Do you mean replace as "Find/Replace", or "Replace field contents" ?
I prefer latter, it doesn't depend on layout. Then no matter using "Freeze window" since it shows replacing dialog anyway when take long.
Replace Field Contents will work even if the field is not on the layout as long as the layout's table occurrence context is correct.
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Using the Freeze window will enhance the Replace function.
I have done some testing on how to make scripts faster and come to the conclusion that. To track time I used Loop function to create 1000 records. Standard card layout was my first start and then just create records.
Tests done on a local file on my computer with FMPA16
1. Freeze window enhance the performance with 10%
2. First go to a layout with no fields on + Freeze Window another 4%
Tests done on a file on FMS16
1. Freeze window enhance the performance with 12%
2. First go to a layout with no fields on + Freeze Window another 5%
3. Perform Script on Server 38%
4. Perform Script on Server + Freeze Window 41%
5. Perform Script on Server + Freeze Window + Layout without any fields 42%