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(Archived) How on Earth does this work? - Searching PDFs on iPad


QFieldBoden

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Hi

 

I hope someone can explain to me how this works because it really intrigues me. I'm using Evernote on my iMac, a MacBook and on an iPad, I love it. On the iMac I have quite  a lot of notes with attached PDFs and when I do a search the text within the PDFs is also searched as expected which is fine.

 

If I am at home on my wireless network and therefore have Internet access and do the same search on the iPad the searches work fine, the results are the same and the text within the PDFs is searched, all good so far.

 

Now, if I leave home and repeat the search when I am offline the notes are searched but the text within the attached PDFs  is not searched, i.e.. the same saved searches yield far fewer results because the text within the PDFs is not searched.

 

I know from my reading that this is expected behaviour but I'd be very interested if someone could clarify exactly how this works. When I'm online are my PDFs on the iPad actually being searched on the Evernote servers rather than on the iPad itself and the results returned that way, that's all I can think of?

 

Searches on the MacBook work fine online or offline, in the same way as on the iMac.

 

Just intrigued!

 

Thanks.

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I am working under the assumption that you do not have any of these notebooks set to be accessible offline on your ipad (a premium feature).

If this Is the case, then without wifi the only thing you can access is a small cache of your note content and you cannot access attachments because they are stored on the server.

If you have notebooks set up to be available offline using the premium feature, then I can only imagine you are right in speculating that the search query is sent to servers to look inside attachments but I have no evidence except your anecdote to go on! Perhaps a staffer will comment!

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I am working under the assumption that you do not have any of these notebooks set to be accessible offline on your ipad (a premium feature).

If this Is the case, then without wifi the only thing you can access is a small cache of your note content and you cannot access attachments because they are stored on the server.

If you have notebooks set up to be available offline using the premium feature, then I can only imagine you are right in speculating that the search query is sent to servers to look inside attachments but I have no evidence except your anecdote to go on! Perhaps a staffer will comment!

 

Thanks for the reply. No, the notebooks ARE set to be accessible offline and I can open the individual notes and open their attached PDFs offline without any problem at all. Your last para hits the nail on the head, it's when I do a search that the issue arises. So, if I'm out on the road (offline) and wanted to search a bunch of notes with PDFs attached the search does not look in the PDFs but only the note text itself, until you go online again. Just seems really odd to me as the concept of having notebooks available offline should I feel also include the ability to search the documents (PDFs) attached to those notes/notebooks. This is certainly a -ve for me as huge chunk of my material is attached PDFs which are essentially a search "black hole" when I'm offline  :(

 

I hope we do get an explanation, I can't think of anything other than the one I suggested.

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  • Level 5*

Evernote don't typically explain differences like this,  so I'm afraid explanations aren't likely to be forthcoming.  They will have noted the comments,  so a fix may be in the pipeline somewhere - unless it's already been started.  Again Evernote don't typically comment on those things either.

 

I just did a quick test with a voucher reference that only exists inside two PDFs on my desktop system but only one is found by my Android phone,  which is online with theoretical access to the whole of my database.  So yes,  there are differences in the way things are searched.  If there are any specifics to your searches you may be able to level the playing field somewhat by using tags and detailed titles in your notes - meanwhile we'll have to wait and see if there are search improvements on the way.

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  • Level 5*

The lack of PDF content in search results is a little-known mobile limit.

http://www.christopher-mayo.com/?p=169

I have developed my own solution to deal with it.

http://www.christopher-mayo.com/?p=127

As for why it happens, here is my guess: Evernote on the iPad doesn't create or maintain an index, so it relies on the Evernote server for search results. When it is offline, its index, for some reason, is only using an index with data from the text content of notes. Perhaps this is because it wouldn't be able to feed us the results within PDFs, so it leaves them out. I don't know why.

One major problem (for me, anyhow) with relying on the iPad to work for extended periods of time offline is that new content (new and modified notes -- text, PDFs, or anything else) is not indexed. Over time, your account becomes less and less useful until eventually you can't find anything at all. Obviously, most people have regular Internet access and their indexes get updated, so they don't notice, but there are times when this is not the case (trips overseas, cruises, etc.), and this is important to know.

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Than you again for the insights and thoughts on this.

 

For sure it's a limitation and I think often the most important thing is to understand the limitations and to work with them.

 

For me the answer is going to be to use the MacBook for the majority of tasks when offline and to use the iPad for convenience when significant searching is unlikely to be required. At least with the offline notebooks I've got the information with me even if it takes more digging to find it.

 

That said I think it would be a significant improvement if PDF content WAS searched when offline when using iOS.

Link to post

The lack of PDF content in search results is a little-known mobile limit.

http://www.christopher-mayo.com/?p=169

I have developed my own solution to deal with it.

http://www.christopher-mayo.com/?p=127

As for why it happens, here is my guess: Evernote on the iPad doesn't create or maintain an index, so it relies on the Evernote server for search results. When it is offline, its index, for some reason, is only using an index with data from the text content of notes. Perhaps this is because it wouldn't be able to feed us the results within PDFs, so it leaves them out. I don't know why.

One major problem (for me, anyhow) with relying on the iPad to work for extended periods of time offline is that new content (new and modified notes -- text, PDFs, or anything else) is not indexed. Over time, your account becomes less and less useful until eventually you can't find anything at all. Obviously, most people have regular Internet access and their indexes get updated, so they don't notice, but there are times when this is not the case (trips overseas, cruises, etc.), and this is important to know.

 

GrumpyMonkey

 

Thanks for the links, I was interested in the "stripping out text of PDFs using Automator" suggestion and that may be useful to me.

 

I have limited experience of Automator other than a couple of very simple tasks, I'm going to investigate this further, I'm starting with the link below if anyone is interested:

 

http://www.macworld.com/article/2042365/automator-workflow-of-the-month-powerful-pdf-tricks.html

 

Thanks again.

Link to post
  • Level 5*

The lack of PDF content in search results is a little-known mobile limit.

http://www.christopher-mayo.com/?p=169

I have developed my own solution to deal with it.

http://www.christopher-mayo.com/?p=127

As for why it happens, here is my guess: Evernote on the iPad doesn't create or maintain an index, so it relies on the Evernote server for search results. When it is offline, its index, for some reason, is only using an index with data from the text content of notes. Perhaps this is because it wouldn't be able to feed us the results within PDFs, so it leaves them out. I don't know why.

One major problem (for me, anyhow) with relying on the iPad to work for extended periods of time offline is that new content (new and modified notes -- text, PDFs, or anything else) is not indexed. Over time, your account becomes less and less useful until eventually you can't find anything at all. Obviously, most people have regular Internet access and their indexes get updated, so they don't notice, but there are times when this is not the case (trips overseas, cruises, etc.), and this is important to know.

 

GrumpyMonkey

 

Thanks for the links, I was interested in the "stripping out text of PDFs using Automator" suggestion and that may be useful to me.

 

I have limited experience of Automator other than a couple of very simple tasks, I'm going to investigate this further, I'm starting with the link below if anyone is interested:

 

http://www.macworld.com/article/2042365/automator-workflow-of-the-month-powerful-pdf-tricks.html

 

Thanks again.

Glad I could help. The process is quick and painless, in my experience, and this will make everything searchable offline. You can leave the PDFs in your account, of course, and when you discover something in the textified version, just go to the corresponding PDF and open it. It is one extra step, but a whole lot better than nothing!

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