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How do I find a word or a phrase in a PDF document?

  • Knowledge Base Article: KB343
  • Created On: Oct 3, 2011 03:44 PM
  • Last Modified: : Sep 22, 2015 07:22 AM
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 I need to find a word or a phrase in a PDF document.



In the Editor
In the PDF-XChange Editor, you can simply use Ctrl+ F. This will bring up a search dialog where you can type the phrase, word, or character to search.

As you can see bellow, I have typed "Zombies are" into the Field provided and the editor has highlighted all instances of that phrase within this document.

*Take note of what happens when I type "Zombies are a" into the search field,*

This is because the Editor is designed to locate each instance of a letter, if asked to do so. This behaviour can be changed by clicking one of the two drop-down arrows (see below).


The search function has six buttons on it:

  1. The first (a red 'X') clears the search field:

  2. The second is a downward facing arrow which brings up a list previous searches and an option to clear all previous searches.

  3. The third brings up a list of setting options: 

  4. Theses are forward and back arrows. They allow you to jump to the next, or previous instance of your search result within the document.

  5. The last is a small gray 'X' that closes the search box. 


Find allows you to locate specific text within the currently selected PDF document.
When you select this entry, it activates the Find toolbar. If the toolbar is already active, it flashes it twice.

 The controls on this toolbar are:
1)    Search Function button. Activates the Search function.
2)    Enter Text field. Enter the text you wish to find.
3)    Previous Search Terms. Clicking this button drops a list of previous search terms.
4)    Find Previous. Clicking this finds the selected text just before the current cursor position.
5)    Find Next. Clicking this finds the selected text just after the current cursor position.
6)    Find Options.

 a)    Whole Words Only. Searches the whole words.
b)    Case-Sensitive. Searches for the words, whilst distinguishing between upper-case and lower-case letters.
c)    Include Pages Content. Searches the text through pages content.
d)    Include Bookmarks. Searches the text of any bookmarks, as viewed in the Bookmarks panel.
e)    Include Comments. Searches the text of any comments added to the PDF, as viewed in the Comments panel.
f)     Search. Starts searching.


It should be noted that PDF files created from solely Image based content (e.g. scanned to PDF) cannot be text searched, as there is no actual text within the PDF file; simply an image, even though the image may represent text. Such functionality requires OCR (optical character recognition) functionality which has been available since build 200 (Dec 2011)

KB#351: How do I OCR a document?



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