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Handy Utility: Text Finding

As a full-time writer and researcher, I am forever compiling materials that need to be combed for nuggets of information. Sometimes, particularly in connection with my occasional work as an expert witness, this means LOTS of text and/or source code to search for specific strings — gigabytes of material, on some recent cases. Finding the proverbial needle in the haystack takes time and good tools to accomplish. Caught in a hurry-up pinch recently, I found myself buying and using a tool called Text Finding Professional (V2.1.0, $40 retail download).

tf210

Point TFP at a directory tree, let it index the material therein, and it’ll find stuff fast, fast, fast.

As you can see from the foregoing screenshot, the tool will index and search just about any kind of file that contains text (it can handle ASCII, UTF, and other formats with equal aplomb) and show you the names of the files in which hits occur in the results pane at the center. For any given file selected in that pane, it will also show where those hits occur on a line-by-line basis. At $40 for a single-PC license the price is right, too. I had no trouble pointing it at networked or shared drives, though I did have to map them to local drive letters, so it isn’t strictly limited to indexing or reporting on files on a single machine, though that may be thanks to Windows flexible Multiple UNC Provider (MUP) file access abilities.

If you have occasional or regular needs to search files on your PC, especially large collections of textual data, I recommend this tool highly.

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