Saving search results in Acrobat X or XI

Learn how to use Advanced search features, like saving your search results to another PDF or CSV file.

By Lori Kassuba – October 10, 2010


In this tutorial, learn how to use Advanced search features, like saving your search results to another PDF or CSV file, in Acrobat X or XI.

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Saving search results in Acrobat X or XI

Lori Kassuba – October 10, 2010

Adobe Acrobat and Adobe Reader have always had a rich history of complex word and phrase searching.

Acrobat X takes searching just one step further by allowing you to save your search results.In this tutorial, we'll explain how to save your search results to another PDF or CSV file.

The ability to save your search results is part of Acrobat Std and Pro., but is not available when using the free Adobe Reader.I'll begin by opening the Search Window under the Edit menu and selecting Advanced Search.

You can also use the keyboard shortcuts Shift + Ctrl + F on Windows or Shift + CMD + F on the Macintosh.

This will bring up an independent dialog box that can be moved anywhere on your screen for ease of use.

The Search dialog menu allows you to search within the currently open document, or within all documents within a given folder or network drive.

You can run a simple search, looking for a word in a single file, or you can run a more complex search, looking for various kinds of data in one or more PDFs.

Acrobat will search not only the PDF text, but the layers, form fields, and digital signatures.

You can also include bookmarks and comments in the search.

For searches that are run across multiple PDFs, Acrobat also looks at the document properties and XMP data, which can be found under File>Properties.

The Show More Options at the bottom of the Search dialog allows you to perform case sensitive, proximity, and stemming searches; such as all instances of the word run, runs, or running.

It also allows you to perform word searches within any PDF attachments that may be included within your file.For this particular example, I'm putting together conference information and the registration dates have changed.

So, I need to know every instance of where the word 'registration' has been used on my folder of conference documents.

I'll begin by selecting my folder of conference documents from the 'Look In:' pulldown menu.I'll go ahead and type the word 'registration', and select Search.The search results will appear in the Search dialog with a link to each word or file if you've searched across multiple PDFs.

Each item listed includes a few words of the context and an icon that indicates what type of file the occurrence appeared in.Notice that the search results also include Word or HTML files, if those files were part of a PDF Portfolio.To enable these Microsoft and AutoCAD file searches, the appropriate iFilters must be installed on your system.

At this point, I can refine my search further, or I can save the search results to another PDF or CSV (which is a Comma Separated Value) file, which can be opened in MS Excel.

To do this, simply click on the Save icon next to the 'New Search' button.I'm going to save these search results in another PDF, so I can see exactly where the word 'registration' is used throughout my entire folder of documents.The resulting PDF is a detailed summary of information.

It contains bookmarks for navigation to a summary of where the word registration has been used.

It details the filename (which is actually a hyperlink to the actual file), and it contains metadata such as Title, Subject, Author, and any relevant keywords.

It also lists the exact page where the word is used.This file can now be used to track down every instance of where the word 'registration' has been used so I can update all my conference documentation.There are also a few preferences related to searching that you can set in Acrobat.

You can find these under Edit > Preferences > Search category.

You can set preferences for such things as always turning on the Show More Options in the Advanced Search dialog and showing the document title in the Search result.The ability to Save search results in Acrobat X expands on the product's robust search capability.From the information within the resulting PDF or CSV file, you can now easily locate information in individual files or on multiple files across your computer system.

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Products covered:

Acrobat XIAcrobat X

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Edit PDFs

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1 comment

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5, 2012-08-20 20, 2012

Can this be done on the command line as well?

Hi - I would suggest you post your question to the Acrobat SDK forum at:


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