How to Use Search-And-Replace in Dreamweaver

Dreamweaver offers powerful search-and-replace tools

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Adobe Dreamweaver performs standard search-and-replace substitutions over the current file, or selected files, or every file on your website. The tool is powerful, but it's not without some important limitations.

These instructions apply to Dreamweaver CC 2020 for Windows and Mac, although the feature works similarly in older versions of the program.

Getting Started

To search in one file, open the file to edit in Dreamweaver. Press Ctrl-F or Cmd-F. Type the search term in the Find box and the substitution in the Replace box. Select Current Document select Replace. Cycle through each occurrence until Dreamweaver addresses each one.

Adobe's approach to search-and-replace is the same across all of the Creative Cloud programs. So if you're familiar with InDesign's behavior, you already know Dreamweaver's, and vice versa.

To search across an entire website, open a defined site. In the folder list, highlight the files you'd like to search through. Then follow the same procedure, only this time, verify that Selected Files in Site is selected if you only want to search some of the pages in your web, Open Documents if you want to search only the files you've got open for editing, or Entire Current Local Site if you want to search all pages. Then select Replace All.

Dreamweaver alerts you that you won't be able to undo this operation. Select Yes. Dreamweaver shows all the places where your search string was found. The results display in the search pane below your site window.

Adobe Search Tips

The search function as implemented by Adobe presents some quirks that aren't the case in, for example, Microsoft Word.

To avoid matching items that shouldn't be replaced, create a specific find string. For example, the string in matches inside words (tin, insider, etc.). Include parts of your find phrase inside your replace phrase. For example, to replace in the matter of with on the matter of, include all the words in your search string and replace string. Just searching for in will result in every instance of those two letters being replaced with on — turning tin into ton and insider into onsider.

Dreamweaver supports options to narrow down the search: Match case matches the exact upper case or lower case of the text you type in such that In will not match in. Match whole word matches only the word in and not insider or tin.

Ignore whitespace matches phrases where there's a tab or a carriage return between the words, even if your search phrase had just a space. Use regular expression lets you search with wildcard characters.

Dreamweaver also allows you to search within a block of text or a specific folder on your hard drive. Select those options in the Find In drop-down box. Dreamweaver searches through the source code, inside just the page text, inside the tags (to find attributes and attribute values) or in an advanced text search to look in several tags.