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

When a number of documents pile up on our computers, it is hard to find exactly what we are looking for. If we forget or are not sure about a specific document name, the only solution is to search inside the document’s content to find the 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 file searching. 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, Open Office, PDF, HTML, and many other formats.

We are going to present to you the most popular tools for searching your document’s content. All of these tools are free but some of them have paid versions as well.

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) File Seek

What is interesting about this tool is that you can sync your search profile and settings on multiple computers. Search Profile is a personalized place for you. File Seek has an advanced query language that enables searching for specific information through the files. Additionally, you can predefine the actions and decide what you will do with the file you are searching for.

3) Listary

This lightweight program is not just a file finder, but an app launcher, web search, and website launcher as well. It automatically lists files as you type, and search files through all drives. The Launch App feature gives you an option to open the application you are searching for with just two clicks of Ctrl key. Listary can also keep track of your history of file search which can save you additional time when you want to search for the same file again.

4) Looken

It doesn’t matter if you cannot remember the name of the file. With Looken you can search for files easily and never again lose time to search for a file by yourself. You can even edit your text files with the preview window and use filter options to speed up file searches. 

5) Everything

If you look for a desktop application that has a very simple interface, Everything is the one. Not only does Everything have a simple interface, but it also doesn’t use much memory on your computer. It builds its own database of files by indexing files and folder names. Every time you make changes to a file, the app will update its database before it starts the file search.

6) MultiFind 

Unlike Everything, MultiFind doesn’t have such a simple user interface but it has a lot of features. MultiFind displays different tabs for separate categories of files: found files, skipped files, errors. To search for a file you can type the file name, a Unicode string, file size or date of creation, a text string, binary data or a regular expression. You can also select the file formats you want to exclude from the file search. 

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.