Text files are a basic file type; a TXT file can be opened easily on Windows, macOS, and Linux with a terminal app, or a basic text editor. Because of this, you will be able to search the content of text files from inside Windows 10 without needing any third-party tools.
Most files can be searched but you have to open them first. If you need to search multiple files, it can get tedious. On Windows 10, if you have Microsoft 365 apps installed, you can search text in Word documents but that’s about it.
Search text in multiple Office files
Text is written in all sorts of files. It isn’t limited to just DOCX files. Spreadsheets and presentations contain plenty of text and often, users need to search for a file by a certain word or phrase that it contains.
To search text in multiple office files, follow these steps.
- Download and run Office Search. The app does not need to be installed.
- Enter text in the ‘What to search’ field. You can enter multiple words by separating them with a semicolon (;).
- Select a folder in the Where field.
- If the folder has sub-folders, and you’d like to include sub-folders in the search, enable the ‘Include subfolders’ option.
- If you want to search a particular file type e.g. XLSX or PPTX or DOCX, you can enter the file extension in the File Pattern field.
- Finally, if you’ve entered multiple search words, select either ‘Any word’, ‘All Words’, or ‘Match Case’ option.
- Click Search.
- The search results will list every single file in the folder. For files that have matching words, you will see ‘Found’ in the Status column.
- Double-click a file in the search results to open it.
Supported file types
While we say you can use Office Search for Microsoft’s files i.e., DOCX, PPTX, XLSX, it also works with Libre Office files and you can search through them in much the same way.
Image files are easy to search because they can show a thumbnail. Other file types such as documents, spreadsheets, and presentations do not have thumbnails that will give away what is in the file. More importantly, these files aren’t the type that can be judged for their contents with just a single thumbnail. Text search is crucial for these files. If you save a file, and later forget what it was called, its contents are the best way to find it again.