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Find and replace with Regex groups

Create Regex groups with parentheses for powerful find/replace patterns.

Setup: I have a markdown file with a lot of shorthand links to GitHub PRs, e.g. user/repo#1, that I wanted to be replaced with full URLs:

These steps are for VS Code, but you can do a Regex find/replace in any environment.

Step by step:

  1. Open the search panel in VS Code
  2. Turn on Regex searches with the .* toggle
  3. Search with the following Regex pattern: ([\w-]+)/(.+)#(\d+)
    • This looks for any text that matches the pattern of:
      • ([\w-]+) a word containing one more alphanumeric or hyphen characters,
      • / a forward slash,
      • (.+) one or more of any character,
      • # a pound sign, and
      • (\d+) one or more digits
    • It creates three groups (identified by the parentheses)
  4. Replace the matched text with the following pattern:$1/$2/issues/$3

Try it out:

Tradeoffs: The regex pattern above will only match for alphanumeric GitHub usernames with optional hyphens. I don’t know the official pattern used to validate usernames, so your data might include some that don’t match.