The following is a Plus Edition article, written by and copyright by Dick Eastman.Some PDF files can be searched for any word or phrase. Other PDF files cannot. Until recently, the ability to allow searches was at the PDF file creator's option: anyone who created a PDF file could decide whether or not to make the files searchable. That option has now become moot as several companies have created solutions to convert any non-searchable PDF files into searchable PDF files, regardless of what the file creator intended.
Why should you care? I would suggest there are many needs for genealogists to search PDF files. For one example, the books you download from Google Books are non-searchable PDF files. Wouldn't it be a help to be able to search every word in those books for specific names, locations, or even occupations? That is but one of hundreds of reasons you might want to search a PDF file.
In a series of articles, I will describe three of those solutions:
- The first is this article that describes an easy method that will work with Windows or Macintosh, but costs quite a bit of money.
- The second article will describe a rather inexpensive (but not free) method of converting non-searchable PDFs into searchable PDFs by using a Macintosh.
- The third article will describe a free, but rather complex, method of converting non-searchable PDFs to searchable PDFs on any Windows, Macintosh, or Linux system but may require a second computer or a virtual computer. The second computer must be a PC, although it can be an older, obsolete PC that you have lying around in the closet. Yes, it's complex, but it’s also free, assuming you already have the required hardware. Quite often I will expend extra time and effort to save hard-earned cash. Perhaps you do the same.
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