How can I search many .odt (or .sxw) files for one word?

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How can I search many .odt (or .sxw) files for one word?

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There are at least four ways to do this.

  • A Windows utlity is Google desktop search, which has a plugin which indexes both the old and new openoffice formats (.odt and .sxw). It is fast, and works well with Firefox; but the search results are less easy to sort than Yahoo's and it does not have a built-in preview function, as YDS does.
  • On Windows, you can use Yahoo Desktop Search to index OpenOffice.org 1.x files. By adding .sxw to the list of file extensions searched, you get a fast and fuss-free display of the relevant context as plain text. The search can be phrasewise, Boolean, or refined by date and size. As of July 9 2007, it does not index the content of .odt (OpenOffice.org 2.x) files, though there is a feature request for it to do that. The other drawbacks are that it is Windows only and indexes, by default, every hour or so, since it expects you to be using Outlook and indexing your email as well.
  • A good cross-platform solution is DocSearch, a Java app which searches and indexes OOo files as well as MS Office, text and PDFs. It is easy to use, very fast, allows fancy searches and can be integrated into a toolbar with a macro. However, development work on DocSearch seems to have stopped and the project might be abandoned.
    The drawbacks: it's pretty large (a 5MB download) and doesn't handle non-English characters well. It has no documentation to speak of. You have to configure it to use OOo, Acrobat, and anything else other than IE to open the files it finds (this is under Tools/settings). But it is clearly the best solution for large collections of documents on Linux.
  • Much smaller and simpler, but adequate for everyday use on fast computers is the filefinder written in OOo Basic, one of the macros in Andrew Brown's collection. This ought to install with a single click, though you will still have to put the macro on a toolbar yourself.
    Drawbacks: it is slow with large numbers of files on slow computers.
  • In Linux, you can use Beagle to index and search through your ODF documents.
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