Using the Find Toolbar

In order to use the Find toolbar, you must have a document open in the Document pane. If you have more than one document open, you can search only the active document appearing in the foreground. Finding words in an open document can be handled in the Find toolbar.

If the toolbar is not loaded in the Toolbar Well, select Edit >> Find or press Ctrl+F. The toolbar then opens as a floating toolbar. Type a word in the field box in the Find toolbar and press the Enter/Return key. Acrobat searches the current active document and highlights the first occurrence of the found word. When a word is found, the Previous and Next buttons in the toolbar become active.

Click the Next button in the toolbar, and Acrobat searches for the next occurrence and stops on the page where the word is highlighted again. Clicking Previous takes you to the last found word in the open document (if you click the button after the first search).

When you click Next, and then click the Previous button, the search takes you to the previous found word. For example, if you search for a word in a 100-page document and the word appears on pages 5, 6, and 99, the first time you execute the Find, you stop at page 5. Clicking the Previous button takes you to page 99.

However, if you click Next while on page 5, the next found word appears on page 6. Clicking Previous on page 6 takes you back to page 5. The Find toolbar also includes a pull-down menu, containing several menu commands to assist you in narrowing your search.


Click the down-pointing arrow to see the following menu commands:

  • Find Next in Current PDF. The menu command finds the next occurrence of the found word just as it does when clicking the Find Next tool.
  • Open Full Acrobat Search. Opens the Search window. This command performs the same function as clicking the Search tool or pressing the Ctrl+Shift+F keys.
  • Whole words only. Returns words that match whole words only. For example, if you search for a word like “cat,” this command avoids returning words such as catalog, catastrophe, category, and so on.
  • Case-Sensitive. Finds words that match the letter case of the word typed in the Find toolbar.
  • Include Bookmarks. Finds words in Bookmark descriptions.
  • Include Comments. Finds words in comment notes.

You can choose one or any combination of the first four options to perform your search. For example, you can select Whole words only, Case-Sensitive, Include Bookmarks, and Include Comments, and Acrobat returns the first occurrence of only whole words matching the letter case in the search criteria whether it be in a Bookmark, comment note, or on a document page.

Using the Find toolbar also makes active two other menu commands. After invoking a find, the Next Result and Previous Result commands appear active in the Edit >> Search Results submenu. These commands are the same as using the buttons in the Find toolbar.

They also are accompanied by keyboard shortcuts (Ctrl+G for Next Result and Ctrl+Shift+G for Previous Result. Note that the other two options in the submenu (Next Document and Previous Document) are grayed out when you use the Find toolbar. These commands are active only when you use the Search window.