22 May

Finding best SharePoint PDF IFilter (64-bit)

With due respect to original blog post here which is in German. This is a rewrite into English.  Germans please let me know if I have missed something.

We often need to configure Office Server Search while working on MOSS 2007 infrastructure projects. Microsoft Filter Pack is efficient as long as it only comes to indexing the metadata documents or metadata and content of file types.

As a large volume of documentation often exist in PDF format and there is always a requirement to index those .pdf files. As you know for every other file type, a so called iFilter indexing is needed. In case of .pdf files, you need to aquire third party iFilters.

The most common iFilters available for .pdf files are:

Adobe PDF iFilter 9 for 64-bit platforms

Foxit PDF IFilter

PDFlib TET PDF IFilter

Here, most common are Adobe PDF iFilter and Foxit PDF iFilter. While Adobe iFilter is available free of charge, for the other two you will need to pay license fees.

With respect to the performance, these two IFilters differ. Microsoft bloggers have already done various testings on Adobe PDF iFilter and Foxit PDF iFilter. As a result of various testings done by Microsoft bloggers, Foxit iFilter (32 bit) is around 4 times as fast as the Adobe Filter. And Foxit iFilter (64 bit) is about 5 times, as fast as the Adobe Filter.

In addition we found PDFlib TET PDF IFilter, for which there were no performance records found.

This was a enough reason to test all these three iFilters for their performance.

The Test Setup:

All three iFilters were tested on same hardware environment.

We used a virtual Hyper-V with two virtual processors and 4 GB RAM. OS used was Windows Server 2008 (Standard Edition) with Service Pack 1.

MOSS 2007 SP 1 (Cumulative update Feb 2009)

Here we indexed 1022 documents (both German and English) of volume of 1.8GB.

The default settings of the current IFilter were used. The duration of indexing was collected in two runs and considered the best result.

The Test Result:

Sharepoint ifilter comparison

Sharepoint ifilter comparison

License costs compared

Sharepoint ifilter comparisions

Sharepoint ifilter comparisons

Status: 11.05.2009, all data without guarantee.


Alrough the Adobe iFilter comes free, its indexing performance has lot of scope for improvement. While the performance of  iFilter Foxit and PDFlib are at par. Initial review cannot comment on difference in the quality of indexing. You can therefore reduce the decision criteria for an iFilter on other factors like volume, cost and personal preferences.

If a large volume of PDF documents are to be indexed the one of the paid options are recommended.
If the index server is not a dedicated server, then this task is preferably preformed by a Web Frontend Server. Because the indexing requires much CPU time, it should be exploited as efficiently as possible.

In case of multi-core the PDFlib IFilter is more cost effective than other peers.


Original blog post


2007 Office System Converter: Microsoft Filter Pack

Adobe PDF iFilter 9 for 64-bit platforms

Foxit PDF IFilter

PDFlib TET PDF IFilter


How to register Microsoft Filter Pack with SharePoint Server 2007 and with Search Server 2008

5 Responses to “Finding best SharePoint PDF IFilter (64-bit)”

  1. 1
    Optify Says:

    Hi, nice posts there :-) thank’s recompense the interesting advice

  2. 2
    opal Says:

    It is not good to compare things in a VM. The performance could be vary from time to time.

    you may also want to check this test I did with 10GB+ PDF files, TET lost to foxit with 1:3 ratio.


  3. 3
    Nipun Tandan Says:

    Thank you for your analysis of the comparisons of Adobe, Foxit, and PDFlib Ifilters. I was wondering if you were an IT director or manager, why would you use Foxit IFilter? I have to choose between these three services for my small business. Thank you for your efforts I hope to keep in touch.

  4. 4
    Jayvardhan Patil Says:

    As you see, mine is only a conversion of an article which was in German and some similar article was not available that time over internet, so I translated the article to English. The statistics shown there are not produced by me. What you can do is contact the original writer on following link. And even if you post your query in English, you should receive a response.

  5. 5
    Adnan Ahmed Says:

    Hi All,
    I have published an article at http://www.mossgurus.com/adnan/default.aspx explaining How to Install and configure PDF iFilter (64 bit) for SharePoint Server 2010 or Search Server 2010 Express with screen shots of each important steps.
    I do hope that you will find this article useful. Please leave your comments.
    Adnan Ahmed
    Senior MS Solutions Consultant
    Owner: http://www.mossgurus.com

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