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Internet Explorer Locks Up When Searching a PDF File

This problem is experienced by users of Microsoft Internet Explorer for Windows when they attempt to use the search function (Edit > Find (on this page) on the menu bar, or ctrl-f)while viewing a PDF file. The search doesn't work and the browser usually freezes up.

First the Bad News

This is a known issue at Adobe Systems. It was identified many years ago. There are mixed results in overcoming the problem.

But There Are Solutions

You may either use a different browser (which isn't as hard as you might think) or save the PDF file to your hard drive and search it without going through Internet Explorer.

Use a Different Browser

It's possible you already have another browser on your computer, such as Netscape. If so, try using that. It should solve the problem. If you don't have another browser already, you can download one in just a few minutes. They are free and there are a number of good ones out there, such as:

It also can't hurt to go get the very latest version of the Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Save the File to Your Hard Drive

Just follow these steps:

  1. Right-click on the PDF link.
  2. Select Save Target As... and then save the file wherever you like on your computer. Be sure you note the folder you save it in!
  3. When it's done downloading, Open the file like any other. It is now searchable (because you aren't going through Internet Explorer).

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