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The `M-x replace-string' command replaces exact matches for a single
string. The similar command `M-x replace-regexp' replaces any match
for a specified pattern.
In `replace-regexp', the NEWSTRING need not be constant: it can
refer to all or part of what is matched by the REGEXP. `\&' in
NEWSTRING stands for the entire text being replaced. `\D' in
NEWSTRING, where D is a digit, stands for whatever matched the Dth
parenthesized grouping in REGEXP. To include a `\' in the text to
replace with, you must give `\\'. For example,
M-x replace-regexp RET c[ad]+r RET \&-safe RET
replaces (for example) `cadr' with `cadr-safe' and `cddr' with
M-x replace-regexp RET \(c[ad]+r\)-safe RET \1 RET
performs the inverse transformation.
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