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ABAP Keyword Documentation →  ABAP - Reference →  Processing Internal Data →  Character String and Byte String Processing →  Expressions and Functions for String Processing →  String Functions →  Processing Functions for Character-Like Arguments 

replace - Replace Function

Other versions: 7.31 | 7.40 | 7.54

Syntax Forms

  1. ... replace( val = text [off = off] [len = len]
                   with = new ) ...

  2. ... replace( val = text {sub = substring}|{regex = regex}
                   with = new [case = case] [occ = occ] ) ...


This function replaces a subfield of text with the character string specified in new and returns the changed text.

The substring is determined as follows:

  • The variant with the arguments off and len replaces the subfield defined by the offset off and the length len. At least one of these additions must be defined.
  • The variant with the arguments sub or regex scans the text for the occurrence specified in occ for a match with the substring specified in substring or with a regular expression specified in regex and replaces the found location. If occ contains the value 0, all found locations are replaced. If substring is empty, an exception from the class CX_SY_STRG_PAR_VAL is raised. The search is case-sensitive by default, but can be overridden using the parameter case. If no substring is found, the unchanged content of text is returned.

new is a character-like expression position. If they have a fixed length, trailing blanks are ignored.

The return code has the type string accordingly.


  • Borderline cases for the variants with the arguments off and len:

  • If only off is specified or if the value 0 is specified forlen, then replace functions like insert.

  • If only len is specified or if off has the value 0, then the first segment of the length len is replaced.

  • If the value of off is equal to the length of text, then the value of len must be equal to 0 or len is not specified. The character string new is then attached to the end of text.

  • If a regular expression is used with regex then special replacement models that allow references to particular found locations can be specified in new.


The result of the following replacement is "<title>Th<b>i</b>s <b>i</b>s the <i>T<b>i</b>tle</i> </title>". In an HTML line, a particular letter is placed in format tags if it is not itself in a tag.

DATA: html   TYPE string, 
      repl   TYPE string. 

html = `<title>This is the <i>Title</i></title>`. 

repl   = `i`. 

html = replace( val   = html 
                regex = repl && `(?![^<>]*>)` 
                with  = `<b>$0</b>` 
                occ   =   0 ). 


Catchable Exceptions


  • Cause: Illegal offset or length specification in the off and len.



  • Cause: Substring in sub or regular expression in regex is empty.
    Runtime Error: STRG_ILLEGAL_PAR