Home > MOSS, scan, search, SharePoint > Searching Scanned pdf files in SharePoint

Searching Scanned pdf files in SharePoint

If you need to search a scanned pdf file in SharePoint. Adobe ifilter (free) does not have a capability to search through a scanned pdf file.

Let’s dig out what does scanned pdf means for those who are scratching their heads so as to what’s this exactly is.

Here you go…a scanned pdf is one that is created by scanning physical paper like pages of a book, legal documents, etc. see below


While doing a proof-of concept exercise for a prospect we encountered this behavior (inability to search through scanned pdf files) and if you are interested how we overcame the issue…please read on

After analyzing various aspects as to what best can be done so as to facilitate "scanned pdf" searching in SharePoint, we zeroed in on the following three options. The crux is to make the scanned pdf a searchable dual layer pdf which has not only the scanned image but also a layer of the text from the image. The technology to read text from "Image" is known as OCR (Optical Character Recognition)

  1. Use an OCR tool which converts the "scanned pdf" directly to "dual layer pdf" i.e. (image + OCR text) and upload the resulting pdf to SharePoint and the adobe ifilter will take care of indexing the document.

    Following are the few such products:

    Nuance PDF Converter Enterprise

    Solid PDF Tools


    These products come with an API as well, that means you can automate the complete process.

  2. Use an open source OCR tool to retrieve the text from the pdf file and store it as a metadata for the pdf document inside a SharePoint document library. Do a full crawl of the site and you are up and running with the solution to scan



  3. Use an Ifilter specifically targeted towards such pdf documents.


List of OCR Software’s


  1. CuneiForm
  2. GOCR
  3. Ocrad
  4. OCRopus
  5. Tesseract


  1. Expervision
  2. FineReader
  3. Microsoft Office Document Imaging
  4. OmniPage
  5. Readiris

Till next time…

Categories: MOSS, scan, search, SharePoint
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