DocFetcher

Problems

DocFetcher supports the PDF format by default but shows its limits when displaying visually sophisticated documents with many illustrations and tables in the text display: Usually only the simple text appears without special formatting. Since DocFetcher displays PDF documents in the ASCII character set, the program does not correctly display special layout forms, such as texts with a multi-column layout. To eliminate this shortcoming, double-click on the match in the upper part of the window to start the PDF viewer installed on the operating system; the viewer then loads the document. In the document viewer, however, you then need to search for the desired term once again.

Another special feature is the handling of HTML content in DocFetcher. Because the software uses a lightweight, integrated web browser to display HTML content, when you click on an HTML file in the search results, its contents appears as a web page in the preview window.

You do need be careful when browsing web pages: Due to a lack of an ad blocker or a pop-up blocker in the integrated web browser, annoying advertisements could open; in our lab, a pop-up ad actually caused the entire program to crash. And vulnerabilities in the integrated browser cannot be ruled out. Do not use DocFetcher to retrieve unknown links.

Portable

DocFetcher lets users maintain portable repositories. These portable repositories can be stored on external data carriers such as DVDs or USB sticks, which you can carry with you. You can carry a complete repository of your documents, including the index files. To create a repository, you also need to save the program directory. Repositories archived in this way support full-text searching in the entire data collection.

To ensure portability when you create a new index, check the box to enable the Store Relative Paths option in the Miscellaneous settings area of the Indexing Queue settings dialog. This option ensures that the index is not rendered unusable with incorrect path specifications – the mount points may change from system to system.

Conclusions

I recommend DocFetcher as a search and indexing program for the desktop. The software is fast and stable, and it supports very simple and intuitive use; you will not need to spend your energy on time-consuming installations with database backends. One of DocFetcher's few shortcomings is the lack of support for some free formats, especially when it comes to multimedia. However, if you work primarily with ODF documents or PDF files, you should get along well with DocFetcher.

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