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Grep in Microsoft Word?

I'd like to pull all lines with a given string from a word document. In unix world... grep does this without a glitch. Windows is less than obvious for me.

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7 Answers 7

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With Cygwin (or access to a Linux machine) you could

antiword file.doc | grep "my phrase"

or

catdoc file.doc | grep "my phrase"

There are lots of command-line file format converters out there to grep in a similar fashion.

Purely in-Word solution could be to Ctrl+F (Find), and then Find All - however, I'm not sure if all versions of MS Word have Find All button.

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    When I saw the question title I thought "Ha! That'd be nice, wouldn't it". Never again should I underestimate GNU programmers.
    – Phoshi
    Nov 14, 2009 at 0:08
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    The most recent version of catdoc segfaults on every .doc/.docx file I give it, and antiword just tells me my document "is not a Word Document". Do you know of any other options?
    – detly
    Nov 1, 2014 at 1:53
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    Nothing that I've used... Quick search shows that docx2txt exists in Debian repositories - might work. I'd also look into the OpenOffice/LibreOffice command-line format conversion utility (unoconv), which could be used for the same purpose.
    – chronos
    Nov 11, 2014 at 18:56
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    @detly antiword doesn't work with .docx files, only the older MS Word formats. That's probably why it didn't recognise your document.
    – AJM
    Sep 22, 2020 at 17:03
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I know this sounds primitive, but what's stopping you from saving the file as .txt and then ripping it apart to your liking.

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    Having hundreds of them to do it for, is what.
    – tchrist
    Jan 30, 2013 at 16:42
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What does "line" mean in a Word context? The displayed line, which changes if you do anything to the page formatting? The paragraph? Something else?

You can do a bunch of stuff with Word's find-and-replace functions, including changing the formatting and other non-obvious things, but all of them will only act on the find-what text itself, not on any surrounding text.

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  • grep's got that regex lovin', though!
    – Phoshi
    Nov 14, 2009 at 0:13
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There is support for MS documents - Word, PowerPoint, Excel - in CRGREP which I've developed as a free opensource tool. It also greps other hard to search stuff like database tables, images, audio, archives, PDF and combinations of these. Have fun.

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Not got enough rep to comment but I can see this doc vs docx issue discussed so anyone chasing the thread (like I was) may find this helpful.

You do not need a special tool for docx files. docx are zipped XML files.

To extract and strip the XML try something based on

unzip -p "*.docx" word/document.xml | sed -e 's/<[^>]\{1,\}>//g; s/[^[:print:]]\{1,\}//g'

from command line fu

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PowerGREP will do exactly that for you, and fast - but not free. It's worth every penny, though, in my opinion. Plus, there is a 30-day free trial.

Screenshot of PowerGREP searching through a Word file

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Fast, free, open-source, and cross-platform solution: https://github.com/phiresky/ripgrep-all

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