nickf nickf - 5 months ago 12
Linux Question

sed beginner: changing all occurrences in a folder

I need to do a regex find and replace on all the files in a folder (and its subfolders). What would be the linux shell command to do that?

For example, I want to run this over all the files and overwrite the old file with the new, replaced text.

sed 's/old text/new text/g'


There is no way to do it using only sed. You'll need to use at least the find utility together:

find . -type f -exec sed -i.bak "s/foo/bar/g" {} \;

This command will create a .bak file for each changed file.


  • The -i argument for sed command is a GNU extension, so, if you are running this command with the BSD's sed you will need to redirect the output to a new file then rename it.
  • The find utility does not implement the -exec argument in old UNIX boxes, so, you will need to use a | xargs instead.