Index PDF files with Windows 7 64-bit

In a previous post I offered some hints for getting Windows Search to work better. Here’s another one.

Adobe PDF files are ubiquitous, so you’d expect to be able to index them. But Windows doesn’t ship with a “filter” for this format, so you have to download your own. According to Adobe:

Adobe currently bundles a 32-bit PDF iFilter with Adobe Acrobat® 9 as well as free Adobe Reader® 9 software. It uses the Microsoft iFilter interface and allows third-party indexing tools to extract text from Adobe PDF files.

In response to customer requests, Adobe is releasing Adobe PDF iFilter 9 for 64-bit platforms, which will allow searching PDF files on Microsoft® Windows® 64-bit platforms for applications such as Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007, Microsoft Exchange Server 2007, and Microsoft SQL Server 2005.

At least for me, the 32-bit filter version that got installed with Adobe Reader 9 apparently doesn’t work on Windows 7 64-bit, and worst of all, fails silently so you would never know there’s a problem. So install the download at the link above. After that you probably need to rebuild your index, but should get your PDF files indexed from that point forward.

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