Find text in office files like .docx .xlsx .odt .ods on the command line with the free Open Source tool Swiss File Knife
sfk ofind singleDirName "/searchtext/"sfk ofind singleFileName "/searchtext/" [options]sfk ofind -dir mydir -file .docx .xlsx -text "/from/[totext/]"
search in office files like .docx .xlsx .ods .odt
and in plain text files using wildcards * and ?
as well as SFK Simple Expressions in brackets .
the search text must be surrounded by a delimiter like / or _
or any other character not part of the search text.
by default, full text lines containing hits are shown.
use option -pure to show only the found text.
search text can be followed by a totext to reformat output.
subdirectories are included by default
the sfk default for most commands is to process the given directories,
as well as all subdirs within them. specify -nosub to disable this.
-nosub do not include files in subdirectories.
-verbose always show which file is currently read.
-justoffice search only in office files, not in plain text etc.
-case case-sensitive text comparison. default is insensitive.
for details type: sfk help nocase
-text starts a list of search patterns of the form /src/ or
/src/totext/ where / is the separator char, src the text
to search for, and totext a mask to reformat output.
any separator char can be used which is not part of the
search text, i.e. /foo/ or _foo_ both search "foo".
-text is not required if a single filename is given.
-pat the same as -text, starting a pattern list.
-bylist x.txt read search patterns from a file x.txt, supporting
multiple lines per pattern. (add -full for more.)
-bylinelist x read /from/to/ or just /from/ patterns from a file x
with one pattern per line. (add -full for more.)
-by(line)list does not support sfk variables.
to use variables in patterns create an sfk script
with patterns as parameters. "sfk script" for more.
-firsthit show only first found pattern match per file.
-utfin with -utfout only: search text is already given
as UTF-8, do not convert internally for search.
-tracesel tell in detail which files are searched or ignored.
-quiet do not show progress infos.
-names list only names of files containing at least one hit.
-notnames list only names of files not containing any hit.
-justrc print no search results, just set return code on hits.
-full print full help text telling about -bylist pattern files,
special character case sensitivity and nested or repeated
-utfout keep raw UTF-8 encoding on output, to use it
with further commands requiring UTF-8 data.
-conlines=n1 show n lines of context around search hits. by default
only text lines containing one or more hits are shown.
all lines together cannot hold more than:
-conchars=n2 max. number of characters of all context lines together.
default is 240 or n1*160. cannot be larger than 32000.
-conresline show full result line but no further context (default)
-sep[arator] show "---" separator between hits within a file.
-septext s use separator text s (supports slash patterns \n etc.)
-nosep do not show "---" separator between hits within a file.
-indent=n set n chars of indentation for result display.
-pure extract only searched data, same as -context=0.
you may also set an environment variable:
use -pure -tofile x to extract binary content as is.
-fill=c replace binary null and other unprintable characters
with character c. default is a dot "."
-hex print output as hex dump instead of plain text.
-showle highlight CR/LF line endings in hex dump output
-nofile do not insert :file header lines in output.
-crlf, -lf for file headers and default totext: force crlf or lf
line endings instead of system default
-filehead s file header to insert on every matching file.
only [file.name] surrounded by text can be used.
default is -filehead ":file [file.name]" unless a
single file is searched. cannot be used with xhexfind.
to get result and name in the same line use [file.name]
in the expression, like: sfk xfind -pure -nofile mydir"/foo*bar/[file.name]: [all]\n/"
-sep s define separator s between hits in a file
-rawterm on output to terminal do not strip codes below 32.
null bytes are always stripped.
-to dir\$file write output files to given path. for details about
output file masks, type "sfk help opt" or "sfk run".
-tofile x write output data to a single output filename x
(which is not interpreted as a mask but taken as is).
+tofile x as last parameter (command chaining): write text as
displayed on terminal to a file x.
-more[n] pause output every 30 or n lines.
return codes for batch files
0 = no matches, 1 = matches found, >1 = major error occurred.
see also "sfk help opt" on how to influence error processing.
quoted multi line parameters are supported in scripts
using full trim. type "sfk script" for details.
wildcards and SFK expressions
SFK Expressions are simple patterns containing literal text,
wildcards * and ? and character classes in square brackets .
basically, the syntax provides extended wilcards but no
further logic and is not related to regular expressions.
search patterns are surrounded by a separator character which
can be anything not contained in the search text, like / or _
within a pattern /fromtext/totext/the fromtextmay contain:* - 0 to 4000 characters in the same
text line or paragraph, i.e. all
bytes not being CR, LF or NULL.
4000 is just a default maximum
that can be changed by:
[0.100000 chars] - 0 to 100000 characters in the same
text line or paragraph, i.e. the
same as * but with a larger range.
? - one character.
????? - same as [5.5 chars] or [5 chars][bytes] - 0 to 4000 bytes (with CR,LF,NULL)
i.e. it collects stream text
across lines, even in binary data
** - the same as [bytes].
[0.100 bytes] - 0 to 100 bytes
[.100000 bytes] - up to 100000 bytes
[1.* bytes] - 1 to default maximum bytes
[2 chars] - exactly 2 chars
[30 bytes] - exactly 30 bytes
[byte of aeiou] - one vocal (a OR A OR e OR ...),
case insensitive by default.
"aeiou" is a character list.
[byte of \\\x2f] - a backslash \ or forw. slash /
[bytes of \r\n \t] - whitespace incl. line ends
[bytes of (\r\n \t)] - the same, () are optional
[bytes not \r\n\0] - up to 4000 bytes as long as no
CR, LF or NULL byte appears
[chars] - the same as [bytes not \r\n\0],
i.e. collect text in a line
[char not ( \t)] - same as [byte not ( \r\n\0\t)],
everything not blanks and tabs
[char not )( \t] - not brackets, blanks and tabs,
same as not (\(\) \t)[chars of a-z0-9] - means a-zA-Z0-9 as search is
case insensitive by default
[chars of \x61-\x7A] - search a-z but not A-Z, or use
option -case for case search
[eol] - end of line by characters:
CRLF or LF or CR
[white] = chars of (\t ) - 0 or more whitespaces
[xwhite] = bytes of (\t \r\n) - same but across lines
[1 white] = byte of (\t ) - 1 whitespace
[digit] = byte of (0-9) - 1 digit
[digits] = bytes of (0-9) - 0 or more digits
[hexdigit] = byte of (0-9a-f) - 1 hexadecimal digit
[hexdigits] = bytes of (0-9a-f) - 0 or more hex digits
special keywords that do not count as tokens:
[skip] - at the start of a pattern: skip such text
completely, do not count it as a search hit.
[keep] - search also the following text but keep it
in the input data, without consuming it.
[ortext] - foo[ortext]bar searches word foo or bar.
[ortext] is allowed only between literals.
anchors that have no length of their own:
[start] - start of file
[end] - end of file
[lstart] - line start, i.e. start or CRLF or CR or LF
[lend] - logical line end, i.e. eol or end of file.
to replace line ends use [eol] instead.
how to search or replace special characters:
- to search or replace text containing the literal characters
* ? \ [ ] then these must be escaped like \* \? \\ \[ \]
- ( ) are escaped only within character lists, like \( \)
- to search or replace the forward slash '/' type \x2f or use
another char around from/to text, e.g. _fromtext_totext_
- parameters with blanks and non trivial characters need double
quotes "", see also "about Shell Command Characters" below.
expansion priorities: (highest first)
if two search parts are side by side, and the same input
character matches both, then these priorities apply:
5: start, end, lstart, lend
4: literal text, eol
3: whitelist classes: byte of, bytes of
2: blacklist classes: chars not, bytes not
1: plain wildcards: ?, *, **, byte, bytes, chars
this means in "/[bytes]foo/" the [bytes] will stop to collect
characters as soon as "foo" is found, as "foo" is a literal.
on same or higher priority the right side stops the left side.
avoid overlapping character groups. for example, [chars][white]
cannot work, as space and tab are part of chars. to fix this
extend chars by relevant exclusions: [chars not ( \t)][white]the totextmay contain:[part 1] use first text part of the fromtext.
e.g. the fromtext /*foo[.100 chars]bar*/
contains parts : 1 2 3 4 5[part1] the same (blank is optional).
[parts 1,2,3] use parts 1, 2 and 3.
[parts 1-10] use parts 1 to 10.
[strip(part1,\0)] use part 1 but remove zero bytes.
only zero bytes "\0" can be removed.
[file.name] full input filename with path
[file.relname] input filename without path
[file.path] input file's path
[file.base] relname without last .extension
[file.ext] input filename extension
[all] use all parts from fromtext.
[setvar name]...[endvar] set variable "name" with data
between setvar and endvar.
[getvar name] fill in data from variable "name"
although anchors like lstart, lend count as a separate part
they need NOT be specified in the totext. this means that
/[lstart]foo[lend]/bar/ just changes the word "foo".
supported slash patterns\t = TAB
\r = CR
\n = LF
\x00 = one byte with code 00 hexadecimal
\0 = short form for \x00
\q = a double quote "
\\ = the backslash character \ itself
\[ = the bracket open character [
\] = the bracket close character ]
\* = the literal star character *
\? = the literal question mark ?
\- = to use literal "-" in a command
Within multi line -bylist files:
\ = slash+blank is changed to a single blank
Only within "char of" or "byte not" lists:
\( = to use literal character "("
\) = to use literal character ")"
SFK expression options
-showpart(s) print /from/ part numbers, range statistics
and expansion priority points per part.
done automatically if a required /to/ text
is not given with a command.
-showbest if a /from/ pattern finds nothing, use this to
see how many parts would match so far, and with
up to how many bytes per part. anchors like [lstart]
may show a non zero length when matching (CR)LF.
-showlist with -bylist, show the internal joined list if
commands are spread across multiple lines.
-showall show all of the above.
-xmaxlen=n set default maximum length for chars or bytes commands,
e.g. -xmaxlen=10000 means /foo*bar/ matches with up to
10000 characters between foo and bar. the default max
length without this option is 4000 characters.
- always use a string literal, or single byte or char, at the start
of your search expressions, like in /foo*bar/ starting with 'f'.Do not use a wildcard like * at the start like in /*foobar/
when searching huge input data, as your search will slow down byfactor 256. Use /[lstart]*foobar/ instead.
- the system may cache output file(s), writing to disk in background
after sfk has finished. subsequent batch commands may execute slower.
chaining supportsfk extract output can be sent only to +xed or +xex.
other commands require an xed conversion step like
sfk extract ... +xed +viewaliasessfk xhexfind is the same as xfind -hex
to extract unmodified binary data you may use either
sfk xfind -pure ... -tofile or sfk extract ... -tofileoffice file supportsfk ofind search in .xml text file contents of
office files like .docx .xlsx .ods .odt.
sfk help office for more infos and options
see alsosfk xfind for more search pattern examples
examplessfk ofind mydir "/myword/"
search office and plain text files in mydir
containing the word 'myword'.
sfk ofind mydir "/myword/" -names +copy out
same as above, but copy the found files
to a folder 'out'.
sfk ofind mydir "/foo*bar/"
search foo followed by bar in the same line.
sfk ofind -pure mydir "/foo**bar/[part2]\n/"
search text starting with foo, then several
text lines, then ending with bar. print
only the found text between foo and bar.