PDF Search for iPhone / iPad

PDF Search is an application which is designed to make blazing-fast search through lots of documents with the power of AI. In this manual you will find how to use it.

This manual is prepared with iPhone screenshots. iPad users also can use this guide because functionality and user interface is very similar.

Search Locations  

Application can index and search documents under selected locations and application folders.

Selected Locations  

You can select any documents to be indexed and search using files app. Documents can be on any folder on device including cloud folders. With iOS 13 support, you can also select any folders to index multiple documents at once. Selecting any folder or document doesn't copy the document into app folder, so it will not be duplicated.

Local App Folder  

This is the folder which is dedicated to the PDF Search on the iOS device storage. Documents are copied to this folder are indexed and searched.

iCloud App Folder  

This is the application folder on your iCloud Drive. If you have activated iCloud Drive, this folder is automatically created. Also you can use this folder to share documents with your other Mac, iPhone or iPad. Any documents copied to this folder can be indexed and searched.

How to import documents into app folders  

There are lots of ways to import documents into folders of PDF Search.

Using Activities on iOS  

You can copy documents from other iOS applications to PDF Search using Activities feature of iOS. Simply press action button on any iOS application supporting activities, then choose appropriate PDF Search action on activities window. If any supported document is open on the app (like PDF, Microsoft Word or Powerpoint) you can choose Copy to PDF Search action. If you don't see this action on Activities window simply press more button and enable it.

If a web page is open on Safari PDF Search can convert it to PDF and save it for you. To do that please select "Save to PDF Search" action. If it is not enabled press more button and enable it.

Import Using Files App  

With iOS 11, a new app called "Files" introduced by Apple to manage files on device and cloud storages. Using this app you can copy or delete documents into PDF Search app folders.

PDF Search has 2 folders. One is on device storage. You can use "Files App -> On My iPhone/iPad -> PDF Search" options to access to this folder. Other folder is on iCloud Drive if it is enabled. "Files App -> iCloud Drive -> PDF Search".

Any documents copied to these folder using Files App will be detected after PDF Search app is opened and they will be indexed to be searched.

You can access Files app also from inside of the PDF Search. Just navigate to any subfolder and press (+) pluss button at the top. Choos "Import Using Files App" option to open Files app. You can select documents from any location esxist on Files app including cloud drives like iCloud Drive, Google Drive, Dropbox etc...

Using iTunes on Mac  

You can directly copy documents from Mac to your iOS device using iTunes app on your Mac. Just connect your Mac with a cable or wirelessly to your iOS device. Then open device window and choos "File Sharing" at the left options. You will see installed applications list on the new window. Choose "PDF Search" there. This will give you the access to the PDF Search folder in iOS device. Copy any documents to folder. They will be automatically detected after PDF Search is open.

Sync with Mac App  

If you have PDF Search for macOS version installed on your Mac, you can easily sync your documents from Mac to your iPhone or iPad. To do that you should navigate to one of subfolders under Local Folder. Then press the (+) plus button to see the options and select "Sync with Mac App".

Your iPhone or iPad should be in the same WiFi network with your Mac. Also you should enable iOS sync feature on your PDF Search app on Mac from preferences window. After you choose the Mac from list, it will ask you to enter Sync Key which should appear on the Mac at the same time. After you enter correct Sync Key, PDF Search will start to copy Index DB and documents from Mac to your iPhone or iPad. This may take time according to the speed of your WiFi network. After copy process is finished, documents will be started to be indexed using the copied index db information. This will take less time according to the normal indexing process.

Import from Mac App  

Instead of syncing all documents from Mac app, you can choose specific documents from Mac to import into current folder. This process will not take indexing information, so it will not speed up indexing of documents copied.

After you choose the mac a document list window will appear. You can choose any documents to be imported into the current folder.

Import from Internet  

Using PDF Search, you can search PDF documents from internet using Google. After you find the PDF document you wanted, press the link. It will open it as PDF document. Then press Import button at the to import it into the current folder.


After you import PDF documents, PDF Search automatically detects them and asks you to index. Indexing may take some time according to the content of documents. Also it consumes CPU power so if you import hundreds of documents, indexing can consume battery fast. So it is recommended to plugin your device while indexing. PDF Search indexes only while app is open. It pauses indexing process when it is closed.

Manage Indexing  

When there are documents needs to be indexed PDF Search warns you via the indexing button at the bottom-left corner. You can pause or resume indexing using indexing button.

Sometimes you may have documents under iCloud Folder which is not downloaded to the devcie storage yet. For these cases, documents should be downloaded to the device first and then they can be indexed. PDF Search warns you also for these situations and ask your permission to download the documents.


Start search  

After indexing is finished, you can search documents easily. Just enter any term in search box and press Search. PDF Search will run AI algorithms to search whole pages indexed documents and decide the best relevant documents and pages. After search completed it will show a result window showing all documents and best ranked pages in a table view. You can navigate between documents and pages using this window easily.

As you enter text into the search-box, the suggestion list will update dynamically. These list is composed from the words used in indexed documents. You can select of them without typing whole word.

How Search Works  

PDF Search algorithm calculates a rank value for every page in documents according to keywords you entered. These ranks are computed as follows:

  • Keyword Distance : Pages containing keywords nearer to each other have a higher rank.
  • Keyword Density : Pages containing more keywords have a higher rank.
  • Importance : Pages that contain the keywords in the title or that are rendered in bold or a larger font will have a higher rank.
  • Document Date: Pages within more recent files are ranked more highly than older files.

When a search is completed, PDF Search displays the page having the highest rank, highlighting keywords by color(s).

Search Patterns  

You can use below operators for advanced search capabilities

  • Quotes "..."
  • When you make search using quotes it only take pages containing keywords exactly in quotes.

    Search Keyword Result
    Shows pages only containing exactly same keywords together like 'advanced economies'
    Shows pages containing advanced and economies keywords seperately ordering by relevancy. For example : 'Economies in advanced class will not be effected too much.'

  • Plus Sign (+)
  • If you put plus (+) sign before a keyword, resulting pages will always contain that keyword

    Search Keyword Result
    Pages not containing economies keyword will not be in result list.

  • Minus Sign (-)
  • If you put minus (-) sign before a keyword, pages containing that keyword will be discarded from search results.

    Search Keyword Result
    Pages containing 'economies' keyword will not be in result list.

  • Wildcard (*)
  • You can use asterisk character to search the keywords starting or ending with some characters.

    Search Keyword Result
    Search will be done for keywords starting with 'econom' like 'econom, economy, economies, econometric, economic, etc...'
    Search will be done for keywords ending with 'ty' like 'quality, productivity, equality, security, etc...'
    Search will be done for keywords starting with 'pr' and ending with 't' like 'product, present, president, project, etc...'

Filter Documents  

You can filter documents to narrate the documents to be searched. PDF Search supports 3 types of filtering for documents.

Folder Based Filtering  

You can navigate through root folders and subfolders by double clicking on them. After you open a subfolder, search scope is narrated to that folder automatically. When you search, only documents under that folder is searched.

Filter By Path  

At the right-bottom corner of window, there is a filtering button. Using this you can filter documents by location path including the filename. For example you have java documents and these documents containing 'java' keyword in their file name. When you write "java" and press enter in this fields, all documents under active folder will be searched for whether their path conatining "java" keyword or not. Later searches will be done over this resulting list.

Filter By Tag  

You can make filter using tags. To do that simply choose the tag from window and make search under tag window.

Export Search Results  

After you make a search, you can export search results as a new PDF. Just press the Export button on Search Results window. This will open up the "Export Search Results Window". Here you will find some options to customize the exported PDF document. After choosing the options, press "Export as PDF" button to generate the new PDF containing all best relevant pages from different documents. You can share that document easily pressing action button.


You can tag documents to group them under one label. Then you can easily find those tagged documents or make search over them. Tag information is shared between iOS and macOS devices through iCloud drive. So when you change a tag on one device, this will be autoamtically synced to other devices if iCloud Drive is enabled on them.

Tag a document  

To tag a document just swipe document to left and select the Tag option. Enter desired tag values on the coming input box. You can enter more than one tags which should be seperated by commas.

Remove a tag  

You can use the same input box to delete a tag from document, just delete desired tag from the tags string which are seperated by commas.

Alternatively you can use the tag window to delete the tag from document. After opening the tag window swipe left over the document and select Remove Tag option.


You can put bookmarks on pages of documents. This will enable you to find a page easily.

Add a bookmark to document  

Just use the "Bookmark Current Page" option on the action menu to add a bookmark for active page. You can add a note to the bookmark. While searching documents, these notes will be added to the page data and will be searchable.

Navigate/Delete Bookmarks  

To navigate or delete bookmarks, select "Bookmarks" option on the main screen. You can find all bookmarks here grouped by documents. To delete, find the related bookmark and just slide to left.