Searchable PDF Turns Your Documents Into an Information Goldmine

Change the way you search for information - and do business - with the searchable PDF. Your printers can deliver a huge productivity boost to your office – by scanning paper documents for storage and fast retrieval.

You have multiple file format options to save those newly digitized documents to -- TIFF, PDF, PDF/A, and JPEG are the most common options.

Each option has pros and cons. Today, I’m going to provide an overview of the benefits of searchable PDF.

Before going further, a quick note: PDF is also no longer owned by Adobe (who created the format). PDF has been an open standard for years. The format is governed by a standards board, so there’s no concern about the format being ruled by the whims of a single company any longer.

Searchable PDF -- What Is It?

Digitizing documents makes it faster to find documents again. However, finding the relevant paragraph or piece of information in a 20-page PDF document, such as a contract, can be tedious.

PDF is a fantastic file format to use when sharing and storing digital documents.

It truly lives up to its name -- “Portable Document Format.”

There are two basic document retrieval methods:

  1. Metadata -- documents are retrieved with a set list of tags such as customer name, account number, invoice number, file name, etc.

  2. Full-text search -- retrieval based on any word or set of words in a document (this is how you search online)

Searchable PDF enables the second type of retrieval. You can use just about any document scanning software to scan a document and then save it as a PDF. In searchable PDF, software called optical character recognition (OCR) then creates a searchable version of the document.

Now you can find the right document and more easily find the specific information you need WITHIN the document.

Searchable PDF, like any PDF file, is also easy to share. The free Adobe Reader is used by nearly everyone. If for some reason someone doesn’t have it, a download is a click away.

Sounds good, right?

Let’s say you have a 50-page PDF user manual for a product. Instead of flipping through the pages and manually scanning each one for the information you need, type in a word or phrase and find what you’re looking for in seconds.

For those with visual impairment, searchable PDFs are more legible and can be “read”, unlike a regular PDF file, which is essentially a black box of shapes.

Searchable PDFs can also be found online, which can help with customer support. In addition to the formatting and download abilities of PDF, a searchable PDF online can be searched allowing a customer to answer a question without having to call your customer support staff.

Start Finding!

Everyone spends extra minutes to hours each day looking for the right information they need to do their jobs. Stop looking and start finding! Searchable PDF makes your digital documents even more useful by allowing employees and customers the ability to find the information they need to answer their questions.

Better productivity and an improved customer experience, searchable PDFs will help you accomplish both.

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