Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Is there a Unicode-aware grep for Windows 32-bit?

share|improve this question

closed as off-topic by bwDraco, Nifle, mdpc, Kevin Panko, Mokubai May 11 '15 at 18:04

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "Questions seeking product, service, or learning material recommendations are off-topic because they become outdated quickly and attract opinion-based answers. Instead, describe your situation and the specific problem you're trying to solve. Share your research. Here are a few suggestions on how to properly ask this type of question." – bwDraco, Nifle, mdpc, Kevin Panko, Mokubai
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Did you find one that worked with Unicode? It is not at all clear in the answers if the different tools are Unicode-aware or not. – Peter Mortensen May 22 '12 at 9:26
I gave up and used the built-in search of Visual Studio (: – Jeroen Wiert Pluimers May 22 '12 at 11:39
up vote 6 down vote accepted

For a command line tool, look at KeyboardMonkey answer (but I'm not sure about Unicode support).

For an (open source) GUI tool: dnGREP

  • Shell integration (ability to search from Windows Explorer)
  • Plain text, regular expression, and XPath search (including case-insensitive search)
  • Phonetic search (using Bitap and Needleman-Wunch algorithms)
  • File move/copy/delete actions
  • Search inside archives / MS Word documents / PDF documents (via plug-ins)
  • Undo functionality
  • Optional integration with text editor (like Notepad++)
  • Bookmarks (ability to save regular expression searches for the future)
  • Pattern test form
  • Search result highlighting
  • Does not require installation (can be run from a USB drive)

enter image description here

For a more simple (only search) GUI tool: AstroGrep and for a more featured (and expensive) one: PowerGREP

share|improve this answer
According to gizmo's freeware, "Replace Text" is another interesting option – fluxtendu Feb 9 '10 at 18:13

Update: GnuWin32 is a more recently maintained port of these tools. (Thanks Quack)

Here is a list of the packages and to download grep individually.

Have a look at UnxUtils, which includes grep as well. I use these on my work PC, too.

share|improve this answer
UnxUtils is old and unsupported -- last updated in 2003. try GnuWin32 for a more recent toolset: – quack quixote Feb 9 '10 at 18:16
Thanks for the update, quack! – invert Feb 11 '10 at 6:28

Most versions of Windows include the command "findstr" which works much like grep. I do not know about its Unicode abilities, but to my knowledge there shouldn't be any problems with that.

share|improve this answer

Yes, as fluxtendu mentions,

  • PowerGREP will do all that. But it is proprietary and costs 149 Euros.
  • dnGREP will work too, and has a similar feature set for free.


  • Cygwin can also install grep (and a whole lot more if you want.) It will do Unicode search with the -U switch. I would recommend Cygwin as the simplest solution if you're familiar with Unix grep. Just make sure to append your PATH and you can use it in the Windows shell too.
share|improve this answer

I asked this question a while back and finally discovered grepWin which is a GUI via the shell context menu. Works quite well.

share|improve this answer
Just back from holiday, I saw this. Thanks! – Jeroen Wiert Pluimers Dec 6 '12 at 21:33

This is an old question, but to anyone else wondering the simplest way to do this there is a win utility called "strings" which does exactly what you're after.

Basically, it pulls all the unicode out of files so you can then pipe it to whatever windows grepalike you use be it findstr (native) or like me, gnuwin32 grep for windows (does what it says on the tin)

so you get something like

strings *.odf | grep -i "texttosearch"

findstr works too for a lot of things but grep is just all around better.

share|improve this answer
How, exactly, does this answer the question?  The strings program is used for finding text strings that are mixed in with non-text (“binary”) data; e.g., executable files.  The question doesn’t say anything about having text strings embedded in binary data.  … … … … … … … …  What if I want to search a Unicode text file for characters like π and ?  Would I type strings dissertation | findstr "π"?  Doesfindstr handle Unicode?  If it does, then why not just say findstr "π" dissertation, which was suggested five years ago?  If it doesn’t, then what have you gained? – G-Man May 9 '15 at 22:57
good point. I suppose I didn't properly grasp what the questioner was after – Some_Guy May 9 '15 at 23:14

See BareGrep (free version has a startup splash screen), which seems to be a quite complete graphical grep. The documentation mentions support for "Many file formats", so I would imagine that Unicode is included.

enter image description here

share|improve this answer
I'm pretty sure it does NOT support Unicode. I tried it and it doesn't work on UTF-16 files. Have emailed them to confirm. – O'Rooney Sep 2 '13 at 0:55

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .