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How to Search Multiple PDF Files at Once

2020-05-27 17:09:35 • Filed to: How-Tos • Proven solutions

There is an assortment of reasons why we search for words or phrases in a PDF document. More often we search for single documents and that is plain sailing. How about if you search multiple PDFs? Yes, this may prove quite daunting. In this article, we will give you a step by step guide on how to search across multiple PDF files with ease and speed.

Method One: How to Search Multiple PDF Files with PDFelement

Being a top-notch PDF solution, PDFelement allows users to search target words and phrases from multiple PDF files with ease. To make the process seamless, it is important that you combine the multiple PDF files into a single file. Once the files are combined, you can effortlessly search for the words and phrases without switching between files.

Step 1. Combine Multiple PDF Files into One

Click the "Combine PDF" tab at the bottom right of the main interface. Now hit the "Select File" link on the subsequent window to open the inventory for you to choose the multiple target files.

To select multiple files, hold on to the Ctrl button while you select the files of interest. When you are fully satisfied with your selection, click "Open" then hit "Browse" to choose the save location and a suitable name for the combined file. Now click "Next" to commence the process of combining your multiple files. If you now open the file, everything is combined on a single PDF and you are good to go.

search multiple pdf files

Step 2. Search Multiple PDFs for Words or Phrase

The combined PDF file will automatically open on the main interface. To search multiple PDFs for words or phrases, simply hit the "Search" icon. You should see a search bar on the left pane. Check the "Match Whole Word" or "Mach Case" boxes depending on your need.

To start the search, enter the word or phrase you want to find in the PDF within the "Search box". Press enter or click the search icon beside the phrase or word. The program will search and display the matched words or phrases on the left pane. Scroll through to find the exact location of the searched item. The program will highlight the matching of the document itself as well.

search multiple pdfs

Alternatively, when the combined PDF file is open, press "Ctrl + F" to open the Find bar. Enter the phrase or word within the find box and press "Enter". The program will highlight the matched words on the document. Use the "Next" and "Previous" buttons to navigate into the desired word or phrase. You can click the "Replace with" option to replace the target words with another word or phrase.

how to search multiple pdf files


Method Two: How to Search Multiple PDF Files with Adobe Acrobat

The Search window allows users to search multiple PDF files at once either in a specific location or simply in the open PDF portfolio. With multiple PDFs, there is no "Replace with" option. In case the PDF document in question is encrypted then multiple file search won't function. In such a case, you need to open individual files and search them one by one. However, PDF files encrypted as "Adobe Digital Editions" allows you to search multiple PDF files at once.

Step 1. Launch Adobe Acrobat on your computer.

Step 2. The program offers two search options. When the main window is displayed, navigate to the "Find" toolbar and enter the search text. From the pop-up window, select the "Open Full Acrobat Search" option. Alternatively, you can type the target text on the "Search" window.

how to search across multiple pdf files

Step 3. Now the Search window is displayed. Click the "All PDF Documents In" and choose the "Browse for Location" from the subsequent dialogue box.

search multiple pdf files at once

Step 4. Choose a suitable save location either on your local PC or on a convenient network location. Click "OK" if you are satisfied with the chosen location.

search multiple pdf files

Step 5. You can now customize your search criteria by choosing the desired options. Simply click the "Show Advanced Options" and specify your search criteria.

Step 6. Finally hit "Search" to trigger the search process. You can check the already found results and if the occurrence is what you were searching then you can halt the process by clicking the "Stop" button. Halting the process won't delete the result list nor close the search window.

search multiple pdfs

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Audrey Goodwin

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