I have the PDF "GNU Image Manipulation Program: User Manual" downloaded to both my Windows PC, and my iMac OS X v.10.9.5.

The search function works perfectly in my PC, using Adobe Reader, but it doesn't work at all in my Mac, using neither Preview, nor Firefox browser. Not even my newly-acquired (in a desperate attempt at the end of a long frustrating day of troubleshooting as best i know how!) Skim PDF reader!

I tried re-downloading the PDF file to my Mac, still no luck. Then, I thought, maybe it's the reader; perhaps there's some quirk in this "GNU" PDF, that makes most readers unable to recognize all its text as a fully searchable component? (And maybe Adobe Reader is extra powerful in that regard?)

(I tried then double-checking, to be sure that i could use the search function on my Mac in other PDFs, and yes I can! I searched through every one I tried perfectly, and I tried several, — all except this "GNU" PDF work fine!

Unfortunately, when I searched online for an Adobe Reader download for my Mac, it seems that it does not exist for Mac!

Maybe the reason I couldn't make at least my Firefox search in this "GNU" PDF in my MAC, is due to the add-on which i have only for Windows not for Mac: Adobe Acrobat PDF Plug-In For Firefox 11.0.8. It seemed perhaps a more functional app than Preview, or than the app I now have in Firefox on MAC, which is the built-in Firefox PDF viewer('Free Foxit Reader').

But, alas, my search for that Adobe Acrobat add-on showed it also unavailable for Macs.

One thing I did find, though this might be just out of my desperation to find anything at all that might be do-able (since this "GNU" PDF is crucial for me, as I depend upon the GIMP program it pertains to and have had no success in installing the contextual help itself and without being able to search this PDF, I am hopelessly lost!)

It's this link: http://www.macupdate.com/app/mac/73/adobe-reader (= Adobe Reader for Mac- Mac Update) = at http://creative.adobe.com/ .

But it seems to me to be probably only an "update" to something that maybe was available at one time, as i cannot find an actual Adobe Reader app for Mac?

Does anyone have any ideas? What have i not tried or what am I not understanding?


I've never experienced anything like you described. Try downloading Adobe Reader here. If the Search doesn't work with Adobe or Skim (my preferred choice), I would question whether your PDF file has been created / encoded correctly.

Given that Adobe invented the PDF standard, I would think Adobe Reader is the de-factor standard in displaying / rendering PDF files - check if you can open the same file on PC using Adobe there.


I would guess that your Spotlight is not indexing PDF files for some reason. You can check this by opening System Preferences > Spotlight, and ensuring that "PDF Documents" is checked. More info at #3 here: https://www.alfredapp.com/help/troubleshooting/indexing/

  • Thanks everyone! Brian Duddy, i read the linked article you gave here, but i have no idea about "Alfred". I have never heard of that before. And the info there talks about searching for files, not for text within a file. (?) – Z Ixazaluoh Jan 8 '18 at 9:01

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