TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
In response to Susana's query about whether one can do a search with PDFs,
Garret Romaine wrote (in part)
>I know you can do limited searches inside Acrobat 4.0. Once you open the
>document, you click on the binoculars button and enter your text string in
>the "Find What" box. There are a bunch of other navigation aids, like the
>major headings in the left margin.
What you describe here is what Acrobat calls "Find" rather than "Search",
which is quite a different capability. The Find function is available in all
versions of Acrobat Reader and Acrobat Exchange (which is no longer
called that in 4.0). The Search function (which uses a toolbar icon that
has a report page behind the binoculars) is only available in the Exchange
application or in an expanded version of the Reader application that Adobe
calls (logically enough) Reader + Search.
The Find function works only within the open PDF file and can do only
simple word or phrase searches.
The Search function allows more complex queries and can operate across
a collection of PDF documents, but it requires a pre-built index. Search
can actually execute a query across multiple index files, each of which
can encompass multiple PDF files, but without at least one such index
file the Search function is not available. The indexes are built using the
Acrobat Catalog application, which is part of the complete Acrobat suite.
>What you can't do is search through the PDF library from outside. If you
>need to know which PDF contains a reference to a certain text string, I
>think you'd need HTML for that.
Umm, I'm not sure I understand you're exact point here. Finding specific
content on a website requires a search engine and/or a pre-built index
of the site, neither of which are givens. Susana mentions distributing the
docs on a CD as well as making them available on the company's website,
and in that circumstance the use of PDF documents with pre-built index(es)
and the Acrobat Reader + Search application offers a clear advantage over
HTML because there is no need to provide a typically expensive third-party
Senior Technical Writer
Dialogic--an Intel company