About searching

Only PDF files with a text layer can be searched. In image-only PDF files, only comments can be searched. Use the Make PDF Searchable tool in the Home tab to permit full text searches in documents with image-only pages or parts.

For simple searches in the current PDF only, use the Search Current dialog box. For more complex searches, use the Search dialog box to search multiple files, narrow the search by adding criteria, or use advanced search techniques.

Search icon Begin a search from the Home tab. The program offers several ways to perform full text searches on PDF files:

  • Search a single word or phrase

  • Search multiple words or phrases

  • Search by predefined patterns

  • Search by custom written patterns (arbitrary masks)

See: Search dialog box and Search by patterns and masks.

Search scope

You can also refine the scope of the search:

  • Current document, or only the comments in the document (by calling the search from the Comments panel).

  • Selected documents within a PDF package or a PDF portfolio.

  • An entire PDF package.

  • A specified folder (called folder search).

    A folder search lets you search one folder (with or without subfolders) or limit the search according to values in standard fields (such as author, title, subject, keywords) of the PDF Properties. See About search options.

  • Search with the currently selected indexes.

  • Search with another index.

    An index search supports greater speed because it uses a pre-built index. It also gives more flexibility; letting you expand the search by defining a set of search folders and subfolders and letting you narrow the search, using not only standard PDF Property fields, but also custom defined fields with values you define.

For any of the above, specify commonly used search criteria such as Match Case or Match whole word only. In addition, specify whether to include comments and bookmarks.

Logical Operators

When performing searches in multiple documents, enter the following logical operators to refine your search:

  • And: &
  • Or: |
  • Not: ~.
  • Parentheses: ( and )

Use parentheses to define the order in which Boolean operators are performed. For more information, and diagrams showing the effects of these operators see Searching with Boolean Operators.

Searching for redaction or markup

Searching can be combined with other program functions, as follows:

Search and Redact icon Search and Redact: Found items are marked for redaction, as described in Searching and Redacting Text. Select this option from the Power PDF Advanced Security tab.

Search and Markup icon Search and Markup: Found items are highlighted, struck out or underlined, according to your selection. Select this option from the list on the Text Markup Tool on the Comment tab.

Scan and Markup icon Scan and Markup: Found items are highlighted, struck out, underlined or marked for redaction, according to your selection. Searching for multiple strings is not supported. Select this option in the list for the From Scanner tool on the Home tab; see Create PDF Files from a Scanner.