[keywords, finder, PDF, R, Docker, application]

Find Keywords and Sentences from Multiple PDF Files


This is a template for a reproducible Dockerized application, based on R, that finds keywords and/or sentences in multiple PDF files.

  • We use R to first, convert the PDF files into plain text files (.txt).
  • Then, a second R script searches the keywords and/or sentences that are previously defined in those converted text files.
  • Matches are reported into an Excel file, reporting what keyword or sentence was found in which file.

Docker is used to run the above mentioned process inside an isolated container (see this building block to learn more about containers). By doing so, you can run this application without even having to have R installed in your computer plus it will also run smoothly, regardless of what operating system (OS) you’re using.

Motivating Example

In many situations, we make use of crtl (or "Command" in Mac) + F to find words or sentences in PDF files. However, this can be highly time-consuming, especially if needed to apply in multiple files and/or different keywords or sentences. For instance, we first applied this application in legal research, where we needed to check in over 10,000 court rulings, which ones made reference to a specific law.

Get The Workflow

Need to find keywords or sentences from multiple PDF files? Clone our repository to your local machine and add your PDF files and keywords to get started: