I am working on a very large technical manual in InDesign. For the vast majority of the pages, I import pdfs with technical drawings and specifications my R&D department creates in AutoCAD. I need the text specifications to be searchable in the final document, but can't figure out how to do this.
The text is searchable when I open the pdfs independently, but once they are placed in InDesign, search function is lost. I've tried altering the Import Options, but still no luck.
You're correct. Placed PDF files are just "images" essentially. They are not searchable, and you cannot click on hyperlinks or other interactivity within them. It's just the way it is. You have to open the link to the "real" PDF to search them, as you have found.
Somewhat of a workaround: Put all your linked PDFs into a folder. In Acrobat, you can use the Advanced Search feature (Edit > Advanced Search) and choose to search the folder of PDF files you have placed.
Shoot. That's what I figured, but the R&D team kept telling me there had to be a way ...
See my workaround which I just added.