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Your top 3 tools?

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Posted by Dr Andus
Feb 27, 2013 at 10:50 AM

 

MadaboutDana wrote:
>3) Use Adobe Reader X (my favourite so far) to search for specific terms
>in all documents in the folder. Adobe Reader’s Advanced Search function
>is ignored by most people, but is in fact very efficient and pretty
>quick. It is capable of carrying out Boolean searches on all PDF
>documents in a given folder (including any subfolders of that folder).
>It then produces a list of hits - and this is where the outlining comes
>in. The list includes individual documents with, underneath the name of
>each document, a list of hits comprising chunks of every single sentence
>in which the search term(s) occur. The actual terms are highlighted in
>each chunk, and if you decide a particular document isn’t relevant, you
>can collapse (fold) the list of hits for that particular document so you
>can concentrate on other documents. If you want to view a particular
>sentence in more detail, you simply click on it and Adobe Reader
>immediately pulls up a separate window with the document in it and the
>search term conveniently highlighted. It’s easy to copy text out of
>Reader if you want to. You can, of course, have multiple Reader windows
>open if you want.

Bill, interesting process, thanks for the description. However, I was intrigued that you found Adobe Reader better for search than PDF-XChange Viewer. I only have Reader 9, but I’ve just compared the searches side-by-side with XChange, and XChange was not only incomparably faster but it also found more entries!

I ran the test on a folder with 87 PDFs and some Word files, and for a one-word search term Adobe Reader found 8 documents with 36 instances (telling me one doc is inaccessible for being corrupt), while XChange found 9 documents with 58 entries (search lasting 12 sec - no stats produced by Adobe).

That’s a pretty big difference! On top of that the search result was skewed because Adobe also included the Word files, while XChange didn’t. So Adobe only returned 3 PDFs, while XChange found 9 PDFs!

 


Posted by Graham Rhind
Feb 27, 2013 at 02:57 PM

 

Oh, how I envy those able to name just three “main” applications! But as Dr Andus did specify just outliner, PIM, writing, note-taking I suppose I would have plump for:

1) OneNote, as a general repository, library and archive

2) ConnectedText, for creating information wikis which will end up as websites

3) The Brain, for a project that is already a website but is too cumbersome to move to ConnectedText

Graham

 


Posted by MadaboutDana
Feb 27, 2013 at 03:05 PM

 

Oh wow! I blush to admit that I haven’t really investigated PDF-Xchange Viewer’s Search function - it never occurred to me that it would be comparable (indeed, according to your experiment, superior) to Reader’s. Wow! That’s really exciting - I shall check it out forthwith. I already thought that PDF-Xchange Viewer was the cat’s whiskers - a really powerful search function would turn it into the dog’s boll… well, I’ll report back, anyway.

 


Posted by MadaboutDana
Feb 27, 2013 at 03:52 PM

 

Wow. Well, my first investigations of PDF-Xchange Viewer’s search function hasn’t uncovered such a large discrepancy between search results as yours, Dr. Andus, but my sample was much smaller. My observations:

- search options are pretty much identical, but PDF-Xchange Viewer’s are nicely packaged in a simple ‘Options’ menu that appears when you open the ‘Search PDF’ box; preferable to the slightly scattered spread of options in Adobe Reader X’s layout.

- the ‘Search PDF’ box in PDF-Xchange Viewer appears as a sidebar, which is nice and neat. On the other hand, in certain circumstances I can see myself preferring Adobe Reader’s completely separate ‘Search’ window.

- subjectively, speed of search is much the same (albeit with a relatively small sample). Both applications speed up significantly once they’ve carried out a first search through a given folder/subfolders, so clearly there’s some kind of cacheing going on.

- presentation of results is much the same: both use a friendly outliner-like layout, with document names as the main (top-level) nodes and search ‘hits’ neatly listed as subnodes, presented as fragments of sentences/phrases containing the highlighted search terms.

- when you click on a specific search ‘hit’ (‘instance’ in Reader, ‘entry’ in Viewer), both applications pull up the relevant document almost instantaneously, with the relevant hit term highlighted in the middle of the document window.

So at the very least, PDF-Xchange Viewer matches Adobe Reader X for convenience, accuracy and presentation. Add to that the fact that it also allows you to manipulate PDFs (by changing their properties, adding/extracting pages, making notes etc.) and costs about an eighth the price, and the arguments for making PDF-Xchange Viewer into your Adobe Acrobat alternative de choix become weighty!

Thank you so much for that extraordinarily useful revelation!

Cheers,
Bill

 


Posted by Dr Andus
Feb 27, 2013 at 04:23 PM

 

MadaboutDana wrote:
>So at the very least, PDF-Xchange Viewer matches Adobe Reader X for
>convenience, accuracy and presentation. Add to that the fact that it
>also allows you to manipulate PDFs (by changing their properties,
>adding/extracting pages, making notes etc.) and costs about an eighth
>the price, and the arguments for making PDF-Xchange Viewer into your
>Adobe Acrobat alternative de choix become weighty!
>Thank you so much for that extraordinarily useful revelation!

Thank you for bringing this up, as otherwise I wouldn’t have noticed that different PDF readers produce different search results.

Regarding the speed, you might be right, perhaps XChange was faster on my system because it has already indexed the files during past searches, while I don’t tend to use Adobe Reader much.

In the meantime I’ve upgraded to Adobe Reader XI to see if it makes a difference. It returns the same (incomplete) result, except now it includes 4 PDFs (instead of 3). But there is still no sign of the other 6 PDFs that XChange finds with the same search term. I think I’ll be sticking with XChange for my searches for now…

 


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