How to Search a PDF on iPad: A Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners

Searching a PDF on your iPad is a breeze if you know the steps. You can quickly find the information you need within a document by using the built-in tools available in most PDF readers. With just a few taps, you’ll become a pro at navigating lengthy documents in no time.

How to Search a PDF on iPad

In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to search for specific words or phrases in a PDF document on your iPad using the built-in features of common PDF reader apps. By following these easy steps, you’ll be able to locate the information you need with minimal fuss.

Step 1: Open the PDF

First, locate and open the PDF document on your iPad.

To do this, you might need to use a PDF reader app like Adobe Acrobat Reader, Apple Books, or any other you prefer.

Step 2: Access the Search Feature

Next, find the search feature usually represented by a magnifying glass icon.

This icon is typically located at the top of the screen, either in the toolbar or the menu.

Step 3: Enter the Search Term

Tap on the search icon and type the word or phrase you are looking for.

As you type, the app will start showing you results matching your query.

Step 4: Navigate Through Results

Browse through the search results, often highlighted, to find the exact information you need.

You can use the navigation arrows to move between different instances of the search term within the document.

Step 5: Close the Search

When you’re done, simply close the search bar by tapping the ‘X’ or the back button.

This will take you back to the regular viewing mode of the PDF.

After completing these steps, you’ll have successfully found the information you were looking for in the PDF. You can now read, highlight, or make notes as needed.

Tips for Searching a PDF on iPad

  • Use Specific Terms: The more specific your search term, the more accurate your results will be.
  • Check Spelling: Make sure your search term is spelled correctly to avoid missing relevant results.
  • Try Synonyms: If your first search doesn’t return the results you want, try using synonyms.
  • Use Quotation Marks: For phrases, wrap your search terms in quotation marks to find exact matches.
  • Update Your App: Ensure your PDF reader app is updated to the latest version for the best performance.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need a special app to search a PDF on my iPad?

No, most built-in apps like Apple Books can search PDFs. However, specialized apps like Adobe Acrobat Reader offer more advanced features.

Can I search scanned PDFs?

You can search scanned PDFs if they have been processed with Optical Character Recognition (OCR). Not all apps support OCR, so check if your app does.

Is it possible to search multiple PDFs at once?

Most apps do not support searching across multiple PDFs simultaneously. You would need to open and search each document individually.

How do I search for non-English characters?

Most PDF readers support searching for non-English characters. Ensure your keyboard is set to the correct language.

Can I search for images in a PDF?

No, you can’t search for images. PDF search functions are typically text-based.


  1. Open the PDF.
  2. Access the search feature.
  3. Enter the search term.
  4. Navigate through results.
  5. Close the search.


In just a few simple steps, you can easily search a PDF on your iPad, making it a breeze to find the information you need. Whether you’re a student trying to locate a specific paragraph in your textbook or a professional looking for important details in a report, this guide has got you covered. With a bit of practice, you’ll become proficient in navigating and searching PDFs, saving you both time and effort. If you’re interested in learning more about iPad functionalities or other tech tips, be sure to check out our other articles. Happy searching!

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