Full-Text Versus Index Searches

What has been covered so far is information about finding content in PDF documents with a very elaborate find feature in Acrobat. The name used in Acrobat to refer to what has been discussed so far is “Search.” Users of earlier versions of Acrobat may take this to mean using Acrobat Search as it was used in Acrobat viewers earlier than version 6.0.

What has been covered thus far, however, is a Search of data files that was greatly improved in Acrobat version 6 and is more powerful in returning results in Acrobat version 8. To understand the difference between the preceding pages and what follows requires a little explanation.

In addition to full-text searches for documents, you can also create a separate index file and search one or more indexes at a time.

Index files provide some benefit in that they are still a little faster than full-text searches, can be automatically assigned to PDF documents in the Advanced tab in the Document Properties, and can be automatically loaded from a CD-ROM, and multiple indexes can be searched so files can be scattered somewhat on your hard drive in different folders.

To provide you with an overall summary for how index file creation and management is dealt with in Acrobat, I give you a short summary of the procedures here. Using index files to perform searches begins with using a current index file or creating a new one.

Users who have been working with index files need to make sure that all your previous indexes are updated for compatibility with Acrobat 8.0 viewers. Index files are created and updated with Acrobat Catalog with Acrobat Professional only.

Catalog is available from a menu selection in the Advanced menu. In Acrobat 8, the menu item has changed location as well as the command name for opening Catalog. Select Advanced >> Document Processing >> Full Text Index with Catalog.

You open Catalog and make a decision for creating a new index or opening an existing index file for rebuilding or editing in the Catalog window. After an index file is created or updated, you load the index file into the Search window. Multiple index files can be loaded and searched.

When you search index files, the results are reported in the Search window like all the searches discussed earlier. Earlier releases of Acrobat offered you options for various menu selections related to managing indexes and loading new index files.

Earlier releases of Acrobat also offered you dialog boxes where results were reported and information about an index file could be obtained. In Acrobat 6.0 and 7.0 viewers, you handle all your index file management in the Search window. Menu commands are limited to viewing search results.

If you edit PDF documents, delete them, or add new documents to folders that have been indexed, you need to rebuild index files periodically. You can purge old data and re-index files in Acrobat Catalog. Index files can be copied to different hard drive locations, across servers, and to external media.

When copying files, you need to copy all files and folders associated with the index file. Failure to copy all the files renders the index inoperable.