pdfgrep is a tool to search text in PDF files. It works similarly to grep. See pdfgrep.org for details


pdfgrep is a tool to search text in PDF files. It works similarly to grep.


  • Grep compatible: pdfgrep tries to be compatible with GNU grep, where it makes sense. Many of your favorite grep options are supported (such as -r, -i, -n or -c).
  • Search many PDFs at once, even recursively in directories
  • Regular expressions: Posix or PCRE
  • Colored output
  • Support for password protected PDFs

For a complete documentation, please consult the manpage.


$ pdfgrep --max-count 1 --context 1 --with-filename --page-number pattern rabin-karp.pdf



... is easy. Just use the standard procedure:

sudo make install

The ./configure script can take lots of options to customize the build process, the most important of which are:

  • --with-unac: Build with experimental libunac support and add the --unac flag to pdfgrep that strips all accents from characters, making it possible to find the character 'ä' by searching 'a'.
  • --with-{zsh,bash}-completion: Configure installation directory for shell completion files.
  • --without-libpcre: Disable support for perl compatible regular expressions.
  • --disable-doc: Disable manpage generation.

See configure --help for more info or read the (very extensive) INSTALL file in the source.

If you're using the git version, you will also have to run ./autogen.sh in advance.


Tarballs for releases are available at https://pdfgrep.org/download.html

The development version is available as a git repository at https://gitlab.com/pdfgrep/pdfgrep


General questions, suggestions, bug reports, patches or anything else can be sent to the mailinglist.

You can also use the issue tracker for bug reports or create a merge request on GitLab, if you prefer that over mailinglists.