A Quick Guide to Search PDF Files on Google Search


As simple as Google Search may be, it’s highly customizable with dedicated settings, extensions, and search operators. This allows us to ask queries on Google Search and get the exact results we are looking for. Finding PDFs is a common need for users, and Google makes it easy to search the whole web for PDFs related to your specific topic.

In today’s post, I’ll tell you why you may need to look for PDF files on Google Search and how to do it:

Why Search PDF Files on Google Search?

There are many types of content that are usually published in PDF format, therefore, there can be many situations when searching for PDF files on Google Search could be better for you. Below I am listing some common benefits of searching for PDF files on Google Search:

  • Comprehensive writeups like guides, research papers, reports, academic articles, and other in-depth content are usually published in PDF format. Searching for PDF files can lead to a detailed view of the topic.
  • The PDF format also keeps the original formatting with images, graphs, tables, etc. as intended by the author. So most of the works are preserved and presented in their original form.
  • Legal and official documents are also usually published in PDF format. If you need to learn something legal or reference an official source, then looking for PDF files is useful.
  • Product manuals are usually available in PDF formats. If you are looking for a manual, then searching for PDF files can make it easier.
  • PDF files are also print-friendly and retain the original format during printing. Although you can also print a webpage as PDF if that’s your priority.
  • It is easier to save PDF files offline and access them no matter the size or number of pages. A workaround for webpages would be to save them as an image to view offline.
  • Historical documents like old manuscripts are scanned and saved as PDFs, this could help if you are looking for historical documents.

Other than these, the PDF format is considered safe as it’s hard to edit and can be password protected. You can also further edit it for better presentation like splitting or merging it.

How to Search PDF Files on Google Search

To search for PDF files on Google Search, you’ll have to use the filetype: search operator. This prefix helps you find specific types of files on Google Search and below you can see how to use it.

Open Google Search or start typing in the address bar if Google Search is your default search engine.

Here type filetype:pdf (your search Query) and press Enter. Type whatever your search query is right after filetype:pdf with a space in between.

For example typing “filetype:pdf gmail tips” will show all PDF guides that talk about Gmail tips.

That’s it, you can now search for PDF files on Google Search for whatever topic you like.

To conclude

If I am looking for a guide online, especially for a video game, I search for PDFs and then sort the results by time period to get the latest guide in PDF. PDF guides are usually written by people that are serious and knowledgeable on the topic and they are detailed with proper illustrations. I am sure you’ll find many uses for only searching for PDF files on Google Search.

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