is a danger involved in large find and replaces that are done on files. Changes made on files that aren’t currently open cannot be undone. Therefore you must be careful before executing this. It is good practice to open a couple of the files to test your find and replace statement. If it works well you can do it on the whole site, otherwise you can undo the changes on the open files and try a new find and replace.

You must also be careful with not being specific enough with what you are finding. If you are using a common statement in your “Find” box, you must make sure that it is not used elsewhere where you do not want it to change. Sometimes it is best to add more of the surrounding code into the “Find” box even if that code isn’t being changed just so it stays more specific and will only change the section you want.

Find and Replace is certainly your friend. But if you aren’t careful, it can turn into a disaster.