I am new to SharePoint and I'm wondering if I can search for doc/pdf files using text they contain.

I found some forums that say it can be done, but no tutorials or live proof. I have a 3-tier setup and admin access to all it's parts.

I enabled Enterprise search and used it to search by creation date, author, content type.. but can't find search for document by it's content anywhere.

The goal here is to use web services for the search (through Query or QueryEx methods but I'm beginning to doubt this functionality even exists.

So can it even be done ? and if so, is there a tutorial or instructions to do it ?

  • 1
    This is how search works, indexing the content of files and their metadata Commented Sep 28, 2016 at 14:07
  • I added the files a week ago and did a full crawl several times, I also have Incremental crawl every 20 minutes but I still have no results
    – Ali
    Commented Sep 28, 2016 at 14:20
  • 1
    I missed the PDF part, you need to install the appropriate iFilter on the servers for it to index the PDF content, either from Adobe or Foxit. Word documents should have their body content crawled automatically. Commented Sep 28, 2016 at 14:27
  • I'm still working on .doc and .txt files for now but I'll make sure to install it when this works.
    – Ali
    Commented Sep 28, 2016 at 14:35
  • What version of SharePoint Server? In 2010 you needed an extra iFilter, in 2013/2016 it is native functionality. Commented Sep 28, 2016 at 20:38

2 Answers 2


Thanks for your help everyone, but I checked de ULS logs and found that the content of the files was not even being crawled.
So I checked the authorizations and found that the previous developer who worked on the server disabled folder content crowling.
I enabled it and now everything works fine.


It is a little strange that the question is 'Is it possible to search for text inside a file in SharePoint?', but the title of the page is 'content query web part - Is it possible to search for text inside a file in SharePoint?'

If you are using the Content Query Webpart, it is not possible.

The Search Web part provides this functionality.

Moreover, in SharePoint 2010 you will need to install the PDF iFilter

  • Sorry that's my bad i'll edit my tags. I've used the Search web part, I even created a search center. I can search by different properties but not by file content. (I'm still testing with .doc and .txt files)
    – Ali
    Commented Sep 28, 2016 at 14:31

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