In computing, the term text processing refers to the discipline of mechanizing the creation or manipulation of electronic text. Text usually refers to all the alphanumeric characters specified on the keyboard of the person performing the mechanization, but in general text here means the abstraction layer that is one layer above the standard character encoding of the target text. The term processing refers to automated (or mechanized) processing, as opposed to the same manipulation done manually.

Text processing involves computer commands which invoke content, content changes, and cursor movement, for example to

  • search and replace
  • format
  • generate a processed report of the content of, or
  • filter a file or report of a text file.
    The text processing of a regular expression is a virtual editing machine, having a primitive programming language that has named registers (identifiers), and named positions in the sequence of characters comprising the text. Using these the “text processor” can, for example, mark a region of text, and then move it. The text processing of a utility is a filter program, or filter. These two mechanisms comprise text processing.