Starting today, all postal mail PDF files you download from your mailbox are now searchable! You can now store all your downloaded PDF files on your computer and search through them like you would a normal Microsoft Word document. Let’s look at how you can take advantage of this functionality.
How Searchable PDF Works
To make your PDF files searchable, text needs to be extracted from the scanned images and stored in the PDF file itself. Applications and search engines can then search through the text to find what you’re looking for. Here’s a quick overview of how our text-extraction process works:
- Mail envelopes or mail content pages are scanned and saved as images.
- These images are then filtered through an Optical Character Recognition (OCR) system. The OCR system will translate scanned images of text into machine-readable text content.
- Our document processing system then combines the texts and images together into the PDF file.
Searching Through Your Mail PDF
When you log into your mailbox to view your mail, there is a selection in the menu that allows you to download the mail as a PDF. Any scanned mail pages are included in the PDF along with the mail envelope images.
You can open the downloaded file with any PDF viewing application such as the free Adobe Acrobat Reader. The mail PDF already contains the OCR’ed text. If you use the search function in Acrobat Reader, for example, you can immediately find content that you’re looking for.
The Art of Reading Your Mail Without Reading
By making your mail searchable, you can now store all your mail PDFs on your computer and search through them whenever you need to find a particular piece of mail. Your computer will normally index documents on your computer (Apple Mac OSX and Microsoft Windows both have this capability). For example, if you are looking for a letter from Citibank, you can just type in the keyword “citibank” and a list of PDF files containing the word will show up in your results.
If the files were not searchable, you would need to either rename the files into something that’s recognizable, or worse, open each file individually to find that exact file you want. If you have only 10 files to go through, this wouldn’t be a problem. But if you have over 100 mail files, this single feature alone will save you tons of time and make your life easier.
More Features to Come
Making PDF files searchable is one of the core building blocks for adding advanced functions to your mailbox in the future. Get ready for more awesome features in the upcoming months!