Among the many benefits of usingsoftware to create documents is that the file format is ideal for archiving and storing documents. The very idea behind the PDF document is to provide a file format that allows users to open the document on any computing platform.
Asincreased in its capability, developers added features that led to the PDF/A standard. Known as PDF for Archive, this file format adheres to guidelines that allow for long-term document preservation.
As organizations build up libraries of electronic documents, however, it can become harder for users to find what they’re looking for. Searching for files when you don’t know the title of the document, or its creation date, becomes a difficult process.
To address this, PDF software allows you to include information like the title and author name, but goes even further to include description and keywords that make searching for information much easier. Should someone need an archived document that outlines how to configure network routers for your organization’s infrastructure, for example, he needs only search for keywords such as “router configuration” and “network” so that any content tagged as such is returned.
In order to add information regarding the document, also called metadata, you have to go beyond printing or exporting your document as a PDF file – you have to put your PDF software to use.
The process is quite simple. In Foxit PhantomPDF, you will need to choose File > Properties and then select the Description tab. Here, you have the option to add information related to:
- The title
- The subject of the content
- The author
- Keywords that describe the content in the document
Using theprinter, you can add the same information to your files via the Document info tab.
It’s important to note, however, that when encrypting PDF files for security reasons, this information is unavailable if it’s included in the encryption process. In order to ensure that search tools have access to the metadata, check the “Don’t encrypt metadata” option.
Every so often, an organization may find that it needs to update the metadata of PDF files in order to make finding them easier. This process is also a simple task. Just open the document using your PDF software and navigate to the document properties section (for PhantomPDF, follow the steps mentioned above). From here, enter the necessary data in the appropriate fields and save the document. It’s now searchable by any terms that you included.
Adding metadata to make searching can literally pay off. On average, studies show that it costs $120 to find a misfiled document and $220 to reproduce a lost document. These costs add up over time, but they don’t even take into account the frustration that users go through when they can’t find the file they’re looking for.
Using the metadata available in a document description alleviates a great deal of cost and stress associated with document retrieval. Best of all, making files easier to find only takes a few extra moments if you have the right PDF software for the job.