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Search multiple PDFs

By skaertus
Dec 27, 2011
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  1. I have a library of 500+ research articles in PDF (about 700-800 MB of my HD). They are all searchable PDFs (I have OCRed the ones which were scanned pages with noi text). The articles are of different sizes, but about 50 pages each.

    I've put these PDFs all together in one folder and now I am looking for a search engine (for Windows 7) which is able to perform full-text searches in this whole library of PDF files. I've tried several pieces of software, but no one has given me a satiisfactory experience. Let me tell you which ones I've used:

    Windows Search: fast and indexes files, but not very straightforward to limit the searches to a specific folder.

    Google Desktop: fast and indexes files, but I have not found a way to linit the searches to PDFs inside a specific folder (I don't want it to search the thousands of PDFs stored in my HD). Plus, it has been discontinued by Google.

    Copernic: fast, indexes files and I can limit the searches to a specific folder. However, it is not able to render properly the text inside the PDFs.

    Mendeley: it creates a database of PDFs, indexes and searches those PDFs included in the database. However, it has crashed due to the large number of PDF files I've added. In addition, it cannot display all the instances of a specific word I search for.

    Zotero: I couldn't even try it, it crashed as I tried to add my PDFs to its database.

    Adobe Reader: it searches all PDF files inside a specific folder. However, the search is very slow (it does not index files). It is able to show all the instances a word is found in each PDF file, renders PDFs greatly and it is possible to read and annotate the PDFs right after the search. But it is sooooo slow.

    PDF X-Change Viewer: prety much the same as Adobe Reader.

    Foxit Reader: the best so far. Just like Adobe Reader and PDF X-Change Viewer, but the searches are a bit faster. In addition, I liked the interface better.

    The ideal solution for me would be if Foxit Reader could index all PDFs inside a specific folder, so searches would be much faster. Is it possible? Is there a solution which I have not yet tried?
  2. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 10,432   +801

    I too use Foxit and love the search external files - - but have no idea about its using an index feature.

    Consider: an index require constant updating if it is to be of real useability.
    Even if just one x.pdf is not included, then there is a possibility that the search fails
    and that was the ONE file with the data that the user needed.

    Personally, I disable the Windows Search due to the impact in both HD space and
    its impact on system wide performance.

    The "right way" to trigger index maintenance (for specific list of name extensions at least) would be to have the software 'hook' the system call that update/create filenames. These would avoid wasted time/effort for files of non-interest and ensure minimal effort. Clearly this would be useable for Foxit, but not a general solution. Write the authors of Foxit with the suggestion.
  3. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,729   +409

    You are using foxit reader and clicking the binocs and then specifying a folder? Thats how I do it, but it isn't indexed.

    Suppose it would be faster with a SSD :)
  4. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 10,432   +801

    Me too :)

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