Friday, November 22, 2013

How to search on multiple PDF files at the same time

There is a customer of ours that always sends multiple PDF files for reference, together with .itd files to translate.

Since the PDFs illustrate the mechanical maintenance procedures described in the translation files, being able to search the PDFs to find the correct illustrations is essential. Searching each of them separately would be time consuming (and tedious). Fortunately, there is an easy way to search numerous PDFs all at the same time. Using Foxit Reader (an excellent free tool, much superior to the bloated Adobe Reader), just hit Ctrl+Shift+F to open the search pane,

Foxit Reader Search Pane

select the All PDF documents in radio button, browse for the folder where you have saved your reference PDFs, select the appropriate checkboxes, and hit Enter.

Foxit Reader will display all the files (and location in the files) where your search terms are to be found.
Foxit Reader Search Results


  1. Another option is to use something like Copernic or, even better, LiveDocs in MemoQ

    1. Yes, those are useful other options, but I find that desktop search tools such as Copernic tend to slow down the computer, with their indexing

    2. No, LiveDocs is actually not a great option in this case at present. If Riccardo wants to look for drawings, etc. in the PDF then he needs to see the layout context, not some dodgy text extraction. You can store PDFs as binary files in LiveDocs and open them in a reader, but these binaries are not indexed and searchable. This is an enhancement that would be very nice to have if Kilgray is inclined to take on the challenge.

  2. My weapon of choice in such scenarios is the equally free and very powerful PDF X-Change Viewer ( which even includes OCR in case your client sends you non-searchable pdfs.

  3. There're lotsa apps for this: Evernote, Onenote, Google Docs, Adobe Reader... etc..

  4. Thanks. I didn't know about this before.

  5. I had a great experience while using the PDF X-Change tool. It has lots of features for a free PDF viewer: Loads fast, opens files in multiple tabs, remembers where you were last time you opened a file, and much more!

  6. Good advice, worth checking :)

    Karolina Karczmarek-Giel
    Office Assistant


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