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Search a directory path for any of a list of strings.

Project description


Walk a directory tree, searching for files containing any of a set of text strings.

Why not just use find and grep?

  • Avoids long, hard-to-debug shell commands with lots of backticks and parentheses.
  • Works on Windows without needing to install a unix work-alike like Cygwin.
  • Searches for a bunch of different strings in one go.
  • Searches within (possibly compressed) jar, tar, or zip archives.
  • Outputs results in CSV or Excel format.

System requirements

A note about installing python and pip

Some Linux systems (also Cygwin on Windows) come with python 2 pre-installed. You have to install python 3 yourself. There are gotchas involved:

  1. The "python" and "pip" packages may be reserved for version 2. It may not be as easy as "apt-get install python3" either. The latest package might be called "python3.7" or similar. Ditto with pip.
  2. Once installed, the python 3 binary may be called "python3", not "python". Ditto with pip.

Installation from pypi:

$ python -m pip install string_path_search --user 

Installation from GitHub

$ git clone
$ python string_path_search/ install --user 


Although you can import and use this package in other Python scripts, string_path_search is primarily intended to be invoked as a console app:

    $ python -m string_path_search [OPTIONS] <scan-root> [<search-term> [...]]
        -a, --scan-archives = Unpack and scan within archives
            (Default: Skip arhive files. Only jar, tar, and zip archives will be
                unpacked. Tar bzip2, gzip, and xz compression is supported.
        -B, --branding-text=<branding-text> = A string of text containing
            company or other information to add above the column headers in
            scan reports (Default: no text).
        -b, --branding-logo=<branding-logo> = (MS Excel only) An image
            file containing a corporate logo or other graphic to add above the
            column headers in scan reports (Default: no logo).
        -h, --help = Print usage information and exit.
        -e, --excel-output = Generate Microsoft Excel 2007 (.xlsx) output
            (Default: Generate comma-separated-value (CSV) text output)
        -i  --ingore-case = Ignore UPPER/lowercase differences when matching strings
            (Default: case differences are significant).
        -o, --output-dir=<output-dir> = Location for output (Default:
            <current working directory>).
        -s, --search-strings-file=<search-strings> = A file containing strings to
            search for, one per line (Default: Get search strings from the command line).
        -q, --quiet = Decrease logging verbosity (may repeat). -qqqq will suppress all logging.
        -t, --temp-dir=<temp-dir> = Location for unpacking archives
            (Default: <output_dir>/temp).
        -v, --verbose = Increase logging verbosity.
        -x, --exclusions-file=<exclusion-file> = A file containing (base) filenames to
            exclude from the search results, one per line (Default: Include all results).
    <scan-root> = Directory to scan.
    <search-term> ... = One or more terms to search for in <scan-root>.


Perform a caseless search of the test/data directory for any occurrence of 'copyright', 'gpl', 'foo', 'bar', or 'baz' and output the results to a file called 'scan-<timestamp>.csv' in the current working directory.

$ python -m string_path_search -i test/data copyright gpl foo bar baz

Same as example 1, except output to an Excel spreadsheet:

$ python -m string_path_search -i -e test/data copyright gpl foo bar baz


string_path_search is distributed under the MIT License.

Disclaimer regarding the test data:

The files in the test/data folder were randomly downloaded from publicly available Open Source projects. Distributing these materials with string_path_search as test data may or may not be in violation of the applicable licenses.

Project details

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