How to Find a PDF File on My Computer

If you are like many people, you live your life by your computer. Most people have thousands of pictures, documents and spreadsheets stored on their computer, all of which help you accomplish what you need to do. Sooner or later, however, you may have trouble locating a file. Since most people don't generally work with PDF files in their normal, every day lives, these files can sometimes get lost in the shuffle. If you need to locate a PDF file on your computer, there are a couple of different things you can try.

Male office worker at workstation, view over shoulder
credit: Christopher Robbins/Photodisc/Getty Images

Using a Windows Search

Step

Click on the "Start" button or the Windows icon at the bottom left-hand corner of the screen. This will bring up the Windows Start menu.

Step

For Windows XP or below, click on the "Find" command. For Windows Vista, click into the search box at the bottom of the Start menu.

Step

For Windows XP and below, click on the "All files and folders" link at the bottom of the left-hand frame of the search window to bring up the search text box. Type "*.pdf" in to the search box (in all versions of Windows). Press the "Enter" button.

Step

The search window will begin to list all of the PDF files you have on your computer in the order that it finds them. Scroll through the list to find the one you want and double click it to open.

Searching with Google Desktop

Step

Download Google Desktop from desktop.google.com. Once the file is downloaded, follow the instructions to install the program. Google Desktop is a tool which indexes your computer and allows you to find files.

Step

Open the Google desktop search window and type "*.PDF" in the search bar. Press the "Enter" key to open up a browser window that has a list of files on your computer.

Step

Scroll through the files the program has found. Click on the file you want to open.