cancel
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
Reply

Substitute multiple "words" in one string

Hi!
Im trying to find a way to replace mutliple words in one string.

For example I have a list with words that I want to replace with "***" in a string, if i had only one replace argument then I could simply use Substitute( "MyString etc and so on", "etc", "***" ). However to replace all words in the string from the list I have to loop throu the list and do "the replace action". 

So for I havent found a solution for this, any one that have any solution? 

 

My main goal is to change mutliple words in one string dynamically. For example:
Input: "This is my source string"
Output: "This **** my **** string"

1 ACCEPTED SOLUTION

Accepted Solutions

@adamtj 

No worries on the language - you are actually doing just fine translating from what I see.

It was me who didn't really read through as completely as I should have.

 

Grab some popcorn and relax...this is a long response!

 

I spent a little more time now and read through all the posts.  The problem you were having is that ForAll was being treating as a ForLoop development function...it is not!  ForAll in PowerApps is designed to return a table of records based on your record definition.  In Message #3, you saw the result of this.  Your Record definition for the ForAll had no column defined, so you were going to get a Table of records based on the Split formula...a Result column.  But they are all going to be different and there is not a real good way to put them together.

So, you can't use ForAll like a ForLoop.  PowerApps is not a development platform, so it really doesn't have those type of functions - it's all about tables and records.

 

Okay, that said...so what you are trying to do is not a problem, but it does take some steps to get there.  The key is to be able to split the Notes text by the keywords.  And, since the Split function requires a specific split text, and yours is variable, then Split is really not helpful.  The next key is to abide by the No-Code platform that PowerApps is and adapt to the way that it needs to process data.

 

What needs to be done is to identify all the locations in the text where any of the keywords are found, then use the locations and lengths to rebuild the text and remove the "found" information.

 

So...here we go!

Using your example in Message #3 - The formula would be this:

 

With({_redactText: "****"; _keyWords: ["test@mail.com"; "999-123 45 67"]; _textToAlter: "Test string with an e-mail: test@mail.com and and phone: 999-123 45 67."};
    With({_items:
        With({_wds:
            // STEP 8: sort by location for purpose of rebuild of string
            Sort(
                // STEP 7: drop the table column - not used hereafter
                DropColumns(
                    // STEP 6: remove records with no word
                    Filter(
                        // STEP 5: Add the word to the record
                        AddColumns(
                            // STEP 4: Ungroup the table by the Value column to provide a table 
                               with inner records
                            Ungroup(
                                // STEP 1: iterate through keywords. 
                                   Note: no record defined so results will be a table in the Value column
                                ForAll(_keyWords;
                                    // Filter out empty locations
                                    Filter(
                                        // STEP 3: Group by the distinct locations
                                        GroupBy(
                                            // STEP 2: Cycle through entire string and gather all locations 
                                               where the keywords exist
                                            ForAll(Sequence(Len(_textToAlter)) As _seq;
                                                // return a record with the word, and location
                                                {wd:Value; loc:Find(Value; _textToAlter; _seq.Value)}
                                            ); 
                                        "loc"; "_locs"
                                        ); 
                                        !IsBlank(loc)
                                    )
                                );
                                "Value"
                            ),
                            "wd"; First(_locs).wd
                        );
                        !IsBlank(wd)
                    );
                    "_locs"
                );
                loc
            )};

            // STEP 9: iterate over a sequence based on the number of records in the _wds table
            ForAll(Sequence(CountRows(_wds));
                With({_prev:Last(FirstN(_wds; Value-1))};
                    // define record for Table as the prior record with the prev and len column added and values 
                       based on previous word
                    Patch(Last(FirstN(_wds; Value)); {prev: Coalesce(_prev.loc; 1); len:Len(_prev.wd)})
                )
            )

        )};

        // STEP 10: RETURN RESULTS
        If(CountRows(_items)=0;
            // Nothing to alter - return original
            _textToAlter;
            // Rebuild new string
            Concat(_items; Mid(_textToAlter; prev+len; loc-len-prev) & _redactText) & 
            With(LookUp(_items; loc=Max(_items; loc)); Mid(_textToAlter; loc + Len(wd)))
        )

    )
)

 

 

There are a lot of lines to the above because there are a lot of basic actions going on to get the data table shaped properly to be able to feed it to the final formula in the RETURN RESULTS section.

 

So here is what is going on - you need to read this from the inside out.

What we are doing is first building a table of all the locations of all the keywords.  This is all being put into the scoped With variable called _wds.  That variable will have a table of records with a wd and loc column.  The values will be the word and the location found (note as well, the formula will account for ALL instances of a keyword, not just one).

To get that table, we first iterate through all the keywords table (STEP 1).  This will give us our iterator.  That is then used to look through the entire string (this is the inner-most ForAll function) - STEP 2.  That is where we cycle through all the string based on the length of the string.  That ForAll returns the word in wd and the location found in loc as a record.  Since this will produce a lot of duplicated words and locations (because we just go through the string letter by letter), the formula is Grouping them by the loc (location) - STEP 3.  This will return a table with a distinct list of locations.  It will have a table column called _locs in it...we really don't need it except for the word in it. (NOTE, we also filter at this step to remove any blank locations).

 

So now we have a table from the Primary STEP 1 ForAll function.   Records will have ONLY a Value column that contains a record.  That record has a column called loc with a number and a column called _locs with a table.

 

In STEP 4, we remove the grouping of the Value column.  This will result in a table that has records with a loc column and a _locs column.  With that we then grab the word from the first record of the _locs column table and add it to the table we are building - STEP 5.

 

In STEP 6 we do a filter on the table we are building to remove any blank words.

 

STEP 7 we get rid of the _locs table column as we no longer need it (not really necessary, but just to be "clean").

 

STEP 8 we do a sort on all the loc columns as we want the table to be sorted by location in the string for rebuilding.

 

All of the above steps produce a formatted, sorted and clean table for the next process.  This is all stored in the _wds With variable.

 

In STEP 9, we work on the _wds table to add some more vital information.

So, we iterate over that table based on the number of rows in the table.  We get the previous record from the table first and assign it to a scoped With variable called _prev.  This is the record before the record we are currently working on - we need it for some values.  

Since we're in a ForAll, we need to define our record for the resulting table.  In this case, our record is made from the Patch of the _wds record (wd and loc) and we add two more columns, the prev column (which will hold the value of the previous word record location - note: coalesced to avoid blanks and set to 1 as the start), and the len column (which will hold the length of the previous word.)

All of this (STEP 9) produces a table.  Each record in the table will have a wd, loc, prev and len column with values.  It is all assigned to a With scoped variable called _items.

 

And that brings us to the final step - STEP 10.  We now have a formatted, sorted and data-full table with all the information we need to rebuild a string.

So, first off...if there happen to be no items in our table (no matches from prior steps), then we just return the original text.

Otherwise, we just iterate through the _items table in a Concat statement.  In that we use the Mid function to return bits and pieces of the original text based on all the locations and information we gathered in our table.  And then we append the redact text.  This will have returned not found text up to that location and then have the redact text in place of the keyword found.  

This then continues for the rest of the records in our table of locations.

Finally, we append the result with the Mid text to the end of the original text starting with the last location and length of word found.

 

SO...based on your example text, your resulting text from:

     Test string with an e-mail: test@mail.com and and phone: 999-123 45 67.

will be:

     Test string with an e-mail: **** and and phone: ****.

 

I hope this is all clear and helpful for you.  

_____________________________________________________________________________________
Digging it? - Click on the Thumbs Up below. Solved your problem? - Click on Accept as Solution below. Others seeking the same answers will be happy you did.
NOTE: My normal response times will be Mon to Fri from 1 PM to 10 PM UTC (and lots of other times too!)
Check out my PowerApps Videos too! And, follow me on Twitter @RandyHayes

Really want to show your appreciation? Buy Me A Cup Of Coffee!

View solution in original post

20 REPLIES 20
WarrenBelz
Most Valuable Professional
Most Valuable Professional

Hi @adamtj ,

Do you mean something like

ForAll(
   YourListName,
   Substitute(
      YourString,
	  YourListFieldName,
	  "***"
   )
)

 

Please click Accept as solution if my post helped you solve your issue. This will help others find it more readily. It also closes the item. If the content was useful in other ways, please consider giving it Thumbs Up.

Visit my blog Practical Power Apps

Hi @WarrenBelz 
Thank you for replying!
I tried something like that but it did not change the source string, it returned another list with strings substituted with that current record in the list (the list in the ForAll loop)


In this example "TempStr" = 'Test string with an e-mail: test@mail.com and and phone: 999-123 45 67.'
Listitems in "GDPRContent" = 'test@mail.com' and '999-123 45 67'

UpdateContext({TempStr:{Text: varGdprLeadsNote.NotesHtmlText}});;

UpdateContext({TempCol:
    ForAll(
        Split(varGdprLeadsNote.GDPRContent;";");
        Patch(
            TempStr;
            {
                Text: Substitute(TempStr.Text; ThisRecord.Result; "****")
            }
        )
    )
})

 

Above code did not change the source string (TempStr). TempCol however returns a list:

{ Result: "Test string with a e-mail adress: **** and and phone: 999-123 45 67" },
{ Result: "Test string with a e-mail adress: test@mail.com and and phone: ****" }

 

 

WarrenBelz
Most Valuable Professional
Most Valuable Professional

Hi @adamtj ,

I am not a fan of either tables stored in Variables or Patching to them (that is what Collections and Collect) are for, however firstly try this

UpdateContext(
   {
      TempStr:{Text: varGdprLeadsNote.NotesHtmlText}
   }
);;
UpdateContext(
   {
      TempCol:
      ForAll(
         Split(
            varGdprLeadsNote,
            GDPRContent & 
            ";"
         ) As aPatch;
         Patch(
            TempStr;
            {
                Text: 
                Substitute(
                   TempStr.Text; 
                   aPatch.Result; 
                   "****"
                )
            }
         )
      )
   }
)

 

Please click Accept as solution if my post helped you solve your issue. This will help others find it more readily. It also closes the item. If the content was useful in other ways, please consider giving it Thumbs Up.

Visit my blog Practical Power Apps

Hi!

I tried above solution but the results are the same unfortunately.

 

To clarify the "TempVar" and "TempCol" was only for my troubleshooting, the basic function looks like this:

ForAll(
    Split(varGdprLeadsNote.GDPRContent;";");
    Substitute(varGdprLeadsNote.NotesHtmlText; ThisRecord.Result; "****")
)

 

The problem is that I dont understand how to change the source string "varGdprLeadsNote.NotesHtmlText" to include changes made by the Substitute ForAll loop? The ForAll loop returns multiple strings, one string per item in "Split(varGdprLeadsNote.GDPRContent;";");" "List". How do I get that to be one string in the end?

 

I suppose to actually change the source string is not the solution, however is it possible to manipulate the result from ForAll to be one string incorporation the diffrent changes made by substitute?

 

Confused 🙂

WarrenBelz
Most Valuable Professional
Most Valuable Professional

Hi @adamtj ,

Please consider using a collection here - it is so much easier to manipulate the contents.

Hi @WarrenBelz ,
If its easier then im more then willing to try that. However i would appreciate any pointers you could give me on the subject.

 

My main goal is to change mutliple words in one string dynamically. For example:
Input: "This is my source string"
Output: "This **** my **** string"

WarrenBelz
Most Valuable Professional
Most Valuable Professional

Hi @adamtj ,

On reading this again, you seem to be replacing a string with itself - what is varGdprLeadsNote.NotesHtmlText and varGdprLeadsNote.GDPRContent - is this a table with two fields and where are you getting the words to replace

Hi @WarrenBelz ,

I will try and explain the whole picture 🙂

The function for the app is to store and track notes and progress in a new sales leads and its on-boarding process. According to laws in EU (GDPR) information such as e-mail, phone number and similar information that could identify a person is consider sensitive. The law states that this kind of information isn't allowed to store longer than necessary. Hence the information must be traceable and erasable or able to be anonymized.

So when the user inputs information and notes into the app a series of RegEx searches are made on the text, text that matches "sensitive data" gets marked and the actual words copies and stores in same record as the actual note.

 

When the user saves the information a record with the notes and marked keywords (matched as sensitive information) will be saved in a table. Both fields are text fields, NotesHtmlText  and GDPRContent 

 

The record looks like this:

adamtj_0-1640123710280.png

 

Now to the tricky part. When the on-boarding are finished or the lead is terminated and appropriate time has past the data should be either anonymized or erased. I'm trying to anonymize the data.

 

So back to the question:

varGdprLeadsNote is the selected record in the "LeadNotesTable" that i want to anonymize.

varGdprLeadsNote.NotesHtmlText is the field that contains the actual note/information submitted by the user. 
VarGdprLeadsNote.GDPRContent is the field that contains identified sensitive "words", mail phone number etc inside the submitted note/information. The "keywords" are stored as a string separated with ";".

 

So the thing I'm trying to do is to replace NotesHtmlText with a new string where all of the keywords in GDPRContent  are replaced with "****". 

However this formula only takes me halfway. The NotesHtmlText remains unchanged which I now understand is expected.

ForAll(
    //Creates a collection to loop throu with the keywords to anonymize, by parsing the 
    //comma separeted string stored in the 'GDPRContent' field.
    Split(varGdprLeadsNote.GDPRContent;";");

    //Replaces the keywords in the submited text.
    Substitute(varGdprLeadsNote.NotesHtmlText; ThisRecord.Result; "****")
)

 

If i put the result from the ForAll into a collection I end up with a new collection containing each result from the loop:

adamtj_1-1640125651008.png

 

The result i want to write back should look like this:
<p>Bl bla **** med mer</p><p>Bla **** etc och så vidare</p>

 

As I said before any input are greatly appreciated!

 

 

Hi @adamtj ,

30 minutes on a model I built and I will have to raise the white flag

@RandyHayes , you might want to have a look

Helpful resources

Announcements

Community will be READ ONLY July 16th, 5p PDT -July 22nd

Dear Community Members,   We'd like to let you know of an upcoming change to the community platform: starting July 16th, the platform will transition to a READ ONLY mode until July 22nd.   During this period, members will not be able to Kudo, Comment, or Reply to any posts.   On July 22nd, please be on the lookout for a message sent to the email address registered on your community profile. This email is crucial as it will contain your unique code and link to register for the new platform encompassing all of the communities.   What to Expect in the New Community: A more unified experience where all products, including Power Apps, Power Automate, Copilot Studio, and Power Pages, will be accessible from one community.Community Blogs that you can syndicate and link to for automatic updates. We appreciate your understanding and cooperation during this transition. Stay tuned for the exciting new features and a seamless community experience ahead!

Check Out | 2024 Release Wave 2 Plans for Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Microsoft Power Platform

On July 16, 2024, we published the 2024 release wave 2 plans for Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Microsoft Power Platform. These plans are a compilation of the new capabilities planned to be released between October 2024 to March 2025. This release introduces a wealth of new features designed to enhance customer understanding and improve overall user experience, showcasing our dedication to driving digital transformation for our customers and partners.    The upcoming wave is centered around utilizing advanced AI and Microsoft Copilot technologies to enhance user productivity and streamline operations across diverse business applications. These enhancements include intelligent automation, AI-powered insights, and immersive user experiences that are designed to break down barriers between data, insights, and individuals. Watch a summary of the release highlights.    Discover the latest features that empower organizations to operate more efficiently and adaptively. From AI-driven sales insights and customer service enhancements to predictive analytics in supply chain management and autonomous financial processes, the new capabilities enable businesses to proactively address challenges and capitalize on opportunities.    

Summer of Solutions | Week 3 Results | Win free tickets to the Power Platform Conference

We are excited to announce the Summer of Solutions Challenge!   This challenge is kicking off on Monday, June 17th and will run for (4) weeks.  The challenge is open to all Power Platform (Power Apps, Power Automate, Copilot Studio & Power Pages) community members. We invite you to participate in a quest to provide solutions in the Forums to as many questions as you can. Answers can be provided in all the communities.    Entry Period: This Challenge will consist of four weekly Entry Periods as follows (each an “Entry Period”)   - 12:00 a.m. PT on June 17, 2024 – 11:59 p.m. PT on June 23, 2024 - 12:00 a.m. PT on June 24, 2024 – 11:59 p.m. PT on June 30, 2024 - 12:00 a.m. PT on July 1, 2024 – 11:59 p.m. PT on July 7, 2024 - 12:00 a.m. PT on July 8, 2024 – 11:59 p.m. PT on July 14, 2024   Entries will be eligible for the Entry Period in which they are received and will not carryover to subsequent weekly entry periods.  You must enter into each weekly Entry Period separately.   How to Enter: We invite you to participate in a quest to provide "Accepted Solutions" to as many questions as you can. Answers can be provided in all the communities. Users must provide a solution which can be an “Accepted Solution” in the Forums in all of the communities and there are no limits to the number of “Accepted Solutions” that a member can provide for entries in this challenge, but each entry must be substantially unique and different.    Winner Selection and Prizes: At the end of each week, we will list the top ten (10) Community users which will consist of: 5 Community Members & 5 Super Users and they will advance to the final drawing. We will post each week in the News & Announcements the top 10 Solution providers.  At the end of the challenge, we will add all of the top 10 weekly names and enter them into a random drawing.  Then we will randomly select ten (10) winners (5 Community Members & 5 Super Users) from among all eligible entrants received across all weekly Entry Periods to receive the prize listed below. If a winner declines, we will draw again at random for the next winner.  A user will only be able to win once overall. If they are drawn multiple times, another user will be drawn at random.  Individuals will be contacted before the announcement with the opportunity to claim or deny the prize.  Once all of the winners have been notified, we will post in the News & Announcements of each community with the list of winners.   Each winner will receive one (1) Pass to the Power Platform Conference in Las Vegas, Sep. 18-20, 2024 ($1800 value). NOTE: Prize is for conference attendance only and any other costs such as airfare, lodging, transportation, and food are the sole responsibility of the winner. Tickets are not transferable to any other party or to next year’s event.   ** PLEASE SEE THE ATTACHED RULES for this CHALLENGE**   Week 1 Results: Congratulations to the Week 1 qualifiers, you are being entered in the random drawing that will take place at the end of the challenge. Community MembersNumber of SolutionsSuper UsersNumber of Solutions @anandm08  23 @WarrenBelz  31 @DBO_DV  10 @Amik  19 AmínAA 6 @mmbr1606  12 @rzuber  4 @happyume  7 @Giraldoj  3@ANB 6 (tie)   @SpongYe  6 (tie)     Week 2 Results: Congratulations to the Week 2 qualifiers, you are being entered in the random drawing that will take place at the end of the challenge. Community MembersSolutionsSuper UsersSolutions @anandm08  10@WarrenBelz 25 @DBO_DV  6@mmbr1606 14 @AmínAA 4 @Amik  12 @royg  3 @ANB  10 @AllanDeCastro  2 @SunilPashikanti  5 @Michaelfp  2 @FLMike  5 @eduardo_izzo  2   Meekou 2   @rzuber  2   @Velegandla  2     @PowerPlatform-P  2   @Micaiah  2     Week 3 Results: Congratulations to the Week 3 qualifiers, you are being entered in the random drawing that will take place at the end of the challenge.   Week 3:Community MembersSolutionsSuper UsersSolutionsPower Apps anandm0861WarrenBelz86DBO_DV25Amik66Michaelfp13mmbr160647Giraldoj13FLMike31AmínAA13SpongYe27  

Updates to Transitions in the Power Platform Communities

We're embarking on a journey to enhance your experience by transitioning to a new community platform. Our team has been diligently working to create a fresh community site, leveraging the very Dynamics 365 and Power Platform tools our community advocates for.  We started this journey with transitioning Copilot Studio forums and blogs in June. The move marks the beginning of a new chapter, and we're eager for you to be a part of it. The rest of the Power Platform product sites will be moving over this summer.   Stay tuned for more updates as we get closer to the launch. We can't wait to welcome you to our new community space, designed with you in mind. Let's connect, learn, and grow together.   Here's to new beginnings and endless possibilities!   If you have any questions, observations or concerns throughout this process please go to https://aka.ms/PPCommSupport.   To stay up to date on the latest details of this migration and other important Community updates subscribe to our News and Announcements forums: Copilot Studio, Power Apps, Power Automate, Power Pages

Top Solution Authors
Top Kudoed Authors
Users online (4,080)