Another Useful Utility (CAD Manager's Toolbox)

12 Aug, 2008 By: Robert Green

Keep this handy little tool in your repertory for fast bulk text replacement and more.

In the last edition of CAD Manager's Toolbox, I told you about a utility I use called Sweep. I received a number of emailed questions about other types of system maintenance tasks, so I've decided, over the next couple of issues, to pass along some other utilities I like to use.

Bulk Text Replacing Utility I frequently use scripts or custom programs to process sets of DWG, DGN, or other types of files and have found that I can often reuse these scripts/programs by making minor changes to adjust file names and paths. The problem is that editing the files can be very tedious.

The utility I've come to depend on for bulk editing these files is called HandyFile Find and Replace from Silver Age Software. At $34.95, this tool has given me a lot for my money over the years, and I recommend it over the several other text search-and-replace tools I've used. Now, I know there's free stuff you can download that'll do basic search and replace, but HandyFile does so much more that I'm happy to pay for it.

I'll give you a quick walk through the interface. Let's say you have several folders with script files that need to have drive paths changed within them. This could be hundreds of files, and manually editing them would take hours. Here's how the process works in HandyFile:

Click for larger image
Folder, file type, and replacement parameters are all in one interface screen. (Click image for a larger version)

  1. Select a directory in the search folder(s) box.

  2. Select the Recur Subfolders option to search and replace in all subdirectories.

  3. Enter a file extension in the File Mask(s) box (and yes it can be any number of file extensions).

  4. Enter the Find What and Replace With parameters that will be used in the files.

To actually run the replace, use the Replace button at the bottom of the screen interface as shown below.

Search and Replace buttons are used to start the application.

The result will be all your script files having the paths changed in a matter of seconds and backup copies being stored should you wish to refer back to the original versions.

I've only scratched the surface of what this tool can do, so I encourage you to explore the free trial version for yourself. I've used HandyFile to edit spreadsheets, Word documents, CSV formatted files, tab delimited database files, scripts, batch files, etc. If you need to perform these kinds of tasks while maintaining your CAD installation, I've not found a better utility to do so.

Do you have a suggestion/tip that should be in the CAD Manager's Toolbox? Send it to me at, and you might get a cool Cadalyst souvenir if I use your idea.

About the Author: Robert Green

Robert Green

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