Posts Tagged ‘#text’

Searchable PDF’s

Helpful Hints | Posted by Dennis April 26th, 2012

“What is a Searchable PDF?”, my customers often ask.  Well, there are basically two ways to scan a document; 1) As a picture.  These can be saved as JPG, BMP, or any other picture format.  BUT they can also be saved as a flat, or picture-style PDF document.  You’ve probably run across these if you’ve ever had a PDF where you COULD NOT select text.  To get around this you need 2) to scan the WORDS within the document.  This is called OCR, or Optical Character Recognition.  The computer tries to interpret every little symbol as a letter or number, and then indexes those words for you, making it SEARCHABLE.  Note that you can often OCR to a Word document or other editor and then spellcheck, edit, etc.  You may need this because the accuracy of the OCR depends on the software and quality of scanned document.  A lot of scanners now offer these options.  OR if you own Adobe Acrobat (rather than just the Reader) it will OCR as well.  Here’s an article that steps you through it (thanks CreativeTechs!). Powerful stuff…

Searching Windows

Helpful Hints, Warnings | Posted by Dennis April 13th, 2012

Trying to find something in Windows 7?  Scratching your head?  No results?  You’re not alone.  Windows XP had a great tool called the “Search Companion” that could find ANYTHING.  In particular, it had the ability to search EVERY FILE for stuff INSIDE it.  So if you needed to find any file with the word giraffe, for example, it was a few clicks away.  Granted, it might take it all day to perform such an exhaustive search, but it could do it with the patience of, um, a Computer.  Things changed when Google Desktop came along.  The new trend was to INDEX everything beforehand, so that searches were very quick.  Microsoft followed suit with their own search gizmo, and the race was on.  These programs go through all your files while you do other things, and create a list of your stuff, and keywords inside.  And therein lies the problem:  a keyword is usually found in the dictionary.  But what if you need to find the number 12345?  Sorry, that’s not indexed.  This is the problem with the Windows 7 search tool.  Besides being clutzy to use, they have taken away the ability to search for “strings” within files.  Supposedly you can type content:”STRING” in the search box to accomplish this, but I tested it and it failed for a random 5 letters/numbers within an Excel file.  Sometimes with Microsoft it’s One step forward, Two steps back.  This is a terrible search tool.  Once again I’d like to say “IF IT AIN’T BROKE DON’T FIX IT”.  Meanwhile, I found some nifty search tools;  1) for general searches of text within files Windows GREP (after the UNIX GREP command) is easy-to-use software that’s quite powerful.  unfortunately it has a hard time with the latest office formats, in particular Excel XLSX files. I believe it could do it, but you have to tell it the column layout of your spreadsheet.  UGH.  Instead, I recommend 2) IceTeaReplacer.  I was able to find my random string within seconds of using this tool, and had the option of replacing it if I wanted.  Very Nice!