A couple of nights ago I blogged about an implementation of a technique to replace multiple patterns in a string on a single pass. Steve Levithan had an entry on the approach (not mine in specific, just the approach and commenting on a few weaknesses). It inspired a few things out of me: first, making the multiple replace an extension method of the string class, and second to duplicate Steve's approach which enables a more robust model because you can use metasequences etc...

Here is the code (included the using statement since the use of ToArray() from the Dictionary key collection isn't available without System.Linq):

using System;
using System.Linq;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using System.Text.RegularExpressions;

static class RegexExtender {
public static string MultiReplace(this string target, Dictionary replacementDictionary) {
return Regex.Replace(target,
"(" + String.Join("|", replacementDictionary.Keys.ToArray()) + ")",
delegate(Match m) { return replacementDictionary[m.Value]; }

public static string LevithansMultiReplace(this string target, Dictionary replacementDictionary)
foreach (string key in replacementDictionary.Keys) {
Regex r = new Regex(key, RegexOptions.None);
target = r.Replace(target, replacementDictionary[key]);
return target;


Here is some usage:

// the original approach, as an extension method
string x = "Holly was a hunter";
Dictionary rdict = new Dictionary();
rdict.Add("Holly", "Hannah");
rdict.Add("hunter", "hatter");

// Steve's technique
rdict = new Dictionary();
rdict.Add(@"[A-z]", "x");
rdict.Add(@"\d", "y");
string test = "David is 33";



David Seruyange
I think at the time I wrote this the regular .NET Dictionary defaulted to have a string key/value pair. Now you will need to use a strongly typed Dictionary.

That is: Dictionary<string, string> instead of just Dictionary.
Marc W
LevithansMultiReplace will not compile for me. Any idea what I'm missing?