Finding a string in a file

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osminbas on 22 Jul 2011
I need help with this problem:
How can I find the files with the same name in different folders that have the number "5800" in them? Furthermore, how can I list these files/folders and which line(s) the number "5800" appear in the files?
I would really appreciate the help.
Fangjun Jiang
Fangjun Jiang on 22 Jul 2011
"5800" is in the folder name or in the file name? Is the file a ASCII text file?
Walter Roberson
Walter Roberson on 23 Jul 2011
"5800" is a target string to be found amongst several files.

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Answers (8)

Walter Roberson
Walter Roberson on 23 Jul 2011
CommonFileName = 'x3175.txt'; %or whatever the common name is
folderinfo = dir('*');
folderinfo(~[folderinfo.isdir]) = [];
folderinfo(strcmp({},{'.','..'})) = [];
for FoIdx = 1 : length(folderinfo)
specificname = fullfile(folderinfo(FoIdx}.name, CommonFileName);
if exists(specificname, 'file)
%at this point, insert your code to examine specificfile

Jason Ross
Jason Ross on 21 Sep 2012
I realize this question is old, but in Windows Explorer (and not strictly a MATLAB question, either), you can put "content: " in the search box in the upper right hand corner, and it will search the files (including .doc files) for the string. So for this question, putting "content: 5800" would have searched and returned a list of the files that had "5800" in it.
Also, note that you can try finding something in Explorer, and then at the bottom it says "Search again in:", and one of the choices is "content". Not the most usable thing (the search dog in previous Windows versions exposed this more quickly), but it is there.
There is also a "find" command you can run from the Command Shell, just cd to the directory in question and type
find "5800" *
And the current directory will be searched. I checked a directory where I had some Word documents and it successfully searched them.

Honglei Chen
Honglei Chen on 22 Jul 2011
Hi osminbas,
You could write a script to achieve this. You can use cd to change directories, what to list all the files in the folder, then for each file, use textscan to read each line and strfind to find '5800'. You then just write the result to either the screen or a file.

Walter Roberson
Walter Roberson on 23 Jul 2011
On unix systems:
!grep -Hn 5800 */TheFileName.txt

Fangjun Jiang
Fangjun Jiang on 23 Jul 2011
How about this? Open M-Editor, select menu Edit->Find file. Specify what text to find, in what files and what folder/sub-folder to find, the result will show all the files, folders and the lines that the text appears in.
Many other IDEs probably have the same capability too.

osminbas on 25 Jul 2011
Thank you all. I realized that I misworded my question. I am trying to find the string "5800" in the file itself (it is a .doc file), not in the name of the file. Again, I appreciate your help.
Walter Roberson
Walter Roberson on 28 Jul 2011
The line "if exists(specificname, 'file)" that I put in the code checks to see whether the file exists in the subdirectory you are processing, and skips the string search if the file is not there.
For searching within a specific file, there are many ways. One way is:
fid = fopen(specificfile, 'rt');
lines = textscan(fid,'%[^\n]'); %reads line by line
L = find(~cellfun(@isempty,strfind(lines, '5800')),1,'first');
if ~isempty(L)
fprintf('found in %s at line %d\n', specificfile, L);
K E on 21 Sep 2012
I just used this code in another project, so thanks Walter

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osminbas on 28 Jul 2011
Thank you all. Especially, thank you, Walter. In your code, when I define the folderinfo, it is the "big" folder that has all the subfolders in it. Some of these subfolders have the file I am looking for and some of them don't. How can I get only the ones with that file in them. And furthermore, how can I list these folder names in an excel sheet or text file (whichever is easier)?
Also, how do I search for the string "5800" inside the document? I know that you talked about the difficulties of reading inside .doc files but maybe you can answer my question assuming it is a txt file.
I really appreciate your help.

venkat vasu
venkat vasu on 22 Sep 2012
Edited: Walter Roberson on 22 Sep 2012
for i1=3:l
nfiles = length(files);
for i=3:nfiles
currentfilename = files(i).name;
if currentfilename==5800
%whatever operation
this code surely will help you...
  1 Comment
Walter Roberson
Walter Roberson on 22 Sep 2012
The task was to search the content, not the file name.
Also, "currentfilename" from files(i).name will be a string, but you attempt to compare the string to the numeric value 5800 . That is not going to have the result you expect.

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