As anyone who is involved with the drafting or editing of documents knows, the ability to quickly locate archived documents, earlier document versions, reference documents, and other files can make the difference between a slow, frustrating grind and a productive session where you can focus on the content instead of the process.
A great deal of my practice involves reviewing, drafting, and negotiating legal agreements and all the documents that go along with them. As part of the process, I often need to locate documents that I know exist somewhere, but that I may only have a vague idea of where exactly they are stored. My document management system currently exists on my Windows 10 computer with a hierarchical folder-based filing system for my current clients and all their matters along with repositories for files like prior agreements I've worked on, CLE reference materials, my own sets of alternative provisions I've found useful. But when I'm looking for a document, I'm often searching based on a party name or looking for a particular provision I know I've come across before, perhaps a paragraph describing how consultants providing services on the client site will be screened. If I were to rely solely on my memory and opening individual documents to locate the specific item I'm looking for, the process would be futile.
Windows 10 Search
Windows 10 provides a new search capability -- accessible either through the taskbar search box or via Cortana -- that includes the ability to search inside documents. But I find the function virtually useless as the search results are presented essentially as a long list of documents with little ability to narrow the results or see the context of documents.
For the past few months, I've instead by using a great product that solves all of my issues in trying to quickly locate documents: X1 Search. The product is available for just $49.95 for an individual license plus annual support. It's also available for enterprise licensing and you can download a 14-day trial for free.
X1 Search is able to index the contents of all files, including Microsoft Word documents, Powerpoint slides, Excel spreadsheets, Outlook email, Gmail messages, Outlook and Gmail attachments, Adobe PDF documents, files stored within Microsoft Sharepoint, and much more. Take a look at the demonstration video below showing off some of the features.
X1 Search has the ability to search for specific words or phrases within a document, words within a document name, email subject lines, and exclude specific words or phrases, and the results are displayed almost instantly. It's simple to narrow your search to email or documents or both and then drill down to creation dates, particular document types, email sender, and more. My system currently shows 10,900 items indexed and my search results are displayed as fast as I can type in my query. X1 Search also shows a preview of the document alongside the search results with the matched text highlighted and allows the user to jump to the next occurrence of that text with the click of a button. If you find what you're looking for, you can copy and paste text right from the preview window without ever opening the document.
X1 Search has really helped improve my productivity and I recommend it for anyone looking to supplement their existing document management system.