4 Replies Latest reply on Apr 23, 2008 12:43 PM by rafa@mediatech

    Search inside PDFs

    rafa@mediatech Level 1
      Hello everyone!

      I have searched the forums to the answer for my question, but I cant get a clear solution. I have a client who has us do small interactive splash screen which we burn to a disc. Usually this splash screens are one page with links that open PDF. Ok, pretty simple. A while back they decided they didn't want to rely on the user having PDF reader (even though it is free). So we got INM Impressario for Director, and now we can view the PDFs inside Director!!!!

      Now they asked me if there is a way for the user to search for information that is inside the individual PDFs...and I come to you guys.

      Is there a way that a user can search for specific information inside a PDF. Our splash screen will always be on a CD (or thumb drive). If the user types a word, can a list of the PDF containing that information come up as a link which the user can click and opens the PDF containing the information he searched for?

      I am sure it involves an xtra...not sure which one.

        • 1. Re: Search inside PDFs
          Level 7
          The same folks that make Impressario have another xtra called VizionDB
          which will make an index of all the text inside all the PDFs and allow
          for searching.
          • 2. Re: Search inside PDFs
            rafa@mediatech Level 1
            Cool! I downloaded the trial, I'm still waiting for INM to send me the trial key to install it (i think it has been an hour already).

            Mike, have you had any experience using this xtra before? Do I need to have database knowledge to be able to use it?
            • 3. Re: Search inside PDFs
              Level 7
              I used it and it worked from basic searching. You don;t need any
              database knowledge to make it work. It is a little touchy though, and
              crashed a lot.

              I did learn that it can not index a PDF that has NO text in it. Some of
              the ones that my client had were made from a bitmap per page, with no
              real text. You would expect that it would find no text and simply not
              index it, but instead, it would crash hard. You need to open the PDF in
              Acrobat and make a text field somewhere off the screen where it can not
              be seen and put some text in it (like the title/author of the PDF), then
              it would not crash.

              And it will also crash if you are trying to index the PDFs by their
              metadata, if the metadata has certain characters. For example, when you
              are typing in Word, and you use quotes, it converts them to "curly
              quotes". If you copy/paste from Word into the metadata fields for
              author, title, etc, the indexer will crash. Of course my client had
              done just that.

              Once the indexer does its thing and actually indexes everything, things
              went more smoothly. You must index the files before distribution, and
              you can not add new PDFs or change the existing ones unless you re-index
              the whole lot. That was a little annoying, but I understand why it
              would have to be that way.

              I also had some trouble with the xtra crashing the projector on Mac,
              when it was running off non-writable media (like CD). I got it to work
              eventually, but it took a good bit of cursing and yelling like an idiot.
              Make sure you test everything as it will be delivered... that is the
              take away lesson here.

              • 4. Re: Search inside PDFs
                rafa@mediatech Level 1
                Wow, I'm sorry to hear you had to play around with it so much to get it to work. The client has not ask any of their projects to be cross platform (yet). All the PDFs they have given us in the past are full of text, so hopefully i can get it to work smooth.

                I am still waiting for the trial key from INM. I'm just going to go ahead an email them see whats up, it taking way too long.

                Thanks for your help Mike.