Searching specifics in PDF document

New Here ,
Apr 21, 2021 Apr 21, 2021

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Is it possible to search a string of words, that are not in order but in close poximity to one another in a PDF document?

Let's say I have a 100 page document with a lot of instances of the word "violence". So when I search "violence" it pops up 100 times. I would like to narrow this down to "violence" and "New York". The words are never next to each other but within 2 sentences. The search would only show findings where "violence" and "New York" are together but not next to each other within 2 sentences.

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Create PDFs, Edit and convert PDFs, How to

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Most Valuable Participant ,
Apr 21, 2021 Apr 21, 2021

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This is very tricky to do in a PDF file. There's a "proximity" option in the Advanced Search window but only if you search more than one file (for some reason), and you can't set what that "proximity" is, exactly. On top of that, there isn't really a concept of "sentences" in a PDF file. Distance between words can be measured in physical units (ie. how far apart they are from each other on the page), or in terms of distances in their internal order, but word #11 on the page can be nowhere near word #10, so that's a bit problematic, too.

 

I've developed a (paid-for) script that's a more advanced version of the Proximity Search command. It lets you define the distance (in words) between the two search terms and offers a bunch of other useful features, such as highlight the matching results, and even "connecting" them using lines. You can find it here, if you're interested:

https://www.try67.com/tool/acrobat-reader-advanced-proximity-search

 

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New Here ,
Apr 21, 2021 Apr 21, 2021

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Hello try67!

This looks very promising, I'd be willing to buy something like this. I am curious how this applies to searching under time pressure, i.e. when I am holding a presentation or taking an open book exam.

 

The usual search function is very smooth, I can just press ctrl+alt+f and type in what I want without defining any parameters beforehand. Can I define the search parameters before and how fast would I be able to search, does it deviate from the normal handy version?

 

Thanks a lot!

 

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Most Valuable Participant ,
Apr 21, 2021 Apr 21, 2021

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It's possible to define the search terms in advance if you don't want them to change, but the search speed using the script is much slower than the built-in command, I'm afraid.

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