Sunday, May 3, 2009

SharePoint TIFF indexing

One of the greatest features of SharePoint and Search Server Express is their ability to provide full text searching for a range of documents. They achieve this via something known as an iFilter. Out of the box both SharePoint and Search Server will do most Microsoft Office documents and common file formats (i.e. .txt, .html, etc). With the addition of some custom iFilters and some configuration you can also get them to index Adobe PDF’s, Zip files and so on. For information on configuring these additional document types see www.wssops.com.

 

It now seems that Microsoft has made available an iFilter for TIFF files via this download:

 

Windows TIFF IFilter Installation and Operations Guide

 

It would appear however that the TIFF iFilter is part of Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7 rather than a separate download. None the less I think this represents some very powerful new functionality for SharePoint.

 

How is that? Consider all the network copier/faxes that are now in businesses. Wouldn’t be nice if you could automatically have a document scanned and delivered to a SharePoint document library? Well that is already possible, but what if now all those scanned TIFF documents could also be fully searchable without any further interaction? It certainly seems that provides you are running SharePoint on Windows Server 2008 R2 and the TIFF iFilter is enabled.

 

Imagine that, you could scan in a whole swag of you existing paper documents, have them sent directly to SharePoint where they could be saved and indexed. Also imagine if you could have all your faxes sent to a SharePoint library where again, they could be saved and indexed. The more I think about this the more powerful it becomes I reckon. Don’t forget that SBS 2008 has inbuilt faxing reception to document libraries. So if SBS 2008 R2 ever becomes available then the integration of this TIFF iFilter is going to be a huge boon I reckon.

 

So what do you need to make this happen? Windows Server 2008 R2 with SharePoint installed. Excuse me while I go off to do some testing.