dnGREP: Content Search And Replace For Windows



In an earlier review  for FileSearchy commenter smaragdus wondered out loud if there are any utilities that support searching in epub (and fb2) files. Indeed the search for such a tool seems to confirm that it is a rare feature. I stumbled upon dnGREP, however.

dnGREP searches inside most text files and some like pdf  require a plugin which come with the program and reside in the program’s folder. It integrates with the right click menu, can search plain text, Word documents, inside archives and more. It wasn’t clear at first if the latter includes epub files, then I found a support question or feature request that was answered:

You can enable this by modifying C:\Program Files\dnGREP\Plugins\dnGREP.Engines.Archive.plugin file.
Just add epub to the list of extensions.

The result can be seen in the screenshot above. dnGREP provides a a preview and highlights results, supports regular expressions and xpath. The user can also filter the search (icon to the far right of the Search in section) to restrict the search to specific path or type of files. Replace is supported and the >> button to the right of the Replace button provides custom actions such as Copy files, Move files, Delete files and File names to clipboard, Save as CSV and CSV to clipboard to copy the result file names for use elsewhere. The bookmark saves search queries for the future.

The program’s options includes such settings as Show file path in results, Show results tree expanded and Show result lines in context X before and X after.

Version 2.7.1 beta 2 used for this review, version 2.6.3 stable is also available for both 32 and 64 bit systems. Unfortunately, because it is usually better but difficult to avoid, dnGREP requires the .NET framework 4.0. dnGREP can be launched via the command line.


  1. Thank you for this great find and nice review!
    I tested the dnGREP (version and I liked it, the explorer integration is very handy and it can be easily toggled on/off without the need of restart. The native x64 support is also very nice.
    Surprisingly dnGREP works far better with FB2 files out of the box. I added the EPUB extension to the archive plugin file and it really works but the preview doesn’t.
    I ran across a problem- if the FB2/EPUB file contains Unicode characters the search does not work.
    By the way dnGREP cannot search inside ODT files.
    I hope that dnGREP is not abandoned since there is space for improvement- for example adding native support for EPUB (with working preview), and also support for ODT and DJVU (very unlikely) files.
    Anyway, dnGREP is a very useful program and I will keep it.
    By the way Moby Dick is one of my favourite novels.
    Once again- many thanks for this excellent find.
    I am curious- did you like dnGREP? May I ask which is your favourite text search tool?

  2. You’re welcome, I agree dnGREP is pretty promising. I surprise myself at how rarely I use search utilities. Even for finding files, which I use Everything for. I have Windows Grep (http://wingrep.com/) and I rarely use it. What happens more often is I let an outliner (Treeprojects still my favorite) index txt and other files and use the outliner’s internal search.

  3. Clipjump is one of the programs I use everyday (together with 7Zip, AkelPad, ArsClip, minipad2, TyperTask, etc). I haven’t seen as fast and as light searcher like Everything, it is tiny and portable, great tool. There haven’t been stable releases for quite some time but Everything has not been abandoned. By the way Everything also offers shell integration. For text search I have been using AstroGrep.

  4. Thanks. minipad2 is one of the best tools around, would have been better if it was still developed.

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