Best Free Software for Searching through Multiple Word, Excel, PDF and Other Textual Files

When a number of documents pile up on our computer, it is hard to find exactly what we are looking for. If we forgot or are not sure about a specific document name, the only solution is to search inside the document’s content to find exact information about what we need. This isn’t easy, since Windows doesn’t allow searching inside documents. However, there are multiple free tools that can help us with that. These computer programs allow searching for a specific text string inside all documents on a computer, regardless of their format. They can be in any Microsoft Office, OpenOfffice, PDF, HTML and many other formats.

We are going to present to you the most popular tools for searching your document’s content.

1) AgentRansack

Agent Ransack has been popularly called Google for your computer, because it can search through basically anything.

search inside word pdf excel powerpoint files

It can search for file names, file content, size and much more. We suggest that you specify an exact folder where your files are located to make the search process quicker. Otherwise, it can be long, depending on the number of files you need to search through. Regular expressions are also there to help you search better.

2) DocFetcher

DocFetcher is an open source software. It works with all types of document formats such as xls, doc, docx, txt, xlsx, odp, odt, rtf and many more.


You can select which format you want to search, which can save you time significantly. Using this freeware is a little different, because you need to create a search index first. Simply select the folder for search, index it, and proceed with searching for documents. The tool displays search results instantly, but always make sure your index is up to date. This tool is pretty handy for research and similar.

3) FileSearchy

FileSearchy is useful because it integrates into context menu (something similar to our desktop app). Right-click on the folder, choose FileSearchy, and when the software opens, specify the keywords you want to search for within all documents in that specific folder.

search with file searchy

This tool is smooth, fast, and what’s most important, accurate. You can use it for free but only for personal use (download the free edition).

Lastly, if you are dealing only with PDF documents, you can use PDF search functionality built inside Adobe Reader. We already wrote about it in our previous article, so make sure to check it out.