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How to replace all occurrences of a string?


Question

I have this string:

"Test abc test test abc test test test abc test test abc"

Doing:

str = str.replace('abc', '');

seems to only remove the first occurrence of abc in the string above.

How can I replace all occurrences of it?

2020/03/31
1
4513
3/31/2020 4:57:57 AM

Accepted Answer

Note: Don't use this in performance critical code.

As an alternative to regular expressions for a simple literal string, you could use

str = "Test abc test test abc test...".split("abc").join("");

The general pattern is

str.split(search).join(replacement)

This used to be faster in some cases than using replaceAll and a regular expression, but that doesn't seem to be the case anymore in modern browsers.

Benchmark: https://jsperf.com/replace-all-vs-split-join

Conclusion: If you have a performance critical use case (e.g processing hundreds of strings), use the Regexp method. But for most typical use cases, this is well worth not having to worry about special characters.

2019/12/13
1750
12/13/2019 4:10:37 PM


For the sake of completeness, I got to thinking about which method I should use to do this. There are basically two ways to do this as suggested by the other answers on this page.

Note: In general, extending the built-in prototypes in JavaScript is generally not recommended. I am providing as extensions on the String prototype simply for purposes of illustration, showing different implementations of a hypothetical standard method on the String built-in prototype.


Regular Expression Based Implementation

String.prototype.replaceAll = function(search, replacement) {
    var target = this;
    return target.replace(new RegExp(search, 'g'), replacement);
};

Split and Join (Functional) Implementation

String.prototype.replaceAll = function(search, replacement) {
    var target = this;
    return target.split(search).join(replacement);
};

Not knowing too much about how regular expressions work behind the scenes in terms of efficiency, I tended to lean toward the split and join implementation in the past without thinking about performance. When I did wonder which was more efficient, and by what margin, I used it as an excuse to find out.

On my Chrome Windows 8 machine, the regular expression based implementation is the fastest, with the split and join implementation being 53% slower. Meaning the regular expressions are twice as fast for the lorem ipsum input I used.

Check out this benchmark running these two implementations against each other.


As noted in the comment below by @ThomasLeduc and others, there could be an issue with the regular expression-based implementation if search contains certain characters which are reserved as special characters in regular expressions. The implementation assumes that the caller will escape the string beforehand or will only pass strings that are without the characters in the table in Regular Expressions (MDN).

MDN also provides an implementation to escape our strings. It would be nice if this was also standardized as RegExp.escape(str), but alas, it does not exist:

function escapeRegExp(str) {
  return str.replace(/[.*+?^${}()|[\]\\]/g, "\\$&"); // $& means the whole matched string
}

We could call escapeRegExp within our String.prototype.replaceAll implementation, however, I'm not sure how much this will affect the performance (potentially even for strings for which the escape is not needed, like all alphanumeric strings).

2017/05/27

Using a regular expression with the g flag set will replace all:

someString = 'the cat looks like a cat';
anotherString = someString.replace(/cat/g, 'dog');
// anotherString now contains "the dog looks like a dog"

See here also

2016/05/17

Here's a string prototype function based on the accepted answer:

String.prototype.replaceAll = function (find, replace) {
    var str = this;
    return str.replace(new RegExp(find, 'g'), replace);
};

EDIT

If your find will contain special characters then you need to escape them:

String.prototype.replaceAll = function (find, replace) {
    var str = this;
    return str.replace(new RegExp(find.replace(/[-\/\\^$*+?.()|[\]{}]/g, '\\$&'), 'g'), replace);
};

Fiddle: http://jsfiddle.net/cdbzL/

2013/10/07

Update:

It's somewhat late for an update, but since I just stumbled on this question, and noticed that my previous answer is not one I'm happy with. Since the question involved replaceing a single word, it's incredible nobody thought of using word boundaries (\b)

'a cat is not a caterpillar'.replace(/\bcat\b/gi,'dog');
//"a dog is not a caterpillar"

This is a simple regex that avoids replacing parts of words in most cases. However, a dash - is still considered a word boundary. So conditionals can be used in this case to avoid replacing strings like cool-cat:

'a cat is not a cool-cat'.replace(/\bcat\b/gi,'dog');//wrong
//"a dog is not a cool-dog" -- nips
'a cat is not a cool-cat'.replace(/(?:\b([^-]))cat(?:\b([^-]))/gi,'$1dog$2');
//"a dog is not a cool-cat"

basically, this question is the same as the question here: Javascript replace " ' " with " '' "

@Mike, check the answer I gave there... regexp isn't the only way to replace multiple occurrences of a subsrting, far from it. Think flexible, think split!

var newText = "the cat looks like a cat".split('cat').join('dog');

Alternatively, to prevent replacing word parts -which the approved answer will do, too! You can get around this issue using regular expressions that are, I admit, somewhat more complex and as an upshot of that, a tad slower, too:

var regText = "the cat looks like a cat".replace(/(?:(^|[^a-z]))(([^a-z]*)(?=cat)cat)(?![a-z])/gi,"$1dog");

The output is the same as the accepted answer, however, using the /cat/g expression on this string:

var oops = 'the cat looks like a cat, not a caterpillar or coolcat'.replace(/cat/g,'dog');
//returns "the dog looks like a dog, not a dogerpillar or cooldog" ?? 

Oops indeed, this probably isn't what you want. What is, then? IMHO, a regex that only replaces 'cat' conditionally. (ie not part of a word), like so:

var caterpillar = 'the cat looks like a cat, not a caterpillar or coolcat'.replace(/(?:(^|[^a-z]))(([^a-z]*)(?=cat)cat)(?![a-z])/gi,"$1dog");
//return "the dog looks like a dog, not a caterpillar or coolcat"

My guess is, this meets your needs. It's not fullproof, of course, but it should be enough to get you started. I'd recommend reading some more on these pages. This'll prove useful in perfecting this expression to meet your specific needs.

http://www.javascriptkit.com/jsref/regexp.shtml

http://www.regular-expressions.info


Final addition:

Given that this question still gets a lot of views, I thought I might add an example of .replace used with a callback function. In this case, it dramatically simplifies the expression and provides even more flexibility, like replacing with correct capitalisation or replacing both cat and cats in one go:

'Two cats are not 1 Cat! They\'re just cool-cats, you caterpillar'
   .replace(/(^|.\b)(cat)(s?\b.|$)/gi,function(all,char1,cat,char2)
    {
       //check 1st, capitalize if required
       var replacement = (cat.charAt(0) === 'C' ? 'D' : 'd') + 'og';
       if (char1 === ' ' && char2 === 's')
       {//replace plurals, too
           cat = replacement + 's';
       }
       else
       {//do not replace if dashes are matched
           cat = char1 === '-' || char2 === '-' ? cat : replacement;
       }
       return char1 + cat + char2;//return replacement string
    });
//returns:
//Two dogs are not 1 Dog! They're just cool-cats, you caterpillar
2017/05/23

Match against a global regular expression:

anotherString = someString.replace(/cat/g, 'dog');
2009/05/06

Source: https://stackoverflow.com/questions/1144783
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