Search Inside Multiple Text Files at Once

Ever had to find some text inside a bunch of different text files? If you’re in IT, this issue can come up quite often. Maybe you are looking for a particular phrase in log files or maybe you are a programmer and need to find some code that is inside many different code files.

Luckily, there’s an easy way to search through multiple files for a certain piece of text. Personally, I like using a free program called Windows Grep. It basically is a visual grep program, which makes it really easy to search files for text strings.

Once you install the program and run it, you’ll get a window like the following:

search multiple text files

You type in the string of text that you want to search for and then choose the type of search: Normal, Sounds like, and quick. Note that you can use full regular expressions in the search box.

Click Next and now you will be able to choose which folder or folders you want to search within. The great thing is that you can choose as many folders as you like. Note that it does not automatically search sub-folders, so you will have to add each subfolder.

Also, make sure to select the folder and then click the right arrow to move it into the Include list.

search inside text files

Next, you will choose what kinds of files you want to search. If a directory has text files, video files, etc, you can specify the file type by either typing it in the Custom file specification box or choosing from the pre-defined list.

search files for text

Click Next and then click Finish. Now the main window will become active and the search will begin. After a few seconds, you should see the results of the search in the main window.

search text in multiple files

Click on any of the results and you’ll get the actual line numbers and the text as it is in the file.

find text in files

That’s it! Pretty easy eh? And probably the easiest way to search inside multiple files for text. Enjoy!

Comments [6]

  1. MuffiZainu says:

    Hey Aseem!

    Great fan of your work!.. truly philanthropic! :)

    Your latest post, Search inside multiple text files at once (http://helpdeskgeek.com/how-to/search-inside-multiple-text-files-at-once/#more-4163) is something I have been looking for for AGES!

    1. Actually, I was under the impression that Google Desktop Search can also search the content of text files, but it doesn't show ALL the results. (Is it supposed to? Am I doing something wrong?)

    2. I have always needed a way to search Multiple Word Documents for specific words, but, in ARABIC. Unfortunately the program

    Wndows Grep does not support ARABIC, is there any way you kind help me?

    If Google Desktop is the answer please let me know.

    Thanks a million.

    Mufaddal

  2. FishBone says:

    Nice tool, userfriendly, practical. But let's not forget that one always has the "findstr" command with similar functionality available in Windows, without having to download or install anything.

  3. hemant says:

    I dont understand one thing there are lots of open-source/freeware software available on the web then why to buy ??

  4. dexter_greycells says:

    Nice tip, Aseem.

    See, I have around 10 text files containing macros for my login ID and password for a specific application. I need to change that every month and it is a real pain to open the 10 text files and change the password manually.

    Your tip is exactly what I was looking for but alas…I don't have admin access to install anything on my PC :( Wish if we had a portable version of this…

  5. Anandarajeshwaran.J says:

    Hi. Wonderful software. Works like a charm and it is fast.

  6. Mantas says:

    Nice software, but the user interface looks kinda old.

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