How to search for a word or phrase in a PDF file

Everyone happens to use, especially for work or study, PDF files, here's how we can quickly search for a phrase or word

Probably, along with JPEG and DOC is one of the most widely used and known file formats ever. Even if you turn on your PC for the first time, it is very likely that you have already heard of PDF files. This type of document, practically universal and accessible from any device, is widely used in both educational and professional environments because it makes text and image files "unchangeable".

But how do you search for a word or phrase in a PDF file? It depends on the program you use and the operating system you use. Of course, it's not a complex operation, but the variety of options available could also create some confusion in users looking for a word or phrase in a PDF file. Here is a clear explanation on how to do it.

Find a phrase in a PDF document from browser

Whether you use Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Apple Safari, Mozilla Firefox or even Internet Explorer, searching for a word in a PDF document opened with the browser is really a very simple operation. If we own a Windows 10 PC we press the command for the quick search, that is Control+F, while on Mac the same action is achieved with Command+F. This will open a search box in the upper right corner where we can write the phrase or word we want the computer to search in the PDF file. The interface of this small search box will depend on the browser we use, on Google Chrome, for example, in addition to the bar where we enter the text we find two buttons (up and down) to find the next or previous match of the phrase or word searched and also a X button that serves to close the search window. Similar interface on Microsoft Edge where in addition to the up and down keys we also find the Options button, useful to match new words or to distinguish uppercase from lowercase. Similar graphics also on Safari only that instead of the X to close the bar we find the writing End. On Mozilla Firefox we find an additional function, called Highlighter, which allows us to highlight the phrases we are looking for.

How to search for a phrase in a PDF with Adobe Reader

If on our PC with Windows 10 we want to work, add or edit a PDF file, the most recommended application to carry out these operations without problems is Adobe Reader. This program both in free and paid version with additional functions, has several tools to put a signature, edit part of a PDF, add comments and also to search for certain phrases or words of our interest. Also with this application to search quickly just press Control+F (Windows 10) or Command+F (MacOS) to open the search box. On Adobe you'll also find an index of all phrases or words found in the file so you can manage them as you wish or in order of appearance in the document.

How to search for a word or phrase in a PDF with the Preview app on Mac

If you double-click on a PDF document on a Mac it will be opened automatically in the Preview application. On this program, the search bar in the top right corner is always present, and all we have to do is type in it to search for a word or part of text. Just as in Firefox, in addition to the classic case-sensitive or forward and backward functions, Preview also has a quick command to underline, in green, the words that interest us in the PDF document.