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Peter Macej - lead developer of VSdocman - talks about Visual Studio tips and automation

UPDATE 3. March 2014: I have converted the macro to a VS extension which works in VS 2013-2005.

I was cleaning my older VB .NET project some time ago. I just wanted to "refactor" some code to look more readable. All I needed was several replaces of multiline text. VS 2002, 2003 nor 2005 is unable to perform multiline search/replace. So I wrote a macro that can do it. Multi-line search and replace dialog

As you know, you can use regular expressions (regex in next text) in standard Find/Search. See Regular Expressions in MSDN for more info. You can define newline by \n sequence in regex . So theoretically, all you need to do is to replace newline by \n in Find what and Replace with boxes and select Regular Expressions in Use box. But that means that you cannot just simply copy and paste the text to this dialog.

There's another problem. Regex uses many characters which have special meaning, for example * + [ ] . ^ $ : < > etc. You can find complete definition in MSDN. That means that your original text cannot contain these characters. Or you must escape them all with \ character.

And that's exactly what my macro does:

  1. It allows you to enter multiline search/replace text.
  2. Then it converts it to regex syntax.
  3. Opens standard VS Find/Replace window and automatically fills Find and Replace boxes with regex text. It also selects Regular Expressions mode.

    Standard VS Replace dialog with prefilled values

You can then search and replace as usually. To create macro:

  • Open Macro Explorer. Go to Tools - Macros - Macro Explorer
  • Navigate to Macros - MyMacros. Here you must create your own class by right-click and New Module.... Name it MultilineSearch.
  • Double click your MultilineSearch module to open Macros IDE.
  • Delete its all contents and copy this code:
    Imports System
    Imports EnvDTE
    Imports EnvDTE80
    Imports System.Diagnostics
    
    Public Module MultilineSearch
        Sub MultilineSearchReplace()
            Dim winptr As New WinWrapper(DTE)
            Dim sf As New MultilineSearchForm
            sf.ShowDialog(winptr)
            If sf.result <> FindReplaceKind.none Then
                ' temporarily disable Tools - Options -
                ' Environment - Documents - Initialize Find text from editor
                Dim oldFindInit As Boolean
                Try
                    'vs 2002/2003
                    Dim props As EnvDTE.Properties
                    props = DTE.Properties("Environment", "Documents")
                    Dim prop As EnvDTE.Property = props.Item("FindReplaceInitializeFromEditor")
                    oldFindInit = CBool(prop.Value)
                    prop.Value = False
                Catch ex As System.Exception
                    Try
                        'vs 2005/2008
                        Dim props As EnvDTE.Properties
                        props = DTE.Properties("Environment", "FindAndReplace")
                        Dim prop As EnvDTE.Property = props.Item("InitializeFromEditor")
                        oldFindInit = CBool(prop.Value)
                        prop.Value = False
                    Catch ex2 As Exception
                    End Try
                End Try
                DTE.Find.PatternSyntax = vsFindPatternSyntax.vsFindPatternSyntaxRegExpr
                DTE.Find.FindWhat = sf.findText
                If sf.replaceText.Length = 0 Then
                    'If Replace text is empty, the Find dialog automatically
                    'uses the last non-empty value from history. To prevent this,
                    'we must pass some non-empty value which produces empty text.
                    'The ninth regex tagged expression seems good for this as it is very
                    'unlikely that user will add 9 tagged expressions in Find field in
                    'original VS Find dialog after it is pre-filled with this macro.
                    DTE.Find.ReplaceWith = "\9"
                End If
                DTE.Find.ReplaceWith = sf.replaceText
                Select Case sf.result
                    Case FindReplaceKind.find
                        DTE.ExecuteCommand("Edit.Find")
                    Case FindReplaceKind.findInFiles
                        DTE.ExecuteCommand("Edit.FindinFiles")
                    Case FindReplaceKind.replace
                        DTE.ExecuteCommand("Edit.Replace")
                    Case FindReplaceKind.replaceInFiles
                        DTE.ExecuteCommand("Edit.ReplaceinFiles")
                    Case Else
                End Select
                ' restore Tools - Options -
                ' Environment - Documents - Initialize Find text from editor
                Try
                    'vs 2002/2003
                    Dim props As EnvDTE.Properties
                    props = DTE.Properties("Environment", "Documents")
                    Dim prop As EnvDTE.Property = props.Item("FindReplaceInitializeFromEditor")
                    prop.Value = oldFindInit
                Catch ex As System.Exception
                    Try
                        'vs 2005/2008
                        Dim props As EnvDTE.Properties
                        props = DTE.Properties("Environment", "FindAndReplace")
                        Dim prop As EnvDTE.Property = props.Item("InitializeFromEditor")
                        prop.Value = oldFindInit
                    Catch ex2 As Exception
                    End Try
                End Try
            End If
        End Sub
    End Module
    
    '''<summary>Types of find/replace operations.</summary>
    Public Enum FindReplaceKind
        '''<summary>Find</summary>
        find
        '''<summary>Find In Files</summary>
        findInFiles
        '''<summary>Replace</summary>
        replace
        '''<summary>Replace in Files</summary>
        replaceInFiles
        '''<summary>None. Cancel was pressed.</summary>
        none
    End Enum
    
    Public Class MultilineSearchForm
        Inherits System.Windows.Forms.Form
    #Region " Windows Form Designer generated code "
        Public Sub New()
            MyBase.New()
            'This call is required by the Windows Form Designer.
            InitializeComponent()
            'Add any initialization after the InitializeComponent() call
        End Sub
        'Form overrides dispose to clean up the component list.
        Protected Overloads Overrides Sub Dispose(ByVal disposing As Boolean)
            If disposing Then
                If Not (components Is Nothing) Then
                    components.Dispose()
                End If
            End If
            MyBase.Dispose(disposing)
        End Sub
        'Required by the Windows Form Designer
        Private components As System.ComponentModel.IContainer
        'NOTE: The following procedure is required by the Windows Form Designer
        'It can be modified using the Windows Form Designer. 
        'Do not modify it using the code editor.
        Friend WithEvents FindBox As System.Windows.Forms.TextBox
        Friend WithEvents Label1 As System.Windows.Forms.Label
        Friend WithEvents Label2 As System.Windows.Forms.Label
        Friend WithEvents ReplaceBox As System.Windows.Forms.TextBox
        Friend WithEvents FindBtn As System.Windows.Forms.Button
        Friend WithEvents FindInFilesBtn As System.Windows.Forms.Button
        Friend WithEvents ReplaceBtn As System.Windows.Forms.Button
        Friend WithEvents ReplaceInFilesBtn As System.Windows.Forms.Button
        Friend WithEvents CancelBtn As System.Windows.Forms.Button
        <System.Diagnostics.DebuggerStepThrough()> Private Sub InitializeComponent()
            Me.FindBox = New System.Windows.Forms.TextBox
            Me.Label1 = New System.Windows.Forms.Label
            Me.Label2 = New System.Windows.Forms.Label
            Me.ReplaceBox = New System.Windows.Forms.TextBox
            Me.FindBtn = New System.Windows.Forms.Button
            Me.FindInFilesBtn = New System.Windows.Forms.Button
            Me.ReplaceBtn = New System.Windows.Forms.Button
            Me.ReplaceInFilesBtn = New System.Windows.Forms.Button
            Me.CancelBtn = New System.Windows.Forms.Button
            Me.SuspendLayout()
            '
            'FindBox
            '
            Me.FindBox.Location = New System.Drawing.Point(16, 24)
            Me.FindBox.Multiline = True
            Me.FindBox.Name = "FindBox"
            Me.FindBox.ScrollBars = System.Windows.Forms.ScrollBars.Both
            Me.FindBox.Size = New System.Drawing.Size(400, 80)
            Me.FindBox.TabIndex = 0
            Me.FindBox.Text = ""
            '
            'Label1
            '
            Me.Label1.Location = New System.Drawing.Point(16, 8)
            Me.Label1.Name = "Label1"
            Me.Label1.Size = New System.Drawing.Size(160, 16)
            Me.Label1.TabIndex = 2
            Me.Label1.Text = "Find what:"
            '
            'Label2
            '
            Me.Label2.Location = New System.Drawing.Point(16, 112)
            Me.Label2.Name = "Label2"
            Me.Label2.Size = New System.Drawing.Size(160, 16)
            Me.Label2.TabIndex = 4
            Me.Label2.Text = "Replace with:"
            '
            'ReplaceBox
            '
            Me.ReplaceBox.Location = New System.Drawing.Point(16, 128)
            Me.ReplaceBox.Multiline = True
            Me.ReplaceBox.Name = "ReplaceBox"
            Me.ReplaceBox.ScrollBars = System.Windows.Forms.ScrollBars.Both
            Me.ReplaceBox.Size = New System.Drawing.Size(400, 80)
            Me.ReplaceBox.TabIndex = 3
            Me.ReplaceBox.Text = ""
            '
            'FindBtn
            '
            Me.FindBtn.Location = New System.Drawing.Point(16, 232)
            Me.FindBtn.Name = "FindBtn"
            Me.FindBtn.Size = New System.Drawing.Size(80, 24)
            Me.FindBtn.TabIndex = 5
            Me.FindBtn.Text = "Find>>"
            '
            'FindInFilesBtn
            '
            Me.FindInFilesBtn.Location = New System.Drawing.Point(104, 232)
            Me.FindInFilesBtn.Name = "FindInFilesBtn"
            Me.FindInFilesBtn.Size = New System.Drawing.Size(96, 24)
            Me.FindInFilesBtn.TabIndex = 6
            Me.FindInFilesBtn.Text = "Find in Files>>"
            '
            'ReplaceBtn
            '
            Me.ReplaceBtn.Location = New System.Drawing.Point(216, 232)
            Me.ReplaceBtn.Name = "ReplaceBtn"
            Me.ReplaceBtn.Size = New System.Drawing.Size(80, 24)
            Me.ReplaceBtn.TabIndex = 7
            Me.ReplaceBtn.Text = "Replace>>"
            '
            'ReplaceInFilesBtn
            '
            Me.ReplaceInFilesBtn.Location = New System.Drawing.Point(304, 232)
            Me.ReplaceInFilesBtn.Name = "ReplaceInFilesBtn"
            Me.ReplaceInFilesBtn.Size = New System.Drawing.Size(112, 24)
            Me.ReplaceInFilesBtn.TabIndex = 8
            Me.ReplaceInFilesBtn.Text = "Replace in Files>>"
            '
            'CancelBtn
            '
            Me.CancelBtn.DialogResult = System.Windows.Forms.DialogResult.Cancel
            Me.CancelBtn.Location = New System.Drawing.Point(168, 272)
            Me.CancelBtn.Name = "CancelBtn"
            Me.CancelBtn.Size = New System.Drawing.Size(80, 24)
            Me.CancelBtn.TabIndex = 9
            Me.CancelBtn.Text = "Cancel"
            '
            'MultilineSearchForm
            '
            Me.AutoScaleBaseSize = New System.Drawing.Size(5, 13)
            Me.CancelButton = Me.CancelBtn
            Me.ClientSize = New System.Drawing.Size(432, 310)
            Me.Controls.Add(Me.CancelBtn)
            Me.Controls.Add(Me.ReplaceInFilesBtn)
            Me.Controls.Add(Me.ReplaceBtn)
            Me.Controls.Add(Me.FindInFilesBtn)
            Me.Controls.Add(Me.FindBtn)
            Me.Controls.Add(Me.Label2)
            Me.Controls.Add(Me.ReplaceBox)
            Me.Controls.Add(Me.Label1)
            Me.Controls.Add(Me.FindBox)
            Me.FormBorderStyle = System.Windows.Forms.FormBorderStyle.SizableToolWindow
            Me.Name = "MultilineSearchForm"
            Me.Text = "Multiline Search and Replace"
    
            Me.ResumeLayout(False)
        End Sub
    #End Region
    
    #Region "Properties"
        Private m_result As FindReplaceKind = FindReplaceKind.none
        '''<summary>Gets result button from this dialog.</summary>
        '''<value>The value specifying which button was pressed.</value>
        Public ReadOnly Property result() As FindReplaceKind
            Get
                Return m_result
            End Get
        End Property
        Private m_findText As String
        '''<summary>Gets escaped multiline text to be searched.</summary>
        '''<value></value>
        Public ReadOnly Property findText() As String
            Get
                Return m_findText
            End Get
        End Property
    
        Private m_replaceText As String
        '''<summary>Gets escaped multiline replace text.</summary>
        '''<value></value>
        Public ReadOnly Property replaceText() As String
            Get
                Return m_replaceText
            End Get
        End Property
    #End Region
    
        '''<summary>Transforms the text to regular expression syntax.</summary>
        '''<param name="original">Original text.</param>
        '''<returns>Text with escaped regex characters.</returns>
        Private Function escapeRegEx(ByVal original As String) As String
            Dim specialChars() As Char = "\.*+^$><[]|{}:@#()~".ToCharArray
            Dim c As Char
            For Each c In specialChars
                original = original.Replace(c.ToString, "\" & c.ToString)
            Next
            original = original.Replace(vbCrLf, "\n")
            Return original
        End Function
    
        '''<summary>Transforms the text to regular expression syntax in Replace field.</summary>
        '''<param name="original">Original text.</param>
        '''<returns>Text with some escaped regex characters.</returns>
        Private Function escapeReplaceRegEx(ByVal original As String) As String
            Dim specialChars() As Char = "\".ToCharArray
            Dim c As Char
            For Each c In specialChars
                original = original.Replace(c.ToString, "\" & c.ToString)
            Next
            original = original.Replace(vbCrLf, "\n")
            Return original
        End Function
    
        Private Sub MultilineSearchForm_Load(ByVal sender As Object, ByVal e As System.EventArgs) Handles MyBase.Load
            Try
                Me.Activate()
            Catch ex As System.Exception
            End Try
        End Sub
    
        Private Sub CancelBtn_Click(ByVal sender As System.Object, ByVal e As System.EventArgs) Handles CancelBtn.Click
            Try
                m_result = FindReplaceKind.none
                Me.Close()
            Catch ex As System.Exception
            End Try
        End Sub
        Private Sub FindBtn_Click(ByVal sender As System.Object, ByVal e As System.EventArgs) Handles FindBtn.Click
            Try
                m_findText = escapeRegEx(Me.FindBox.Text)
                m_replaceText = escapeReplaceRegEx(Me.ReplaceBox.Text)
                m_result = FindReplaceKind.find
                Me.Close()
            Catch ex As System.Exception
            End Try
        End Sub
        Private Sub FindInFilesBtn_Click(ByVal sender As System.Object, ByVal e As System.EventArgs) Handles FindInFilesBtn.Click
            Try
                m_findText = escapeRegEx(Me.FindBox.Text)
                m_replaceText = escapeReplaceRegEx(Me.ReplaceBox.Text)
                m_result = FindReplaceKind.findInFiles
                Me.Close()
            Catch ex As System.Exception
            End Try
        End Sub
        Private Sub ReplaceBtn_Click(ByVal sender As System.Object, ByVal e As System.EventArgs) Handles ReplaceBtn.Click
            Try
                m_findText = escapeRegEx(Me.FindBox.Text)
                m_replaceText = escapeReplaceRegEx(Me.ReplaceBox.Text)
                m_result = FindReplaceKind.replace
                Me.Close()
            Catch ex As System.Exception
            End Try
        End Sub
        Private Sub ReplaceInFilesBtn_Click(ByVal sender As System.Object, ByVal e As System.EventArgs) Handles ReplaceInFilesBtn.Click
            Try
                m_findText = escapeRegEx(Me.FindBox.Text)
                m_replaceText = escapeReplaceRegEx(Me.ReplaceBox.Text)
                m_result = FindReplaceKind.replaceInFiles
                Me.Close()
            Catch ex As System.Exception
            End Try
        End Sub
    End Class
    
    ''' <summary>
    ''' Helper class for passing parent window argument to ShowDialog method.
    ''' </summary>
    ''' <remarks>See http://support.microsoft.com/kb/312877 for details.</remarks>
    Friend Class WinWrapper
        Implements System.Windows.Forms.IWin32Window
    
        Private vsinstance As DTE
    
        Sub New(ByVal dte As DTE)
            vsinstance = dte
        End Sub
    
        Overridable ReadOnly Property Handle() As System.IntPtr Implements System.Windows.Forms.IWin32Window.Handle
            Get
                Dim iptr As New System.IntPtr(vsinstance.MainWindow.HWnd)
                Return iptr
            End Get
        End Property
    End Class
  • Add System.Drawing.dll to References under MyMacros in Macros IDE.
  • Close Macros IDE.

Now you can run MultilineSearchReplace macro. You can of course create a toolbar or menu button or assign keyboard shortcut to it.

There is one interesting thing on this macro. It creates its own form. There is no Form designer in Macros IDE so I thought it was not possible to create my own form in macro. Fortunately, I was wrong. Form is a class as any other, it just must inherit from System.Windows.Forms.Form. I created my form in normal VB .NET project using Form designer and then copied the code into macro IDE. It couldn't be easier.

UPDATE 15. October 2008: I have updated the macro code. It fixes two bugs:

  1. In VS 2005 and 2008, when using Find/Replace in Files, the "Find what" field didn't contain value entered by user but text from cursor position in editor.
  2. When Replace field contained some special characters, they were incorrectly escaped with \.

UPDATE 23. June 2009: I have updated the macro code. It fixes two issues:

  1. When Replace with text was empty (you wanted to delete the text), the last non-empty text from replace history was automatically filled. This is behavior of standard VS Find/Replace dialog. To prevent this, we need to pass non-empty value which produces empty text. The "\9" seems OK for this. This is regex tagged expression number nine which is always empty string. You would need to manually add nine tagged expressions (text enclosed with {}) in Find what field in original VS Find/Replace dialog to \9 produce any text.
  2. When macro's modal window was open and you switched to another application and then back to VS, the macro window was not visible and you had to activate it from task bar.

 

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