Options dialog

The Options dialog allows you to set up the appearance and the behavior of Aba.


Here you can select the interface language (the language files are stored in the same directory as the ini file).

The completion sound is played when the program finishes searching, replacing, or undoing. The sounds specified in the Windows Control Panel are used (the default sound when everything is okay, or the error sound if there is an error). To avoid the continuous ding-dong when typing, the sound is not played if the operation completes quickly. If you disabled sounds in the Windows Control Panel, nothing will be played and the Play for operations longer setting will have no effect.

If the Preview favorites checkbox is marked, Aba will immediately show you the search results when you are selecting a favorite from the menu. This feature may be distracting, so you can turn it off.

You can also prevent the Esc key from closing the program.

Finally, you can choose if you want to wrap the text in the context viewer. The wrap width is used only for large files.


The Skip binary files box lists the extensions of the files that will be skipped during search. The extensions are separated with spaces and newlines. You can add the extensions used by your favorite applications here.

Most binary files contain non-textual data such as pictures, music, or compiled programs. These files may be large, for example, a typical MP3 file contains several megabytes of sound data. It does not make any sense to search for text in such files, so Aba skips the binary files to save your time. However, you can search in binary files if you wish.

The same list is used to exclude directories like .git or .hg. You can also add file masks here if they contain wildcards * or ?. If you need to exclude a specific filename or directory name, enclose it in double quotes, for example, "node_modules". If it's not enclosed in double quotes and does not contain wildcards, then it's treated as a file extension to exclude from search.

The limit on maximum number of matches is introduced to filter out frequent search patterns, which otherwise would degrade Aba's performance (read the full explanation). The default value is 4096 matches, which works even on old computers or VMs with a limited amount of RAM. If you have enough memory, you can increase the limit; for example, set it to 131072 matches if you have 8 GB of RAM. To test this setting, select some large folder and search for one letter in it. If you experience a slowdown or see “Out of memory” messages, then you need to decrease the limit.

The maximum total size of undo information controls the maximum size of backups that are used to undo your replacements. The backups of the oldest replacements are deleted if the total size doesn't fit into this limit.

If one undo item is larger than the limit, it still will be stored (provided that there is enough free space on the hard drive), but the next replacement will evict it from the backup folder.


On this tab, there are controls for selecting the font and colors of the context viewer and the color of occurrences in the results pane.

The monospaced fonts are highlighted in the list. You can select a predefined size or type a custom one.

In the Display item list, the colors for syntax highlighting can be chosen. When you click a colored word in the Preview pane, its name and color are shown. You can change the color by selecting from the drop-down list or by pressing the Choose button. The text in the preview pane is editable.

The colors are saved separately for the dark mode and the light mode.


The viewer and the editor are called when you press F3 and F4 in the main window. You can select your favorite notepad replacement here. Please use %1 for the file name.

Some text editors can go to the line and the column specified on the command line, so you can go straight to the text found by Aba. Use %2 for the line number and %3 for the column number. This feature was tested with SciTE and Notepad2.

The console file comparison tool is the program that will be used for comparison in the list of changed files. By default, fc (standard Windows tool) is used. If you have another console diff tool installed, you can enter its name here (use %1 and %2 for the names of the compared files).

The merge tool is a tool that will be called when you press the Merge changes button in the list of changed files. You can choose a tool like KDiff3 or WinMerge here. Use %1 and %2 for the names of the compared files.

Storage of the settings

The options and language files are stored in the following folder: C:\Users\Your name\AppData\Roaming\Aba. The .ini and .lng files are encoded in UTF-8. Aba Search and Replace does not write anything to your registry.

You can use Aba as a portable program if you copy the ini file and the language files into the directory where the exe file resides.

This is a page from Aba Search and Replace help file.