So, I am looking for a GUI_based text search app for Windows (or cross platform).

  • can search an entire directory tree (or just the current directory)
  • file name mask, with wild cards (? and *); regex not necessary
  • show "several" lines around the match in a preview pane; preferably where I can define "several"
  • MUST allow me to search for multiple strings, and allow me to say whether they should appear anywhere in the file, or on the same line

anything is a bonus and welcome, but not necessary (e.g search PDF, MS Word, files in archives, etc)

  • 1
    Did you think about the grep program?
    – albert
    Apr 9, 2021 at 10:35
  • D'oh! I Will update the question to say that I Want a GUI, sorry. But, I don't think that GREP (Easily) handles other than ASCII. I can't imagine it being easy to use on MS Word, PDF, etc Apr 9, 2021 at 21:00
  • Indeed grep has no GUI. The requirement of on the same line is easy (just .* or something more sophisticated between the terms) also searching for multiple patterns is easy with an option or egrep / fgrep.
    – albert
    Apr 10, 2021 at 8:16
  • The more that I think about it, the more I realize that I am probably asking for a"visual regex builder", with buttons labelled "any char", ""any string" "optional" "new line", "number", etc, for those who can't, or won't memorize regex tokens (e.g infrequent users". Reckon I should open anew question (and/or code my own)? Apr 10, 2021 at 11:49
  • 1
    I assume you did a bit of searching for e.g. "regex finder GUI", but maybe stackoverflow.com/questions/5671409/regular-expression-gui/… has some clues too.
    – albert
    Apr 10, 2021 at 12:48

1 Answer 1


I can recommend FileLocator Lite/Pro, it belongs to my set of indispensable tools. While I don't use it the same way as you would, with strings on several lines, this should be possible if you are experienced with the RegEx syntax.

  • The free (gratis) version does not show "several" lines around the match in a preview pane Apr 9, 2021 at 17:26

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