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Multi-line regex replace issue

Chris McKulka

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I am creating my first workflow that has a regular expression that operates against a string with multiple lines. To be clear when I say multiple lines I mean there are embedded '\n' characters.


The replacement doesn't seem to working correctly. See attached picture with debug output. Instead of emitting a '\n' just the letter 'n' (vs. a newline) is being emitted.


I attached the full script that I am trying to replicate but that's just for context. The screenshot captures the issue with a very simple set of input text and a trivial regex.


Appreciate your help!

Screen Shot 2018-02-20 at 11.45.23 PM.png

full script.png

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Thank you for the quick and thoughtful response. Thank you for the suggestion re. using a capture group. You are correct it does work and maybe my workaround, but it definitely isn't elegant.


As far I can Alfred's behavior is incorrect. The perl command below returns the correct result. See pic below.

 perl -pe 's/[0-9]\n/*\n/g'


Screen Shot 2018-02-22 at 12.01.10 AM.png

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  • 3 weeks later...

Sorry about the slow reply on this. I've now had a chance to look into what is happening.


Alfred is using NSRegularExpression which treats \ in the replacement template string as a literal, and it looks like it's just being stripped in the replacement.


See Table 3 here:



If you were to actually put a new line in the replacement (i.e. instead of using \n, use alt+return), then it works as expected.




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  • 4 years later...

I just got bitten by this. I think it would be helpful to note in the (excellent) documentation, especially as this page sends you to RegExr which treats \ as an escape character in the replace string, vs the NSRegularExpression behavior. This stumped me for a while because I was able to get everything working correctly on RegExr, so a footnote or similar on the docs page would have prevented this. The workaround works well, as does the capture method listed above.





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