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Your Guide on How to Search Within Multiple Word .doc & .docx Documents

8 Min Read
user wearing an orange sweater searching on a Macbook

Let’s be honest- data sorting and file systems can get overwhelming. Text files such as PDFs (.pdf), Microsoft Word files (.doc or .docx), and Rich Text Format (.rtf) are all common file extensions to save and send text files and documents. One of the most common text files is the Microsoft Word file. 

If you’re online as a student or working professional, chances are you’ve dealt with many .doc or .docx files. Individuals in the legal, healthcare, science/technology, and education sectors can spend vast amounts of time uploading, sharing, and editing documents online.

Searching within multiple .doc or .docx documents is an excellent way to save time, see correlations within numerous documents, and avoid opening and loading every document individually. 

We’re going to talk about how you can search within multiple Microsoft Word documents quickly and easily by looking at three different software tools:

  1. SEEKER
  2. SeekFast
  3. Agent Ransack

Software Tools to Help You Search Within Multiple Word Documents

Let’s look at some of the best third-party software tools to help you in your search endeavors! We’ll go over each tool in detail and compare the pros and cons of each.

SEEKER

SEEKER is an incredible tool that will help you search for certain words within your Word documents and help you filter auto-suggested words, phrases, and concepts. It is compatible with macOS, Windows, and most tablets.

How it Works

To use SEEKER, you’ll need to create a free account or purchase an annual plan and have your Word documents ready to go in one or multiple folders. No downloading required! For the Free and Personal Packages of SEEKER, you’ll need to quickly convert your Word files into PDF versions. Adobe Acrobat is a great way to do this quickly and easily.

Let’s say that you’re a Ph.D. student focusing your research on bear ecology. You’ve got a handful of articles you want to search within at once and would like to look at the word “hibernation.”

Your first step is to upload your folder(s) of .doc or .docx files to SEEKER. This is a super quick process! Either drag and drop your folder(s) or select them manually.

 

searching within a desktop folder

 

Once your files are uploaded, you’ll be able to begin searching under the “Search” tab. SEEKER will automatically generate suggested terms while you’re typing. When you’re finished typing out your search term, click “search”.

 

typing "hibernation" into seeker

 

SEEKER will then bump you over to the “SmartNAV” tab to show your search results across all of your uploaded Word documents! You can see the specific section, document name, and page number in one organized space. 

 

Seeker "hibernation" search results

 

Your search doesn’t stop there! SEEKER is like your own personal search engine- meaning that you can add additional phrases, terms, and concepts to your search! While your search results are still generated from the word “hibernation,” you can now select the phrase “grizzly bear” to see what passages are associated with both hibernation and grizzly bears. In this case, most of the results listed are references (usually listed at the end of the document). Keep in mind that these are pulled into the search as well. Result #10 does show one valid search result for the correlated terms that aren’t just reference pages.

 

SEEKER "grizzly bear" selection

SEEKER "hibernation" and "grizzly bear" results

 

Suppose you clear the smart filter “grizzly bears” and go to select a new term associated with “hibernation.” You’ll see multiple suggested terms that are auto-generated for you. If you select “cubs,” you can see where cubs and hibernation are referenced together in different passages. 

 

Seeker "hibernation" and "cubs" results

 

You can mix and match phrases, terms, and concepts if you want to add another layer. Say that in the broad scope of the search for “hibernation,” you’d like to see “cubs” and “pregnant females.” You can find passages referencing both by selecting them under different smart filter categories.

 

Seeker "hibernation", "pregnant females", and "cubs" results

 

SEEKER identifies different concepts. In this case, within “hibernation,” it found a correlation between “females” and “food.” If your mind is feeling bogged down from research and reading, this can be a beneficial search tool to see concepts within your data generated automatically.

 

Seeker "hibernation" and concept of "females/food"

 

If you’re a visual person, SEEKER’s HyperNAV feature can be helpful when trying to understand correlations laid out in another form. In this example, we can see that for the search term “hibernation,” the largest correlated results are “brown bears,” “den,” and “brown”. 

 

Seeker HyperNav display

 

Pros

  • It’s a quick, easy way to search through your Word documents.
  • There is a free version of SEEKER (although Word documents need to be converted to PDFs if you do not have the Professional version)
  • No download is required!
  • You can see suggested terms, concepts, and auto-generated phrases based on your search term or phrase.
  • You can view a snippet of the document without needing to open it.
  • You can see your correlated data visually.
  • Your data is cyber-secure, ensuring that you can upload confidential documents.
  • It can be used on Windows, macOS, and some tablets. 

Cons

  • To receive all SEEKER capabilities you must purchase a professional account.

SeekFast

SeekFast is a great tool to find direct search queries within your Word documents. You can search for multiple terms simultaneously, but it does not include auto-suggested words, phrases, and concepts. It is compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux devices.

How it Works

To get started with SeekFast, download the application onto your computer. For Mac users, open the application in your Applications folder under “SeekFast.” It will then prompt you with directions to upload your files in one or more folders. Let’s use the same example from above and use the same collection of bear ecology articles. 

 

SeekFast "bear ecology articles" upload

 

You can enter one or more search words to find within your documents in the search bar. You can sort the results by relevance, date, or file name. You can also choose to require case sensitivity or exact word matching. The results are listed by title with the information following and the search terms highlighted in red. 

 

SeekFast research tool in action searching for "hibernation"

 

Like SEEKER, you can open the document directly from the search results. Unfortunately, the page number is not listed. Supposedly the search terms can be “clickable,” but this did not bring up the file when clicked during our example. 

 

SeekFast research tool in action searching for "hibernation"

 

The search terms “hibernation” and “grizzly bears” produced one search result in this example. There was only one valid search result for both of these terms in our documents. SeekFast filtered out certain pages that SEEKER included.

 

SeekFast research tool in action searching for "hibernation" and "grizzly bears"

 

When searching with three terms, zero results were listed. SEEKER returned eight results, with zero pulled from the reference pages. So although it is nice that SeekFast can filter “unrelated” search results, in this case, it did leave holes in the results. 

 

SeekFast searching within hibernation, cubs, and pregnant females

 

Pros

  • You can search for multiple terms and phrases at a time.
  • You can view a snippet of the document without needing to open it.
  • A clean and simple look.
  • They support a wide variety of document types in their free package.
  • You can quickly launch SeekFast on your desktop or from your navigation bar.
  • It supports Windows, macOS, Linux, and programming languages.

Cons

  • The free version only allows you to search 50 files at a time. 
  • Downloading is required. 
  • There are no auto-generated keywords, phrases, or concepts. It is a tool for conducting your search results but doesn’t have the same smart suggestions as SEEKER.
  • There is no visual HyperNAV view of your data.
  • Excludes buzz words. 

Agent Ransack

Because we were conducting searches on a macOS system, we couldn’t dive into Agent Ransack ourselves. But we sorted through the specs and reviews to provide some info on how Agent Ransack works.

How it Works

Agent Ransack is mainly used for finding files within your Windows desktop. It can also find search terms and phrases within the documents, but we’ll list its display and results in the next section.

 

Agent Ransack searching on Windows desktop

 

Pros

  • Can search for file names, text within files, and document phrases in one system.
  • The free version can search within .doc, .docx, .ppt, .pptx, .odt, .ods, .sxw, .sxc, .xls, .xlsx, and .pdf file types.
  • There’s no need to upload specific folders- you can conduct your search on your entire Windows PC. You can also specify specific locations on your computer to search within if you want to set parameters.
  • Rapid search speed.
  • Tidy and straightforward interface, but not as modernized as SeekFast or SEEKER.

Cons

  • It does NOT support macOS, Linux, or mobile devices. Referencing online information, this is only a Windows program.
  • It does display the search results but only gives you a preview of a single sentence. 
  • There are no highlighted search terms. You have to manually search within the search results to see that result in the document.
  • Some complaints about slow search time in the reviews. Especially with the free version.

Final Tips for Choosing Your Word (.doc and .docx) Search Tool

In summary, we’ve reviewed the process, pros, and cons of three different Word (.doc and .docx) search tools. Here are our main takeaways from each:

SEEKER

SEEKER is a GREAT way to conduct research within your uploaded Word documents. You will need to convert them to PDFs before uploading if you are using the free version. It is the only tool on this list that suggests smart terms, phrases, and concepts (that you’re not brainstorming on your own). These can all be seen visually through the HyperNAV feature. SEEKER is a separate system from your desktop and not a tool that can conduct searches for different file names and locations.

SeekFast

SeekFast is a great tool to search for your terms and phrases within Word documents. There’s a desktop application that can be downloaded and used easily. You need to find and upload your files. You will not be able to conduct searches for different file names and locations.

Agent Ransack

Agent Ransack is a good option if you are a Windows user that would like to search for simple search terms straight from your desktop. You can choose specific locations on your computer to search within without uploading folders into a program. Search results display only a single sentence and do not highlight the searched term. 

See more information about SEEKER and its Word search capabilities!

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