Regex to display the initial letters of the sentences replacing the remaining letters with asterisks or dots

  • Ctrl+H
  • Find what: (?<![^a-z])(?<!^)[a-z]
  • Replace with: .
  • UNCHECK Match case
  • CHECK Wrap around
  • CHECK Regular expression
  • Replace all


(?<![^a-z])     # negative lookbehind, make sure we haven't a non-letter before
(?<!^)          # negative lookbehind, make sure we aren't at the beginning of line
[a-z]           # a letter

Screenshot (before):

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Screenshot (after):

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You just need a regular expression to identify the characters that you want to convert. That is simple, either of the following will work: \B\S, or \B\w.

Now you need a tool to convert all matched characters to a .

I don't use notepad++, so I can't speak to how you would to it there. But this is simple using my JREPL.BAT regular expression find/replace command line utility.

Let's assume you want to do the conversion to the file "file.txt":

jrepl "\B\S" "." /f file.txt /o -


jrepl "\B\w" "." /f file.txt /o -

If you put the command within a batch script, then you need to use call jrepl because JREPL is itself a batch script. Without CALL you will not return back to your script.

You can also transform piped text. Here is a simple example:

C:\test>echo hello world|jrepl "\B\S" "."
h.... w....

Powershell Version Based on @dbenham RegEx

(Get-Content "Filepath") -replace '\B\w','.' | Set-Content "Filepath"