(1.3M size, last updated 2021-10-22)
Requires .NET 4 or higher (your PC probably already has it).
WildGem is a small, free, lightning-fast, portable, single-file app for Windows to help find and replace text. Its powerful syntax combines most of the flexibility of Regex, but with the simplicity of the typical find/replace feature found in your text editor or word processor.
Unlike similar programs, WildGem is fast with a dual split display, and updates or highlights matches as you type in realtime. A unique colour coded syntax allows you to easily find/replace text without worrying about having to escape special symbols.
If you're a beginner who only occasionally uses find and replace, WildGem will feel second-nature, and can even help you to formulate queries with wildcards.
If you're moderately competent with basic or extended expressions, but rarely use Regex, WildGem will allow to create more powerful expressions more quickly with its intuitive interface. Individual WildGem symbols can replace the equivalent of up to 22 Regex symbols!
If you're an expert with Regex and use it all the time, you may still appreciate the simpler syntax, colour coding, lightning speed, large input/output areas, realtime updating as you type, and the feature which converts your expression into the equivalent Regex syntax.
More information behind the purpose of WildGem:Regex is such a powerful way of editing text, but its power comes at a cost. The learning curve is pretty steep, and there's a lot of syntax to remember.
A simple example is replacing something starting with "The" and ending with "Fox" (for example: "The quick brown fox"). Regex would look like this: "the.*?fox". But WildGem simplifies the ".*?" bit to a single WildGem symbol - ✪. So you'd search for "the✪fox" instead. Want to search for one or more letters? The ⊚ symbol replaces the Regex "[a-zA-Z]+?" Likewise, the simple symbol ↲ is used for new lines or the start/end of a line (equivalent to the messy Regex (?:\\r\\n|\\r|\\n) ).
These special symbols and many more are available at all times in the interface (along with short and clear help), so you can incorporate them easily into your expression.
Offering unique symbols for commonly used functionality has a few advantages over Regex. Firstly, they are easier to commit to memory, and to distinguish from literal text. On top of colour coding, there's no worry about escaping them which helps to make the expression even shorter and hence clearer.
History:2021-10-22: v1.61: Fixed small vertical slider issue in the input box (was quite thin before).
2021-10-11: v1.60: Fixed resolution issues for 125+% scaling and non-standard/XP-style Windows scalings. The Optional symbol is now more compatible with other operators. The Lf end of line code is now default and used when loading a text file, unless you tick the new option "Don't force LF". The NewLine symbol has been split out of the Start/End symbol for more versatility. Icons have been rearranged and improved documentation.
2021-09-22: v1.50: Over two years, but we haven't forgotten. This free program keeps getting better. First off is a big bug fix: Many people don't have the Arial Unicode MS font (which comes with Excel 2013), so I added alternative fonts so that many of you can still get to see the Wildgem symbols properly. Also added the ability to load and save projects. There's a new button too - the "Optional" symbol which allows you to express a character or word that can be matched but doesn't HAVE to be (it's equivalent to the Regex '?'). Finally, a super new feature called "Multiple line functions" allows you to express multiple regex/Wildgem commands in one sweep. This is much nicer than trying to cram a bunch of Regex into a single line/command. There have been numerous other tweaks to the GUI and documentation.
2019-07-14: v1.32: Fixed missing scroll bar for non-100% scaling modes in Windows. Adjusted margin padding for separation clarity from main text, and also fixed issues to do with non-Realtime updating. Finally, the window can now be resized from the edges.
2019-03-25: v1.31: Fixed WildGem window GUI issues for non-100% scaling modes in Windows.
2019-03-18: v1.30: Regex queries beginning with .* or .+ (which equates to Wildgem syntax ✪ and ★↺ respectively) are now much, much faster to calculate due to the caret symbol that's automatically inserted to the start of the Regex expression. Also, input and output length, cursor position and number of lines are shown, and line margin numbers are now standard.
2018-03-12: v1.25: Adjusted colour of inactive Find field when Regex entered. Added "Clear all" button. Fixed resolution issues.
2017-09-20: v1.24: Clicking Find next now won't crash if there are no matches. Also, changing the query after a "Find next" retrieval will now automatically revert to showing all matches
2016-02-17: v1.23: Added view End of Line mode (this makes it a lot clearer when doing fidgety queries that involve the end or start of a line). Also fixed bug involving replacing when lookahead/behind (e.g: Pos >>) is used in the query (replace didn't work before - it does now).
2015-07-09: v1.22: Added load and save file buttons.
2015-05-06: v1.21: Added "Isolate matches" option and rejigged UI.
2015-05-06: v1.20: Lots of small additions which should polish it up:
2015-05-06: v1.10: Official version released! Main advantages over v1.00 beta version include allowing escape chars in find/replace fields, and faster, less glitchy editing.