How to search inside a PDF with Adobe Acrobat Reader

To search in a PDF document using Adobe Acrobat Reader, you have two options, one simple, and one advanced.

Simple search in Adobe Acrobat Reader

To perform a simple search, press the CTRL + F keys. You will see this in the upper right corner of the screen:

Adobe Acrobat Reader’s search boxAdobe Acrobat Reader’s search box

Type in the term you wish to search for and it will be highlighted in the document if it contains it:

Highlighted search resultsHighlighted search results

By using the buttons on the menu, you can navigate back and forth in the results, and even replace words using the Adobe Acrobat Reader's editing function. Keep in mind that the PDF editing option is only available in the paid version of the software.

Advanced search in Adobe Acrobat Reader

To perform an advanced search, press the SHIFT + CTRL + F keys. You will see the following window on the left side of the screen:

Adobe Acrobat Reader’s advanced searchAdobe Acrobat Reader’s advanced search

As you can see, the search filters here are much more detailed. You can search by:

  • Only full words.
  • Make the search case sensitive
  • Include bookmarks you have left in the document.
  • Include comments that the editors may have made.
  • Choose whether you want to search for the word in the current document or in all PDF documents on your computer.

The search is performed by typing in the text field, exactly as in the case of the simple search, but in the advanced search, the results are listed in the search window:

Advanced search resultsAdvanced search results

There are no buttons here to navigate back and forth, but you can manually click on the results to see where they take you to in the document.