I have a few dozen PDFs, each of which are very large. Specifically:

  • These PDFs total to about 15GB.
  • These PDFs are primarily scanned images of textual documents, but they do contain the text data (so no need for OCR).
  • I can extract the text with pdftotext for separate viewing. In fact, I'm currently doing so.

I need software that can do the following:

  • Lets you search the contents of multiple PDFs or text files (either, not necessarily both) for a particular string. Ideally, fuzzy and regex search would be available.
  • Has a GUI. It's okay if I need to preprocess data with a command-line utility, but I'm posting this on behalf of someone without those skills.
  • Runs on Windows and macOS. Either a single multiplatform program or two OS-specific programs will work. Linux support would be nice too, so I can evaluate it myself, but is not required.
  • Doesn't choke on literally hundreds of thousands of pages.
  • There is no need to modify these documents, just to search them.

1 Answer 1


Have you tried the "Full Reader Search" feature in Adobe Acrobat Reader DC? This feature lets you search all of the PDFs in a folder. It's accessible in Edit>Advanced Search (Shift-Control-F on Windows). It also has a variety of options that would allow for a "fuzzy" search, but I do not think regex is available as part of this feature.

Adobe Acrobat Reader DC is available for Windows and macOS. An older version, Adobe Reader 9.5.5, is available for Linux by following these instructions. It may also be possible to run Adobe Acrobat Reader DC via Wine on Linux.

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