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How to Search for Keywords in a PDF Document Easily: Full Guide

How to search for keywords in a PDF? Perfect guidelines on how to search words in PDF, document or a scanned PDF file with a web browser or a PDF reader.

Due to its security and integrity, the PDF format has become the standard for sharing and viewing information in many industries. In most cases, these PDF files are lengthy and therefore it can be challenging to find specific words or phrases in them without the proper skills and tools.  How to search for keywords in a PDF quicly and easily?

How to Search Words in PDF

This article will show you the procedure of how to search a PDF with a PDF reader or a web browser, helping you improve work efficiency by finding wanted texts or figures quickly.

How to search words in PDF? iTop PDF is a robust PDF reader and editor that help you view, create and manage PDF files easily in Windows 11/10/8/7. It has a reliable search tool that lets you find words, numbers, phrases, or sentences in PDF documents quickly. 

How to Search a PDF for a Word with iTop PDF: 

To see how to search keywords in PDF with iTop PDF, follow the steps below.

Step 1: Download iTop PDF and install it on your Windows device. 

Step 2: Click "+Add File" and select the PDF file from your PC in which you want to look for exact words. 

How to Find Keywords in a PDF with iTop PDF Reader

Step 3: Under the "View" tab, click the "Search" tool and the search box will appear on the right side. 

How to Search a PDF for a Word

Step 4: Type in the word in the search box and all found matched results will be highlighted. Unlike the ordinary search, iTop PDF display all fragments of text containing your searched words.

Also Read: How to Edit a PDF With & Without Word >>

How to Search Within a PDF Using the Advanced Search: 

iTop PDF offers two advanced settings for users to find and navigate wanted content more quickly. Tick the box next to the advanced search to make your search result more specific and accurate. Follw the settings on how to search for keywords in a PDF now: 

Case sensitive: this feature distinguishes the word with capital letters from the word with lowercase letters. 

Case Sensitive

Match whole word: this feature lets the search match entire words themselves instead of partial words.

Search PDF for Words - Match Whole Word

What else you can do with iTop PDF editor:

  1. Edit, annotate, highlight, and move objects in a PDF 

  2. Convert files to or from PDF 

  3. Create, combine, split, add, delete, extract, and rearrange PDF pages

  4. Compress PDFs to reduce file size without losing the quality

  5. Password-protect PDF documents for private and confidential use

Besides above, how to look for keywords on a PDF on Web? Most modern web browsers have search functions enabled and support opening and reading files in PDF format. The steps of how to search a PDF is pretty standard for each web browser, be it Google Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Internet Explorer, Opera, or UC. 

How to search words in PDF using a browser:

Step 1: Right-click on the PDF file, select "Open with" in the menu, and click Safari or any web browser installed on your computer.

How to Open a PDF with a Web Browser

Step 2: Press Ctrl + F in Windows or Command + F in macOS to launch the search feature within a browser. 

Step 3: Type the text you want to want to search in the search box and press Enter. 

How to Search  Within PDF with Safari

Step 4: Use the arrows next to the search box to browse through the PDF file to find all highlighted searched words.

Depending on which web browser you are using, you may find different settings you can apply to make your search case-sensitive, start with, contains, exact match, etc. 

The disadvantages of using this method to search for a word in a PDF are obvious. A large PDF is slow to load in the browser and hence the search features become laggy. Moreover, PDF files are read-only in a web browser but are not editable. You can't make any changes to the content after you find the wanted texts. 

Also Read: How to Convert PDF to Word on Windows 10/11 [Free Ways] >>

A scanned PDF is actually an image which means the content is placed as an image within the PDF. Therefore, you need to convert the PDF to an editable format like Word, PPT, Text, or Excel to search for it. You can use a professional PDF solution or a free online PDF tool.

How to Search Within a Scanned PDF Using iTop PDF

iTop PDF is a comprehensive PDF solution for freely managing PDF documents. It is featured with a full-fledged PDF converter that can convert Word, Image, PDA, Excel, Text, PPT, and other files to or from PDF. 

How to search word in PDF exactly:

Here are the steps on how to search keywords on PDF scanned files with iTop PDF:

Step 1: In the Quick Access panel select "Convert PDF to Word". Or you can go to the "Convert" tab and select "To Word" to open the iTop PDF Converter. 

Step 2: Click "+Add files" to select the scanned document from your computer.

Step 3: Click the "Convert to Word" button at the bottom to start converting the PDF to an editable word document for searching or modifying. 

Convert PDF to Word for Search

Step 4: Click "Open" underneath "Operation" to open the converted document.

Step 5: Press Ctrl + F to open the search function and type in any keywords you are looking for. 

How to Find Text in a Scanned PDF File Using an Online PDF Tool

If you don't want to install any application on your computer and just look for an alternative for occasional use, you can convert the scanned PDF file to searchable text with a free online tool with OCR feature. 

Free online PDF tools usually offer limited PDF management features. For example, PDF Candy, a popular free online PDF editor, only allows you to execute one task per hour.  

How to search words in PDF with a free online PDF converter:

Step 1: Go to the PDF Candy website.

Step 2: Click the "+ Add File(s)" button or click the arrow to upload PDF files from Dropbox or Google Drive. 

Search PDF with Online PDF Editor

Step 3: Click "To DOC" or "To DocX" to convert the PDF document to a word document.

Convert Scanned PDF to Word for Search

Step 4: Click " Download file" or click the arrow to upload the converted PDF to Dropbox or Google Drive after the conversion process is complete. 

Step 5: Open the word document and press Ctrl + F to search for words in it.


Hopefully, the methods in this article will solve your "how to search a PDF" problem. If you are simply looking for some words in a PDF document, opening the PDF with a web browser and searching with the built-in search feature will be the easiest way. If you want to manipulate PDF files with more functionality and flexibility, a professional PDF reader and editor like iTop PDF should be a better alternative. Download it on your PC today and become more efficient and productive!

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