[xplorer˛] — Desktop search plugins
home » blog » 30 January 2011

If you are using any of the popular document formats on your desktop (MS Office DOC, OpenOffice ODT, Wordperfect WPD and Adobe PDF) you will prefer to preview and search for text in these files, when hunting for that old letter or invoice. If you opted for a full install of these office suits most probably you will have the search and preview functionality already set and working. When you select such a document in xplorer˛ professional you will see a plain text preview in the quickviewer (draft tab), indicating all is working properly. If on the other hand you see gibberish (the layman's term for HEX preview :) then something is amiss. There are a few common sticky issues:
  • The IFilter plugin for the document class isn't installed
  • Or the wrong version is installed (especially on 64 bit windows)
plain text preview for DOC file

Order can be restored by installing the correct plugin. The open architecture of windows shell allows each document type to provide a so called IFilter plugin, that enables the plain text access for searching and preview. These namespace extensions are meant for Microsoft indexing service and Windows desktop search but xplorer˛ professional can also tap into them. Who said that xplorer˛ doesn't have an API for extensibility?

I have googled for the most popular text filter formats and here are the download links for your convenience (all are completely free or free for personal use).

You only need these extensions if the preview doesn't work already or you cannot find text in these document formats, otherwise you are already all set. Make sure you match the 32/64 bit version of the plugin you want to use with xplorer˛. This is especially true for Adobe that only offers 32 bit version PDF IFilter, so if you want to use text services with xplorer˛ 64 bit you must get the Foxit reader plugin mentioned above.

Finally remember that to search for text in complex document types you must tick the search non-text files option (also known as search all files in find files and similar dialogs). Another useful command enabled by text filters is Edit > Extract text menu. As the name implies you can extract the pure text without formatting from complex DOC/PDF/ODT/WPD documents.

And now you have your desktop search all sorted, try to get your head around this contraption.

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