With PowerGREP, you can quickly search for a piece of information through files and folders on your computer or network. Simply type in a keyword or phrase in the Search box, select which folder PowerGREP should go through and which types of files are of interest. PowerGREP will present you with a list of files and/or individual search matches. Double-clicking a match in the results to open its file and inspect the match’s context.
The Search feature is very useful for searching through archived files. Suppose you remember writing a letter or email about something, but you do not remember to who and when, simply type in a relevant keyword in PowerGREP and search through all your archived correspondence. If you are a programmer, you can quickly search through all your source code, or your development tool’s library source code. You could type in a function name to see where and how it is used, which is very useful when studying new library functions, or when you plan to modify one of your own library functions. Tracking particular events in huge numbers of log files is easy. Type in a relevant keyword or regular expression (see below) matching the event, and PowerGREP will give you a list of log file lines where that event occurred.
Search Without Knowing What You Want
Using regular expressions will unleash the true power of PowerGREP. Regular expressions allow you to search for information even if you do not know exactly what you are looking for. If you are looking for an email address, construct a regular expression matching any email address, and PowerGREP will happily present you with all email addresses it can find in the files you had it search through. It is even easier: simply open the example PowerGREP Action file for finding email addresses that is included with PowerGREP, and let it run. When you have the list, double-click the email addresses to inspect the context so see which is the one you were looking for.
If you know something happened in October 2002, you could search using the regular expression 2002-10-[0-3]?[0-9]. That is, the text 2002-10-, followed by an optional digit between 0 and 3, followed by another digit. If you are unsure about the date format, just search using 2002-10-[0-3]?[0-9]|[0-3]?[0-9]/10/(20)?02|10/[0-3]?[0-9]/(20)?02. Looks a bit complicated, but building such a regular expression is quite straightforward once you have a little bit experience. It took me about 30 seconds to write the last one from scratch.
While you can do many complex things with regular expressions, many classic searches are easy to do with regular expressions. Searching for any of a bunch of keywords, simply separate them with a pipe symbol: keyword1|keyword2|keyword3. Looking for a word starting with “cat”? Just use \b for the word boundary, and \w+ for one or more word characters (i.e. letters): \bcat\w+. Very easy, once you know how. PowerGREP’s help file and printable manual will tell you all there is to know about regular expressions.
It almost goes without saying that after carefully crafting a complex regular expression, you can easily save it into a PowerGREP library for instant reuse. Or, share libraries with colleagues and friends.
PowerGREP’s regular expression syntax is fully compatible with Perl, Java and .NET, including all flavor-specific extensions. Many other programming languages and tools use the same regular expression syntax. Learning regular expressions is a smart investment. They have many applications in addition to those offered by PowerGREP.
|Searching Through Text Files with PowerGREP to find email addresses inside HTML anchors|
“I know of no other tool like PowerGREP. Inevitably, when I’m working with a coworker or customer regarding some data aggregation or parsing need, my solution time and time again has been to use PowerGREP to get it done. It really is an amazing, one-of-a-kind program.”
— Walter Pelowski
22 August 2016, Michigan, USA
“I ultimately decided to go with PowerGREP due to its incredible search speed and because of the File Selector - exactly what I was looking for! Thanks very much for a great product!”
— Paul Dobbins
12 December 2009, Texas, USA