I have a large number of PDFs that need to be published online.

Currently I use a database to store keywords for each PDF (as well as other meta data and the filename in order to provide a link).

I use an HTML search form and some PHP code which then uses the keywords in the database to match records and provide a results page with the titles and links to the PDFs

However, maintaining extended lists of keywords for each PDF is terribly time consuming.

Instead I'd like to use software that automates that process by being able to search the contents of the PDF files themselves. It would have to be something I can deploy on a website, not a desktop application.

Is there such a software?

  • I'm not aware of such a software. If you can't find any, an alternative approach would be to have the "textual content" of the PDF in a text column, and use a full text search on that. Most database provide such features.
    – Izzy
    Oct 25, 2017 at 12:31

1 Answer 1


There is an Apache software product called Lucene which is a popular indexing and search engine. The feature list should tell you if it provides the specifics of the search capabilities you need.

There is an extension you can use (lucene-pdf) to specifically assist with the pdf indexing. It is Java based so you can put it on just about any server and there is a Python version available if that suits your environment better.

I hope that helps.

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