PageKeeper Pro: Doc management at the desktop

Caere Corp. calls PageKeeper Pro a document-management program. And so it is, although the program is not designed for networked workgroups that need check-in/check-out, redline tracking and other high-end features. Instead, PageKeeper is designed for individual end users who need to keep track of their files and is especially helpful to users who have a lot of mixed file types, including faxes and image files.

The program offers an attractive Microsoft Corp. Windows Explorer-like interface that is well designed for navigating directories of files. And PageKeeper offers a few things you won't find in Windows Explorer, including strong search tools and integrated scanning and file-annotation tools.

You can select four different file views, including the familiar detail, list and large- icon views that users of Windows Explorer will find familiar. In addition, PageKeeper offers a thumbnail view that displays the first page of any file.

PageKeeper also improves on Windows Explorer in the search tools it offers. In addition to basic content and file property searches, PageKeeper supports phrase, Boolean and proximity searches. The program even enables you to do fuzzy searches, in which it will retrieve files that have words close to the words you specify.

Once you've located the file you're after, you can launch the file within its parent application or open it in the PageKeeper viewer. Thanks to conversion filters, PageKeeper even lets you open some data files in non-native applications.

You might, for example, open an HTML file directly into Word. At least as slick, PageKeeper lets you annotate files in a separate layer employing 3M Co.'s electronic Post-It Notes. You can use text or drawing tools to make annotations directly on, for example, an Excel spreadsheet. The text in the annotation will be searchable within PageKeeper, but because it is saved in a separate layer, it will not affect the original file.

PageKeeper enables you to set up virtual directories of files. That is, PageKeeper folders include pointers to files that may exist in different and/or multiple directories on your hard drive. You even can use the program's nifty Folder Watch feature to update PageKeeper folders automatically. Simply designate what directories on a drive you want PageKeeper to monitor, and PageKeeper will import any new files in those directories. You also can specify file types that will not be added to PageKeeper, such as TMP or BAK files.

Unfortunately, PageKeeper's Folder Watch is a bit limited because you can only specify a single PageKeeper directory to receive those files. You can't, forexample, have all new files added to directory A go to PageKeeper folder D, while all new files added to directory B are directed to PageKeeper folder E.

You can, however, set up Smart Folders that enable you to have the program automatically assign files to folders according to custom-filing criteria based on file type, such as image files; file properties, such as date; or file content.

We did run into one significant snag with importing files into the system. Whenever we tagged more than a couple dozen files for import, PageKeeper refused to cooperate. Accordingly, we had to perform multiple import operations just to bring in a directory full of files.

Another nifty PageKeeper feature is document "clipping," which enables you to "clip" a group of documents together. For example, you can attach an image file and a document to a spreadsheet file. Then you can manage the files as a single unit within PageKeeper.

In addition to importing files, you can scan documents directly into PageKeeper or import them from the World Wide Web. PageKeeper's Scan Wizard leads users through the process of scanning a document, creating a thumbnail, recognizing the text using built-in optical character recognition and indexing the document for subsequent search operations.

In short, if you're dealing primarily with word processor files, Windows Explorer probably provides all the tools you need for effective personal document management. But if you add faxes, images and scanned documents to the mix, PageKeeper offers a much more effective tool for searching, retrieving and viewing files.

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Caere Corp.

(408) 395-5498

www.caere.com

Price and Availability

Available on the GSA schedule for $46. For more information, call (800) 654-1187.

Remarks

PageKeeper offers a strong set of search, annotation and file navigation tools for individual users. Bear in mind, however, that the program doesn't offer workgroup capabilities such as check in/check out and redline tracking.

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