Ubuntu – Software for text search in files


I am looking for a software that will search text in files from a folder similar to XYplorer.

Is there something similar?

Best Answer

There is a very nice one that shipped with Ubuntu out of the box until 16.04. For modern releases, read the update below!

  1. Open the Dash (Super key or the Ubuntu button) and begin typing until you find Search for Files

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  2. The above is for Unity, the default Desktop Environment in Ubuntu. In menu-driven environments, go to Applications -> Accessories -> Search for Files

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  3. Expand the Select more options section and enter the text to search for in the Contains the text: input field.

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  • 100% GUI
  • You can search for file names or content
  • It does look in sub-folders.

Given your scenario (no terminal commands, simple to use interface) I think theres no better option.

PS: on the Contains the text: input field the '.' character is a wildcard. To escape it you have to use '[]'. E.g.: type Contains the text: [.]myFunction to search for .myFunction

UPDATE: Gnome Search Tool was unfortunately removed from Ubuntu on early 2018. For Ubuntu 18.04 onwards there's mate-search-tool, from the mate-utils package, that looks and behave exactly like the defunct Gnome tool:

sudo apt install mate-utils

However, its associated .desktop launcher does not show by default in Gnome/Unity menu, but a simple edit can workaround that:

sed '/^OnlyShowIn/s/^/#/' /usr/share/applications/mate-search-tool.desktop \
> "$HOME"/.local/share/applications/mate-search-tool.desktop
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