Find and Replace Issue

Using Command F to bring up the Find and Replace dialog box, I discover that the process is somewhat flawed—at least in my humble opinion.

Version: 2.3.1 (20025)

  1. Command F (opens dialog box)
  2. Enter some text to find that is not on the page into the find texbox. Enter the replacement text in the replacement textbox.
  3. Put the cursor anywhere in the text. (Lorem Ipsum text should work fine)
  4. Click Replace.
  5. The replacment text is inserted into the text where the cursor is at, for text that does not exist. It is an insert, not a replace action as it currently functions.
  6. Click Find and Replace. Same as in Step 5.
  7. I don’t know what Replace All does. I’ll leave that up to your expert hands. Too scary to touch under the current circumstances. lol.

I recommend what should happen is if the existing text to replace is not in the selection, document, or project under consideration, that clicking these two buttons produces a beep as opposed to inserting new text into the manuscript. This prevents inserting a flaw into the story that should not be there, as opposed to correcting something that all ready exists.

Or, maybe I’m using the function incorrectly.

Best regards,
Daniel Horne

“Replace All” is self-explanatory - it will go through the whole text and replace all occurrences of the word you’ve entered in the find text field with what you have entered in the replace text field.

As for hitting “Replace” when there isn’t anything to replace, this is in fact standard OS X behaviour - try the same thing out in TextEdit or Pages and you’ll see it works exactly the same way.

I didn’t know that.

As a PC, turned Happy Mac, user, I find this troublesome. Since I not only write, but edit and produce books for other writers, my thought is that this adds to my workload. It certainly adds to my stress level as I cannot safely depend upon the software (or the OS as it were) to not damage what I am attempting to improve. Scary proposition, but I understand it is a limitation of the OS. Maybe someone has found a way to make find and replace a more robust feature than Apple has chosen to do with a combo “insert/replace” functionality labeled replace. :frowning:

In years back, Autodesk had a command the called “Explode” in their AutoCad software. I wouldn’t use it for the longest time for obvious reasons. Having worked in ordnance in the U.S. Navy, I wasn’t prone to push any button labeled explode. Eventually, I overcame and conquered. :slight_smile:

Thank you very much for the quick reply!

Kind regards,
Daniel Horne

Hi Daniel,

I’m not quite sure that I follow how this is so troublesome. To clarify, this never happens with “Replace All”, only with “Replace”. So it will never make any unwanted batch changes. For it to make a change you didn’t want, you would have to hit “Replace” my mistake and not notice what has happened in the editor that you are viewing. Certainly, nothing should explode on you, at least. :slight_smile:

All the best,

Thank’s for the tutoring Keith. It’s good to know that the batch replace operates as a “replace only” function and doesn’t insert anything anywhere for any reason.

Troublesome I suppose goes back to my engineering days. Maybe I’m being pedantic, but I expect a function to do precisely what the button says, no more and no less. I certainly understand that this is an OS issue, maybe even a long-lived Unix custom. It is troublesome to me because find and replace is no longer the mindless operation it was on the PC. I have to think about it, watch it, be careful, and that slows me down.

Often times, I’ll use a replace function thinking that there are only one, maybe two, of an issue in a book manuscript, but then there turn out to be 50, so I use replace all. Even working correctly, replace all is a tense proposition I tend to steer away from using when possible. If in the hurry of editing, a switch is set wrong (like whole word, or ignore cap), then a 100,000 manuscript is riddled with errors. Of course, there are work-arounds and safe guards to ensure this is never an issue. All require labor. Trusting software requires its mindless obedience. If replace truly means “replace if you find it, insert if you don’t,” then I call that troublesome, worrisome, maybe pedantic. Just my nature I suppose. Hope that helps.

In any case, your thoughtful tutoring has helped a great deal. I would not have known this has its origins in OS X, nor that the Replace All is more robust without your assistance. Thank you! :slight_smile:

Kind regards,

It might help to recognize that the button is not “Find and Replace” but “Replace and Find”, i.e. the replace action happens first, on the selection in the editor, and then the next instance is found. If no text is selected, the action replaces the empty selection, thus acting as an insert.

My recommendation is just to make a habit of always hitting “Find” first. If you find the search term, “Replace & Find” will adjust it and move you immediately to the next and you can continue through the document until there is nothing further to be found. Alternatively, if you don’t need to search through and view each instance to ensure it’s safe to replace, “Replace All” will work to just replace instances of the search term, as Keith explained.