Searching in a PDF

how to search in a pdf Do you need to search for a word in a very long PDF but you don't know how to do it? Forget the basic technique of doing it manually, of going page by page until you find the term, there is a quick and easy way to search a PDF.

Therefore, in this article we are going to explain step by step how to search a PDF with an example so you don't have trouble finding terms in files with this extension.

Searching in a PDF Since becoming an open format, PDF documents have become more common because maintain the integrity of your design regardless of the device it is viewed on: computer, smartphone, tablet, etc.

Sometimes you need to search for a word in a PDF document to confirm a fact, find important information, or just out of curiosity. Fortunately, this is a quick and easy operation.

To search for words in a PDF, we will use the official Adobe application, the company that invented the PDF format. Adobe Acrobat Reader DC is a free program, which includes an efficient search engine, and it is also in Spanish, which makes things easier for us.

Before you start: Download the program

If you don't have any program installed that reads PDF, you can download Acrobat Reader DC from your website. Be careful, because by default it also downloads and installs the McAffee antivirus. If you are not interested, uncheck this option.

Once the program is installed, go to menu Archive and open the PDF where you want to search. Most of the time, due to system configuration, the file will automatically open with Acrobat Reader DC when you click on the document.

First step: How to search a PDF for a word or words.

CTRL + F if you're using Windows or CMD + F if you're using a Mac

Next, you need to go to the top menu Edit and click on the option Search next to the binoculars symbol. Another faster method is to use keyboard commands if you prefer:

press the commands CTRL + F if you are using Windows or CMD + F if you're using a Mac. A search window will open where you can type the word you want to search for. To remember this command, you can think of the English search term: “find”, so the first letter of the word is the one that accompanies the CTRL.

Second step: more specific search

CTRL + Shift + F on Windows or CMD + Shift + F on Mac


For a more detailed search, press CTRL + Shift + F on Windows or CMD + Shift + F on Mac. This will open the advanced search:

*”Shift” refers to the key you use to type a single uppercase letter, which includes an up arrow icon. The key that is just above Ctrl.
Here you can search all PDF documents in a specific folder, not just the current folder. You can even search for whole words, bookmarks, and comments. Also, there is a checkbox to indicate if you want to match uppercase and lowercase letters.

Find text in multiple PDF documents

Search in multiple documents

Acrobat Adobe PDF goes a step further, you can search multiple documents at once!. The search window allows you to search for words in multiple PDF documents at once. For example, you can search for all PDF documents or open PDF Portfolios in a specific location. You have to take into account that if the documents are encrypted (security measures have been applied), they cannot be included in the search. Therefore, you will have to open these documents one by one to search each file individually. However, documents encoded as Adobe Digital Editions are an exception to this rule and can be included in the group of documents to search for. After this we go there.

Search in multiple files at once: steps to follow

  • Open Acrobat on the desktop (not in a web browser).
  • Perform one of the following actions.- In the search toolbar, type the text you want to search for, and then select Open complete search of Acrobat in the pop-up menu.- in the search box, type the text you want to search for.
  • In this window, select all PDF documents. In the pop-up menu just below the option, select search where.
  • Select a location on your computer or on a network and click Accept.
  • To specify additional search criteria, click on Show Advanced Options and specify the appropriate options.
  • Click on Search.

As a tip, during the search, you can click on the results or use keyboard commands to scroll through the results without interrupting the search. If you click on the button Stop below the progress bar, the search is canceled and the results are limited to the events found so far. The search window does not close and the list of results is not cleared. Therefore, to see more results, you have to run a new search.

How can I review and save search results?

After performing a search from the search window, the results are displayed in page order, regrouped under the name of each searched document. Each item in the list includes a context word (if applicable) and an icon indicating the type of occurrence.

  • Jump to a specific instance in search results. It can only be done in individual PDFs.

– Expand the search results, if necessary. Then select an instance in the results to view it in a PDF.

– To see other instances, click on another instance of the results.

  • Sort instances in search results. Choose the menu option Order by at the bottom of the search window. You can sort the results by relevance, date modified, file name, or location.
  • Save search results. You can save your search results as a PDF or CSV file. A CSV file is made up of a table, so to open it you have to do it with an Excel program. To finish, click on the icon diskette and choose to save the results as a PDF or save the results as a CSV.

I hope this information has been useful to you, as you can see, finding words in a PDF is a very simple task.

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