Home Tech 9 Best PDF Search Engines You Can Use Instead of Google

9 Best PDF Search Engines You Can Use Instead of Google

Are you looking for the best PDF search engines? If yes, you have stumbled upon the right webpage. This article will share a list of the best PDF search engines.

Printed books are long gone, and the world is shifting to digital technologies such as ebooks and PDFs. Now, you can find every single book, document, research paper, and more in a PDF or ebook.

There are many great reasons. PDFs and ebooks are better than printed ones for easy accessibility, cheaper cost, and more.

Since this article is not about why PDFs and ebooks are better than printed books, I will not dig into the rabbit hole, but to wrap it up, I will say that ebooks and PDFs have revolutionized how people consume books.

But finding the right PDF of any book, research paper, or document can be daunting, especially if you don’t know where to search for it. I see many people go to Google and search for the PDF by entering their name, such as XYZ PDF.

While this method sometimes works, especially when you are looking for a PDF that is quite popular and has been shared by multiple websites, it might not be able to help you find the right PDF all of the time.

If you also have difficulty finding the PDF you want, this article will be a lifesaver.

Here, we are covering some of the best PDF search engines that can easily help you find the PDFs you want. These PDF search engines are specifically designed to search PDFs.

So, here we go –

Best PDF Search Engines List – Our Top Pick👌

1. Internet Archive

Link – https://archive.org/details/texts/

Internet Archive is an American-based non-profit organization with the sole motto of providing free users access to all knowledge.

It is a free, publicly accessed digital library with a massive collection of digitized content, including website pages, software applications, games, videos, movies, music, and books.

Best PDF Search Engines

The library of the Internet Archive is quite extensive as it boasts over 8.1 million movies, videos, and TV shows, 702 billion web pages, 14.4 million audio files containing music, podcasts, and more, over 863K software and games, and over 64 million texts, ebooks and PDFs.

This makes the Internet Archive an excellent choice for finding anything you want.

Let’s mainly talk about the text material of the Internet Archive. It offers over 20 million downloadable text files and over 2.3 million modern ebooks, which can be borrowed under certain conditions with a free archive.org account.

The search function of the Internet Archive lets you search books, research papers, and more by their name, publisher, published year, language, and more.

Once you find the exact file you want to download, you can click on it, and there, you will see plenty of download options.

You can download these text files available in Internet Archive’s library in multiple formats, including PDF, XML, JSON, Kindle, and more.

Thanks to its built-in document viewer, you can see the PDF quality and content without downloading it. The Internet Archive can be an excellent PDF search engine for you.

2. Find-pdf-doc

Link – http://www.findpdfdoc.com/

Find-pdf-doc is one of the best free PDF search engines that you can use. It is great to find many PDF ebooks, papers, contracts, novels, and more from various areas, such as guides, research papers, schooling, banking, officially released documents and more.

It is an amazing search engine with a very simple and clean UI. The user interface looks quite similar to traditional search engines, but it also lets you add filters to search specific types of content, such as PDFs, Docs, PPTs, XLSs, AI, TXT, and more.

Best PDF Search Engines 1

Even though its name says Find PDF DOC, it is a great search engine for any file, such as MP3, videos, games, software, and more.

So, no matter what you want, you can give this PDF search engine a try.

Searching for files on Find-pdf-doc is extremely simple and easy. All you have to do is enter the keyword and hit the search button. Within a few seconds, this search engine will present you with a list of the files you asked for.

Find-pdf-doc uses Google Search Engine to extract search results, but the search results you find using this PDF search engine will be tailored.

It eliminates malicious content such as malware, scam, phishing pages, and more.

The only thing I didn’t like about Find-pdf-doc is that it is an ad-supported platform, meaning you have to deal with sometimes annoying advertisements.

3. PDF Search Engine

Link – http://www.pdfsearchengine.net/

Next, we have the PDF Search Engine on our list. It is another great PDF search engine tool that lets you find different types of PDF files very easily.

This search engine can find novels, ebooks, magazines, newspapers, and more.

This PDF search engine uses a tailored version of Google’s custom search engine to provide only the results containing PDF files.

9 Best PDF Search Engines You Can Use Instead of Google

You can get similar functionality on your own with Google Search Engine, but you have to learn how to modify Google for that. This search engine removes the need to do so.

This search engine has so far collected a database of over 512,727,964 PDF files and documents. The best thing about this search engine is that it only creates a database of freely available PDFs without restrictions. This is a great functionality.

It also allows users to upload their PDFs to help other users. Besides PDF, this search engine can also help you find related text files such as MS Word, PPT, ebooks, or regular TXT documents.

Overall, I would highly recommend you give it a try.

4. FreeFullPDF

Link – http://www.freefullpdf.com/#gsc.tab=0

FreeFullPDF is a great search engine for people who are involved in research or other scientific areas. That is because it helps you find a massive collection of scientific publications.

You can use this PDF search engine to find publications in life sciences, mathematics, health sciences, physics, social sciences, and humanities.

Best PDF Search Engines 3

This free PDF search engine aims to provide free and easy access to scientific journals, posters, patents, theses, and other scientific literature.

This search engine has been designed by KnowMade SARL, a leading technology intelligence company specializing in scientific and technical information research.

It has a database of over 80 million PDFs of scientific files, research papers, theses, and more. It further allows you to perform full-text searches such as titles, authors, abstracts, results, conclusions, etc.

One drawback of FreeFullPDF is that it uses all the words you type to show search results.

For example, if you use a word such as DNA sequencing for the sequencer, it will first show you the results of DNA sequencing only. It does comprehend misspellings which is a good thing.

However, you can use the OR operator to search for more than one word. For example, you can use DNA sequencing OR a sequencer, and it will show you the results of both types of combinations.

This is a drawback, but these terms play crucial roles in scientific documents.

You may like to read our guide on 13 Best Apps For Book Lovers That Every Reader Must Have.

5. Google Scholar

Link – https://scholar.google.com/

Google Scholar is a free search engine for finding and downloading academic data and literature.

It has a similar user interface and functionality to Google that we are quite familiar with, so we can consider it the academic version of Google.

9 Best PDF Search Engines You Can Use Instead of Google

However, one major difference between Google Search Engine and Google Scholar is that instead of searching for web pages, Google Scholar searches repositories of different publishers, scholarly websites, and universities to offer search results.

The benefit of Google Scholar’s simple UI is that it makes it easy and comforting for people already familiar with Google Search Engine.

It lowers the learning curve that most other PDF search engines have and makes it extremely easy to find PDFs and other documents online.

However, Google Scholar is mainly for scholarly PDFs. You cannot find other items such as newspapers, magazines, etc. Therefore, it will only be a good PDF search engine if you look for similar things.

Although Google Scholar is free to use, it has some drawbacks. For example, it doesn’t always provide freely available PDFs and other documents.

You may find content hidden behind the paywall or copies of restricted articles when using Google Scholar.

You may like to read our 15 Best Google Scholar Alternatives To Search For Scholarly Literature guide.

6. PDF-Downloads

Link – https://pdf-downloads.net/

Next, we have PDF-Downloads on our list. It is an amazing free PDF search engine that lets you search through a massive collection of millions of PDF files and allows you to download them on your device.

The collection of PDF files ranges in various categories, including tutorials, user manuals, scientific documents, free PDF books, ebooks, magazines, and more.

This PDF search engine makes it easy to find any PDF file you want.

The user interface of the PDF-Downloads search engine is quite simple, easy to use, and intuitive. Using it is like using any other search engine, as all you need to do is enter the name of the PDF in the search box and hit enter or click on the search button.

Once you do that, the search engine will start mining data and presenting it in a list form. Here, you can see all the different search results for your query.

You can click each option to see if they have the PDF file you want.

This search provides you with quite a lot of information about the PDF file, such as the creation date, author name, owner of the PDF, and more.

I think these data are sufficient to ensure you download the correct PDF.

Apart from that, PDF-Downloads offers some free additional tools that you can use. These tools include free PDF to Word, PDF to TXT, PDF to PNG, and PDF to JPEG converters.

Using these tools is also easy and quite effortless as you only have to upload the PDF file, and it will convert them into the file format that you want.

7. Science.gov

Link – https://www.science.gov/

If you are a science student who wants to find research papers, scientific data, and other information, Science.gov can be a great choice.

It is a platform managed by US government science authorities to provide people free access to research and development data and scientific and technical information.

9 Best PDF Search Engines You Can Use Instead of Google

Science.gov is in alliance with 13 agencies, including the United States Department of Agriculture, the United States Department of Forest Service, NASA, the National Science Foundation, the US National Library of Medicine, the Government Publishing Office, the USGS, the Environmental Protection Agency, and more.

Whenever you search for a query, it goes through 60 databases, over 2200 websites, and more than 200 million web pages to offer search results.

This PDF search engine not only provides you with PDF files but other types of documents as well, such as citations, multimedia, and more.

It is a perfect search engine for people who are highly involved in research areas. It provides free journal articles, thorough reports of research funded by US federal science agencies, peer-reviewed accepted manuscripts, and more.

On top of that, Science.gov also provides students the opportunity to get into programs for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) areas.

These are fully federally sponsored opportunities where you can get different types of aid, such as scholarships, graduate fellowships, research internships, and more.

8. PDFDrive


PDFDrive is an excellent PDF search engine owned and managed by a US-based firm, Asha Inc. It is a free-to-use PDF search engine that boasts a massive database of over 78 million PDF files.

Plus, its crawlers continuously crawl millions of web pages daily to add more and more PDF files to its database.

Best PDF Search Engines 6

It caters to PDF files from various categories, including academic & education, art, biography, business & careers, environment, lifestyle, personal growth, politics & law, technology, science & research, politics, religion, health & fitness, and more.

Books, research papers, documents, and more PDF files can be found. This PDF search engine regularly checks for the updated version of PDF files so that you will always have access to up-to-date PDF files.

This allows you to have different updated versions of the PDF files you are looking for.

This search engine boasts some fantastic features, such as advanced filtering, which allows you to filter your search results based on publication date, popularity, file size, and more.

It also offers you to preview files before downloading so that you wouldn’t download a file that is inappropriate for you.

It further offers an Android application that can be easily downloaded from Google Play Store. This Android application allows you to keep all your readings synchronized with the help of an active internet connection.

On top of that, its smart recommendation feature helps you find relevant books and PDFs that you might like to read. This recommendation feature uses your recent searches, interests, and read history to offer highly personalized books and PDFs.

9. Free-ebooks

Link – https://www.free-ebooks.net/

Lastly, we have Free-ebooks on our web search engines pdf list. As the name suggests, Free-ebooks is a free platform where you can find and download millions of ebooks.

It is mainly a book-sharing website, meaning you won’t find research papers, technical documents, and other similar stuff here.

Free-ebooks’ library contains books from a wide range of fiction and non-fiction categories such as drama, erotica, sci-fi, short stories, romance, and more, along with self-improvement, human rights, health, education, and other categories.

The main categories of Free-ebooks include Fiction, Non-Fiction, Academic, Textbooks, Classics, Fiction Audiobooks, Non-Fiction Audiobooks, and Children Audiobooks.

You can also find engineering, law, mathematics, science, business, and more books. Overall, it is an amazing platform for finding different types of books.

Free-ebooks requires a free account to download and read books. Whenever you click on any PDF that you like to read or download, it provides you with a lot of essential information about the file, such as the Author’s name, number of downloads, overall ratings, published date, and more.

You can also read a summarized book description and preview the book with the help of its built-in PDF reader.

It also allows users to drop their reviews in the comment section, which can help you understand what other ebook readers think about it. Since it is a free platform, I highly encourage you to try it.


What is the best PDF search engine? 

You may search for PDF files on the internet using a variety of PDF search engines.

Some popular options include:-

Google:- To search for PDF files on Google, type your search terms followed by “filetype:pdf” (without quotes). This will tell Google only to show the results that are PDF files.

PDF Search Engine:- You can search for PDF files online using the PDF Search Engine (https://www.pdfsearchengine.net/), a specialized search engine. You only need to type your search phrases into the search bar for the tool to provide a list of PDF files that match your criteria.

PDFGeni:- With the help of the PDF search engine PDFGeni (https://www.pdfgeni.com), you may look for and download PDF files for free online. To discover the papers you require, you can perform a keyword search for PDF files or browse through categories.

PDF Search:- Another PDF search engine is PDF Search (https://www.pdf-search.org/), which lets you look for and download PDF files online. To discover the papers you require, you can perform a keyword search for PDF files or browse through categories.

It is important to keep in mind that the finest PDF search engine will rely on your requirements and tastes. There may be more PDF files available on some search engines, while others may be simpler or offer more sophisticated search options.

It may be beneficial to test out a few different options to locate the PDF search engine that works best for you.

How can I search PDF files for free? 

There are several ways you can search for text within PDF files for free:-

Use a search engine:- To find PDF files online, you can use a search engine like Google or Bing.

Enter your search terms followed by “filetype:pdf” (without quotes) to search for PDF files specifically.

Use a PDF search tool:- You may search specifically for PDF files using several internet tools.

Some options include PDF Search Engine (https://www.pdfsearchengine.net/), PDFGeni (https://www.pdfgeni.com/), and PDF Search (https://www.pdf-search.org/).

Use a library website:- You may search for and download PDF files for free on the websites of many libraries. To use these materials, you might require a library card.

Use a government website:– The PDF format is widely used by government entities to distribute their documents.
Using a search engine or finding the website of a particular agency and searching for the document you require are two ways to look for PDF files on government websites.

Use a file-sharing website:- Several websites allow you to search for and download PDF files for free, such as 4shared (https://www.4shared.com/) and MediaFire (https://www.mediafire.com/).

Respect the conditions of use for each website, as some of the files on these websites may be prohibited or protected by copyright.

Why is my PDF not searchable? 

There are several reasons why you may not be able to search a PDF file:-

The PDF file is an image:- Some PDF files don’t contain a digital copy of the text; instead, they are just photos of the original document. Because it is not in a digital format that a machine can search in these situations, the text within the PDF file is not searchable.

The PDF file has not been indexed:- The text contained in a PDF file must be “indexed,” which entails converting it into a format that a computer can search for the file to be searchable. A PDF file’s text cannot be searched if it has not been indexed.

The PDF viewer does not have a search function:- A built-in search feature that enables you to look for particular words or phrases inside a PDF file is not available in all PDF viewers. The viewer won’t let you search the PDF file in these situations.

The PDF file is damaged or corrupt:– A corrupted or damaged PDF file could not be searchable. In certain circumstances, you might need to fix or restore the PDF file before you can search it.

Suppose you cannot search a PDF file and are unsure why it can be beneficial to try opening the file in another PDF viewer or searching the file in a different way (such as using a text editor or an online PDF search tool). This can assist you in locating the problem’s root cause and a remedy.

How do you know if a PDF is searchable? 

Using CTRL-F and the word in the Find box after opening the PDF, try looking for a word that is known to be in the document (ideally one that appears on numerous pages).

The document cannot be text-searched if the warning message below occurs. 

What is the difference between a PDF and a searchable PDF? 

If the PDF is not a scanned picture file, both are identical. A standard PDF file is typically searchable, while a scanned PDF is not. Suppose a PDF is a typical searchable PDF.

In that case, you can quickly search for any term in the PDF using the many PDF reader programs currently accessible, including Chrome Browser, Adobe Acrobat DC, Wondershare PDFelement, and Mac Preview software. 

What is OCR PDF? 

With the aid of an OCR technique, printed documents can be converted into digital image files. It is a digital copier that automates the conversion of scanned documents into editable and shareable PDF files. 

Can you search for words in a scanned PDF? 

It’s simple to identify, edit, and reuse the information from your old paper documents once you’ve used the Recognize Text tool to turn your scanned image into a useful PDF file.

You may choose and search through the text in that file using this feature. Enter the desired search term in the Find field after selecting the Find text tool. 

How can I search a PDF file?

There are several ways you can search a PDF file:-

Use the search function in your PDF viewer:- You can search for specific words or phrases within PDF files using the built-in search feature of most PDF viewers, including Adobe Acrobat Reader.

To use this feature, open the PDF file in your viewer and select “Search” or “Find” from the drop-down menu. When you do this, a search bar will appear for you to input your search criteria.

Use the “Find” function in your web browser:- If you are viewing a PDF file in your web browser, you can use the “Find” function to search for specific words or phrases.

To do this, press “Ctrl + F” (Windows) or “Command + F” (Mac) to bring up the “Find” function. Then, enter your search terms and press “Enter” to search for them within the PDF.

Use a text editor:- A text editor like Notepad (Windows) or TextEdit will allow you to search for and extract certain words or phrases from a PDF file (Mac).

To do this, open the PDF document in a text editor and use the “Find” feature to look for the text you want. Then, you can copy the text and paste it into another document.

Use an online PDF search tool:- You can use several online programs to search for particular words or phrases inside a PDF file.

Some options include PDF Search Engine (https://www.pdfsearchengine.net/), PDFGeni (https://www.pdfgeni.com/), and PDF Search (https://www.pdf-search.org/). These tools allow you to upload a PDF file and search for specific text.

Can you Google search a PDF?

Yes, you can use Google to search for PDF files on the internet. To do this, enter your search terms in the Google search bar and add “filetype:pdf” (without quotes) to your search query. This will tell Google only to show results that are PDF files.

For example, if you want to search for PDF files on the topic of “vegetable gardening,” you could enter the following search query: “vegetable gardening filetype:pdf” (without quotes).

Remember that only PDF files accessible to everyone online and have been indexed by the search engine will be displayed by Google. A PDF file won’t appear in search results if it is not publicly accessible or if Google has not indexed it.

You can also use Google to search for specific words or phrases within a PDF file.

To do this, enter your search terms in the Google search bar followed by “intext:” (without quotes) and the name of the PDF file you want to search.

For example, if you want to search for the word “vegetable” within a PDF file named “gardening-tips.pdf,” you could enter the following search query: “vegetable intext:gardening-tips.pdf” (without quotes). This will show you search results that include the word “vegetable” within the “gardening-tips.pdf” PDF file.

Can PDF files be searchable?

Yes, PDF files may be searched, allowing users to look for particular words or phrases in a PDF viewer or text editor.

A PDF file must have its text “indexed,” or transformed into a format that a computer can search for to be searchable.

There are several ways to create a searchable PDF file:-

Scanning a document:- You can scan a physical document using a scanner that contains optical character recognition (OCR) software if you wish to make it searchable. OCR software transforms the scanned text into a digital format so a computer can search through it.

Converting a document to PDF:– If you have a document in a word processor or text editor, you can convert it to a PDF file and make it searchable.

Most word processors and text editors can “Save As” or “Export” the document as a PDF. When you do this, you can choose to include the text as searchable or “selectable” text, which means that it can be searched and copied from the PDF.

Editing a PDF file:- A PDF editor can add searchable text to a PDF file if it currently has none. Some PDF editors, like Adobe Acrobat, feature OCR capabilities that let you import or scan a PDF file and make the text searchable.

You should be aware that not all PDF documents can be searched. Some PDF files may contain images of text or text that has been converted to an image, making them impossible for computers to search.

Searching for or selecting text within the PDF file is impossible in such circumstances.

How do I convert a PDF to a searchable PDF?

There are several ways to convert a PDF file to a searchable PDF:-

Using optical character recognition (OCR) software:- You can use OCR software to make the text in a PDF file that cannot be searched searchable if you have one.

OCR software transforms the text included in an image or scanned document into a digital format so that a computer can search through it.

You can convert a PDF to a searchable PDF using one of the many OCR software applications available for free and for a fee. Adobe Acrobat, ABBYY FineReader, and Tesseract are a few alternatives.

Using an online OCR service:- A PDF can be freely converted into a searchable PDF using several online OCR services.

These services let you upload a PDF file and have it made into an online searchable PDF. Online OCR (https://www.onlineocr.net/), Free OCR (https://www.free-ocr.com/), and OCR.space are a few possibilities.

Using a PDF editor:- A PDF editor, like Adobe Acrobat, can include searchable text in a PDF file.

To accomplish this, open the PDF file in the editor and scan or import it using the OCR feature. The OCR program will convert the PDF file’s text to a searchable format.

Remember that not all OCR software and online providers will yield flawless results. Depending on the original PDF file’s quality and the OCR tool or service used, the text quality in the resulting searchable PDF may vary.

You might occasionally need to manually change the content in the searchable PDF to fix any mistakes.

Is searchable PDF the same as OCR?

A PDF file with text that a computer can search for is a searchable PDF. This implies that you can search within the PDF file using a text editor or a PDF viewer.

A computer can recognize and extract text from photographs or scanned documents using optical character recognition (OCR), a technology. OCR software transforms the text in an image or scanned document into a digital format so that a computer may search it.

OCR and searchable PDF files are similar because they let you look for text within a document. But they are not the same. A searchable PDF file is a PDF file with searchable text, whereas OCR is a technique that enables you to turn an image or scanned document into a searchable format.

You can use OCR software to turn an image or scanned document into a searchable PDF file or a PDF editor to add searchable text to an already existing PDF file. In either scenario, a searchable PDF file will be produced, but the method will vary.

How do I make a PDF searchable without Acrobat? 

These pointers can help you make a PDF searchable online using OCR. 

  • Use the PDF to Word converter online. 
  • Your PDF can be dropped into the toolbox in blue. 
  • Select the “Convert to Word with OCR” option. 
  • The searchable Word document is available for download. 
  • In the footer, select “Word to PDF” to save the document as a now-searchable PDF. 
Closing Comments on the pdf search engines

There you have it – a list of the 9 best free PDF search engines.

I understand that book fanatics usually don’t like PDFs that much, but we cannot deny that PDFs are the future. PDFs are easy to carry, cheap, and sometimes free, and can be easily shared.

Even though you can use Google and other search engines to find PDFs, they are not specifically designed for this purpose. They can sometimes be used, but you cannot wholly rely on them.

If you need something specifically designed to search PDFs, the PDF search engines mentioned in this list can be a helpful solution.