Is it possible to search for LaTeX characters like \alpha in a PDF file? Perhaps there's some PDF reader that can do that?

  • 1
    Just search for α. If you want to make equations copyable and searchable in PDF see tex.stackexchange.com/a/119718/31416
    – giordano
    Jul 1, 2013 at 21:26
  • @giordano That is a great feature! Are you sure those ActualTexts are searchable as well? (too lazy to test right now)
    – MaxAxeHax
    Jul 1, 2013 at 23:21
  • @MHaaZ yes, I tried before posting ;-)
    – giordano
    Jul 2, 2013 at 7:41

1 Answer 1


It's not quite as comfortable as it could be, but here's how I do it:

  • Open the Character Map on your system
  • Copy the symbol you want to search for in the PDF
  • Do a normal text search (Ctrl+F on most readers) and paste the special symbol

Of course this only works with single symbols and not if you want to search for bigger parts of formulas (for example something like \frac{\alpha}{8 \times d_{k}^{3.17}}. Still, better than nothing...

For me, this works with the PDF Viewer evince to find the small character "α" (\alpha). It works for pretty much every Unicode character you want to look for.

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