How can I search text in files, including PDFs?

Al June 14, 2010

I want to search for a word [text or text string] inside a file, including PDFs, but I don’t know the file name. I can easily accomplish this if it’s a a .doc file. Have tried Windows XP search, Locate32, SuperFinder XT. Thank you.

  1. Salkis
    June 21, 2010 at 3:56 am

    is it index my files or INDEX YOUR FILES. I think that's the name of the program. did anyone use docfetcher?

    • kun
      June 23, 2010 at 1:50 am

      Forgot the names. I'll give the links


    • Al
      June 25, 2010 at 2:45 am


      • Tina
        June 25, 2010 at 3:38 am

        Thanks for the feedback Al! It's great to hear you found what you were looking for through MakeUseOf Answers.

  2. kun
    June 19, 2010 at 4:50 am

    Use ultrafilesearch. It searches inside files.
    Also you can use Index my files. It can search html, text, pdf etc.

    Both program do pretty much same. But Index my files indexes the files and also includes a preview pane. ultrafilesearch does not index and does not includes a preview pane. But it's lighter option

    Good luck

  3. Jack Cola
    June 16, 2010 at 4:13 am

    In Windows XP, go to search, select Documents (word processing, spreadsheets, etc.), click Use advance search options, and type your search term in A word or phase in the document:

  4. Ryan Dube
    June 15, 2010 at 1:48 pm

    You'll need to use Rob's approach if you want to include PDFs, because by their nature you don't search text in PDFs as you would a typical text or doc file. I usually write up a VB script when I need to do deep digging (and need to do it often).

    I'm surprised the Windows advanced search didn't work - finding text within files usually works pretty well. If you can't find it then the file you need is probably a PDF. I would search out all PDF files, find the ones that you suspect the most, and then use Rob's approach with Evernote to search those files as well.

    Good luck!

  5. Rob Mey
    June 15, 2010 at 1:17 pm

    Something I do is import the PDF into Evernote and that allows for searching on the text even if the PDF is locked

  6. Beekay29
    June 15, 2010 at 6:22 am

    Try "Everything" from
    It finds files and text

  7. Saikat Basu
    June 15, 2010 at 4:28 am

    Have you tried the Advanced search options which lets you search with a single word in a document? Otherwise, try out the ones mentioned here:

    Top 7 Windows Search Tricks Used by Pro Users
    Top 4 Desktop Search Tools To Find That Elusive File

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