How to Google PDF Files

by Adrian Grahams
Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images

Searching for a specific type of document on the Internet is sometimes like looking for a needle in a haystack. Many search terms entered into Google will return hundreds of Web pages, particularly in popular subject areas. Google labels all PDF (Portable Document Format) files under each title in the search results, but wading through countless pages to find the PDF results is frustrating and time-consuming. Save time by narrowing down your Google search so that it returns only PDF documents.

Step 1

Launch your Web browser and go to the Google website.

Step 2

Type your search terms into the search box on the Google home page. Enter keywords that will return documents for the relevant subject area. For example, if you're looking for the PDF of a specific book, enter the complete title of the book and place quotation marks around the title so that the search will return only these results. If you want to choose from a range of documents, enter words relevant to the subject matter.

Step 3

Type "filetype:pdf" after the final search term in the search box. This instructs Google to return only PDF documents in its search.

Step 4

Click the "Search" button.

Read through the results. You can view each result as a PDF by clicking the link or as a Web page by clicking "View as HTML" under each result.


  • Use the "filetype" command to restrict Google searches to different document types. For example, for Word documents use "filetype:doc" or for PowerPoint presentations use "filetype:ppt".


Photo Credits

  • Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images

About the Author

Adrian Grahams began writing professionally in 1989 after training as a newspaper reporter. His work has been published online and in various newspapers, including "The Cornish Times" and "The Sunday Independent." Grahams specializes in technology and communications. He holds a Bachelor of Science, postgraduate diplomas in journalism and website design and is studying for an MBA.

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