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Search within multiple text files simultaneously

Have you ever had to find text within a series of different text files? If you are in IT, this problem can occur quite often. Maybe you're looking for a particular phrase in the log files or maybe you're a programmer and you need to find some code that is inside many different code files.

Unfortunately, there is no easy way to do this in Windows. The terrible default Windows search for this type of activity because it is super slow and does not allow advanced searches. Fortunately, there are many other ways that are far superior to Windows search, which I will mention in this post. I won't go into the details of each solution, but you can use Google for more information.

If you don't want to install any third-party software and are familiar with the command line, you need to check the built-in search command below. I guess a lot of people are more comfortable with GUI interfaces, that's why I mention programs first.

Third party research programs

When it comes to searching for multiple text files, the king of all grep search commands. grep a command line utility on UNIX / Linux that allows you to perform advanced searches using regular expressions. very popular and used in every Linux distribution.

So when someone writes a Windows search program, it inevitably contains the word "grep". This is practically the case with all the programs listed below.


grepWin probably the most popular among the tools mentioned here. It supports regular expressions and allows you to find and replace text as well. They also have a tutorial on their website to help with regular expressions, although you can Google for many others.

You can limit your search by file size, file type and other criteria. It also adds an option to the right-click context menu in Windows Explorer to quickly search for a folder. The results are listed in the bottom window and you can simply double-click on them to open the files.


AstroGrep also another excellent research program. Not only is it updated often enough, but it also shows where the text was found in the file. grepWin also has this option if you choose the radio button Content, but I think it is better implemented in AstroGrep.

AstroGrep can also search for Word files, which is a useful feature. you can also save or print all the results for future reference. I also find their interface to be more modern and pleasing to the eye.


BareGrep a fairly simple search program that supports regular expressions and all basic search functions. fast enough overall and shows matches in a table format. The free version has a home screen that you can't disable. The pro version costs $ 25 and seems to simply disable the home screen, otherwise the features are the same.


If you are looking for the definitive research program, look beyond PowerGREP. This program has some serious features and a serious price tag to follow. a whopping $ 159! It has practically all the functions mentioned above, still others, and all of them have been inserted in a nice interface.

I recommend this program only if you have serious search needs which include searching for text in Word files, PDF documents, Excel spreadsheets, etc. It can also extract statistics from your log files and give you this information. a fairly powerful tool.

Built-in Windows commands

If you only need to perform a quick search and don't want to install a full program, you can use the command-line tools built into Windows. One runs in the normal command prompt and the other uses PowerShell. Both of them are quite powerful and can find practically everything you are looking for.

The first command findstr . You can read the reference document here to learn how to use findstr. You can also type findstr /? at the command prompt and I'll show you the usage. As you can see, there are some options. Obviously, this is much more complicated than using one of the above programs.

The second option is the Select-String command in Windows PowerShell. Again, there is a fairly large learning curve with these commands if you haven't used them already. Microsoft has a good tutorial on how to use Select-String, so be sure to read it.

Hence, those are basically the best ways to go about searching for text in a large number of files. I suggest you try the different options and see which one works best for you. To enjoy!