Using Keywords for More Searchable PDF Documents

Creating PDF documents has grown in popularity as businesses move to paperless workplaces. There are many reasons to reduce the amount of paper you use. Going paperless helps lower printing, filing, and maintenance costs. Many businesses are driven to reduce paper use due to environmental concerns.

One often overlooked benefit to creating electronic documents with your PDF software is, however, the fact that it makes documents easier to store, and easier to retrieve.

Electronic documents are just easier

Working with electronic documents is much easier than working with paper documents based on space and storage alone. Today’s computer has the ability to store the same number of documents as a room filled with file cabinets.

What’s more, files are easier to find when stored electronically. Folder directories help simplify the navigation process. Instead of flipping through drawers of manila file folders, you only have to click on a few folders on your desktop.

When a large organization deals with hundreds of thousands of documents stored in multiple locations, however, it can be hard to find the right file even in the most organized paperless office. Fortunately, you have the power to make PDF files more searchable.

Making documents searchable with PDF software

In most PDF software applications, you can assign properties to a document when you’re creating it. You can set basic information, such as the title, subject and author, but the most important metadata are the keywords you assign to your document.

Keywords are one or two word phrases that highlight the important content within a document. These terms are often the ones that people use to search for content online, or even when searching for electronic documents at work. By using the Properties feature of PDF Editor software such as Foxit PhantomPDF, you make it easier for others to find important files based on this search data.

Using keywords properly

The ability to add keywords to a PDF document is a great tool, however, it can be tempting to go overboard. Best practices aren’t to add as many keywords as you can think of to a file.

Too many keywords can widen the search, but it can also produces false positives. For example, if you create a file about email polices, you might choose keywords such as email policies, email procedures and email use. Now if someone else created a file listing company email addresses and used one of these keywords, it would appear in the search results. Someone looking for your company policies on email use would have to weed through these extraneous files.

Best practices mean using only keywords that support the main content of the document as it helps keep the search results more manageable.

Foxit’s PDF software, PhantomPDF, allows you to add keywords and other metadata to make searching for files easy. In addition to this feature, Foxit provides PDF IFilter that works with Microsoft’s IFilter indexing service to extract data from PDF documents to provide users with the most precise search results possible.

With judicious use of these two features, you can offer a very searchable path to the PDF documents your readers want to find.

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