Search for text inside MS Word files

Discussion in 'macOS High Sierra (10.13)' started by keithnwhs, Aug 10, 2018.

  1. keithnwhs macrumors newbie

    Jun 21, 2018
    I could swear I did this before, but now it appears to not work. I have over 100 MS Word files, and I don't want to have to open each one individually to look for various phrases or words. Can't I just search at the folder level, and have it look inside each of those documents without having to open them? When I open a particular Word file, I can clearly see the word "automation" for example in it, used repeatedly. But, if I just go into the folder search or spotlight, and use that word, nothing comes up.

    Please tell me how to search inside Word files without having to actually open them all up?
  2. Fishrrman macrumors Pentium


    Feb 20, 2009
    Try DevonThink -- the small, "personal" edition.
    It has a free "demo mode" that may do what you need.
  3. monokakata macrumors 68000


    May 8, 2008
    Hilo, Hawai'i
    HoudahSpot isn't free, but it works very well.

    I use it regularly for exactly the kind of thing you're asking about.

    I set my search word or phrase and then I choose (in the case of Word) "document" as "Content Kind," and off I go.

    There may well be others as good (and free) but HoudahSpot has become one of my essential apps.
  4. Fishrrman macrumors Pentium


    Feb 20, 2009
    As a followup to my reply 2 above:
    I created a small WP ("doc") file in MS Word and saved it.
    Then I tried searching for some text "within" the Word file using DevonThink.
    DevonThink -found- the text, and identified the file it was in.
    So... it works.
  5. keithnwhs thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 21, 2018
    Thank you both for very helpful responses. I appreciate that!
  6. organicCPU macrumors 6502a


    Aug 8, 2016
    Three free methods...

    1. Use the built-in Terminal command find:
    sudo find / -name "*.doc" -exec grep "SEARCHSTRING" '{}' \; -print
    2. Use Devonthink's Freeware EasyFind.
    Download from Developer:
    Download from MAS:
    In options, add to search for doc files and search for file contents.

    3. Use the Open Source app DocFetcher (depends on Java)
    After setting up correctly and indexing a file repository a content search will be quite fast.

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