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Regex.Replace Method (String, String, Int32, Int32)

Updated: December 2009

Within a specified input substring, replaces a specified maximum number of strings that match a regular expression pattern with a specified replacement string.

Namespace:  System.Text.RegularExpressions
Assembly:  System (in System.dll)

public string Replace(
	string input,
	string replacement,
	int count,
	int startat
)

Parameters

input
Type: System.String

The string to search for a match.

replacement
Type: System.String

The replacement string.

count
Type: System.Int32

Maximum number of times the replacement can occur.

startat
Type: System.Int32

The character position in the input string where the search begins.

Return Value

Type: System.String
A new string that is identical to the input string, except that a replacement string takes the place of each matched string.

ExceptionCondition
ArgumentNullException

input is null.

-or-

replacement is null.

ArgumentOutOfRangeException

startat is less than zero or greater than the length of input.

The search for matches starts in the input string at the position specified by the startat parameter. The regular expression is the pattern defined by the constructor for the current Regex object. If count is negative, replacements continue to the end of the string. If count exceeds the number of matches, all matches are replaced.

The replacement parameter specifies the string that is to replace each match in input. replacement can consist of any combination of literal text and substitutions. For example, the replacement pattern a*${test}b inserts the string "a*" followed by the substring that is matched by the test capturing group, if any, followed by the string "b". The * character is not recognized as a metacharacter within a replacement pattern.

NoteNote:

Substitutions are the only regular expression language elements that are recognized in a replacement pattern. All other regular expression language elements, including character escapes, are allowed in regular expression patterns only and are not recognized in replacement patterns.

The following example double-spaces all but the first line of a string. It defines a regular expression pattern, ^.*$, that matches a line of text, calls the Match(String) method to match the first line of the string, and uses the Match.Index and Match.Count properties to determine the starting position of the second line.

using System;
using System.Text.RegularExpressions;

public class Example
{
   public static void Main()
   {
      string input = "Instantiating a New Type\n" +
                     "Generally, there are two ways that an\n" + 
                     "instance of a class or structure can\n" +
                     "be instantiated. ";
      string pattern = "^.*$";
      string replacement = "\n$&";
      Regex rgx = new Regex(pattern, RegexOptions.Multiline);
      string result = String.Empty; 

      Match match = rgx.Match(input);
      // Double space all but the first line. 
      if (match.Success) 
         result = rgx.Replace(input, replacement, -1, match.Index + match.Length + 1);

      Console.WriteLine(result);                     
   }
}
// The example displays the following output: 
//       Instantiating a New Type 
//        
//       Generally, there are two ways that an 
//        
//       instance of a class or structure can 
//        
//       be instntiated.

The regular expression pattern ^.*$ is defined as shown in the following table.

Pattern

Description

^

Match the start of a line. (Note that the Regex object was instantiated by using the RegexOptions.Multiline option; otherwise, this character class would only match the beginning of the input string.)

.*

Match any character zero or more times.

$

Match the end of a line. (Note that the Regex object was instantiated by using the RegexOptions.Multiline option; otherwise, this character class would only match the beginning of the input string.)

The replacement string (vbCrLf + "$&" in Visual Basic, "\n$&" in C#) adds a new line before the matched string. Note that \n in the C# example is interpreted as the newline character by the C# compiler; it does not represent a regular expression character escape.

Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP SP2, Windows XP Media Center Edition, Windows XP Professional x64 Edition, Windows XP Starter Edition, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2000 SP4, Windows Millennium Edition, Windows 98, Windows CE, Windows Mobile for Smartphone, Windows Mobile for Pocket PC, Xbox 360, Zune

The .NET Framework and .NET Compact Framework do not support all versions of every platform. For a list of the supported versions, see .NET Framework System Requirements.

.NET Framework

Supported in: 3.5, 3.0, 2.0, 1.1, 1.0

.NET Compact Framework

Supported in: 3.5, 2.0, 1.0

XNA Framework

Supported in: 3.0, 2.0, 1.0

Date

History

Reason

December 2009

Expanded the Remarks section and added an example.

Customer feedback.

July 2009

Included additional exception information.

Content bug fix.

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