Finding text inside PDF+text files

I’ve been storing programming manuals in DT PE (well actually just link to them) with the thought that I could search rapidly for function information inside. The manuals show up in DT PE with no security and are identified as PDF+Text. When I enter the function name in the search field of DT PE, the program manual is highlighted. However, the PDF is several hundred pages long and DT PE does not appear to give me any way to find specific page on which the searched for text is to be found. Is there any way to do this in DT PE? The find submenu is completely grayed out.


I don’t think you can do this the way you hope to.

but, once you have located the document you can use the context menu to Open in Preview and search it that way.

I too use DT for storing manuals and other reference documents in pdf and would love to be able to go directly to a reference to a piece of text based on a search. Also the ability to highlight pieces of text and add bookmarks would also be most useful for these documents.


If you import the PDFs using pdftotext, DT will store a plain text version of the manuals. If a search is done, selecting the manual will result in DT displaying the text, scrolling down to and highlighting the first occurence of the search term.

Of course, plain text isn’t as pretty as PDF + text – that’s the downside.

just in case anybody else is confused,

in the preferences for “PDF & PS”

near the bottom is a square check box “Convert to Plain Text” which will cause a PDF to be imported as a text file instead of as PDF+Text.

the two radio buttons above it, “Use built-in pdftotext” and “Use TextLightning” control the application used to extract the text from the PDF.

“built-in pdftotext” is, well, built-in.
TextLightning is a third party shareware application.

thanks very much, all, for your helpful replies.

Can the Pro version of DT do this sort of search?


this is the same in PE and Pro.

I don’t have any inside information, but from the general drift of the responses to PDF questions, I think future development in this area will depend on the possibilities introduced by Tiger.

It seems odd to me that DT PE (or, apparently, Pro) cannot do this since this functionality is already in Preview. I don’t see why this should be a Tiger thing?

I have Acrobat Pro as well as Preview (of course) so I can certainly search for words/phrases within the PDF file, but I would prefer to do it in DT as I keep the program open all the time and Acrobat Pro takes forever to open. Also, I’m keeping code snippets and algorithms in DT. Really, all I would like is the same functionality that is already in Preview. The hooks must already be in the system for this sort of thing.


Adobe owns the PDF file format.

Apple apparently licensed information from Adobe to use in Preview.

Apple did not make that information available to developers, perhaps because the licensing arrangement did not permit it.

Preview uses a private framework and Tiger will make this (or at least a similar) framework available for developers.

Thanks Douglas and Christian for taking the time to clear this up for me.


Eight years later and I am encountering a similar problem.

I thought it very odd that I could not search the contents of the ‘DThink Pro Office Manual.pdf’ file. I had Imported it into DThink so I would have it handy. It shows in the database as a PDF + text file. But Cmd-F Find would not work, either within DThink or in the Mac OS X Preview program.

When I got home, I downloaded a new copy of the PDF - and there is no problem with Find - it works as expected.

Now, my suspicion is that, when you annotate the PDF with DThink, it somehow clobbers the text layer making it non-searchable.

Is this a known issue? Or am I doing something weird with my DThink annotations?