How To Search The Text In Multiple PDF Files Without Opening Them

PDF files are the standard format used to publish documents online. You’ll find documents like annual reports, user manuals, research papers, academic studies, and even forms are distributed in in this format. If you often find yourself with a large number of PDF files and can’t remember which one had a specific topic then you likely have to open each one and use the ‘find in’ function to look for it. If the files are one too many to browse, you will need a faster way to do it preferably one that doesn’t require opening every single file. The solution lies with Foxit Reader. It’s an incredibly popular PDF reader that lets you select a folder and scan every single PDF file inside it for a particular word or phrase. What’s even better is that it supports nested folder search.

Install Foxit Reader and look for the search bar at the top right. There’s a little icon next to the search bar with a folder and magnifying glass on it. Click it to open the Search side panel. Click inside the second dropdown which will likely have the My Documents folder pre-selected. Browse for and select the folder of PDFs you want to search through. Enter a search phrase and click the ‘Search’ button.

foxit-select folder

The results will all be hyperlinked so that you can click and open the file that has the searched for phrase, and jump straight to the page where it appears on.


For anyone doing academic research, or any kind of research this is possibly the best way to skim through large PDF documents and find exactly what you need. It makes everything from looking up information and adding a reference incredibly easy. Needless to say the text inside a document must be searchable. If it’s an image then Foxit Reader, or any other PDF reader for that matter, can’t help you.

Install Foxit Reader