PDF Search Results Direct Link (Eliminating DispForm.aspx Results) Without an iFilter

Applies To: SharePoint

We are utilizing our search functionality much more in SharePoint and one of the more annoying things we found was how PDF files are treated by default. In the search results, the link goes to the DispForm.aspx for the item rather than directly to the item.

The obvious fix is to install an iFilter. Unfortunately, this isn’t always an option. For us, the performance and crawl delay issues didn’t make up for the benefit of having these documents indexed. Fortunately, I came across this answer by daver306 on SharePoint SE that didn’t get a lot of attention but worked perfectly for me.

I wanted to write it up with some added detail and share my experiences. Not only does this allow you to link directly to your PDFs within the search without the use of XSL and allows KnowledgeLake queries to open PDFs directly within the KnowledgeLake Viewer, it’s actually pretty simple to do.

1. Add PDF as a File Type

Within Central Admin, go to your Search Administration (Manage Service Applications > Search Service). From there click on the File Types link under Crawling on the left:

If pdf is not listed, click the New File Type button and type pdf (no period needed) in the File extension box and click OK:

2. Restart the Search Service

This is a very important step. I originally tried to skip it to spare myself some hassle and ended up having to repeat the crawl below. You will need to go to each server running the SharePoint Server Search service and stop it. You can do this through the command line or the Services panel under Administrative Tools:

Once off on all boxes, just go back through and start it again.

3. Reset Your Index

Back on the Search Administration page within Central Administration you will want to click on the Index Reset link under Crawling on the menu on the left:

Press the Reset Now button. Remember that this should be done at a time when your environment is not under heavy use or when search won’t be needed since search results will not be available until after a full crawl completes.

4. Perform a Full Crawl

If you have a pretty standard search setup, then you probably only have one content source. If not, then you already know how to start the full crawls for each of them. If you’ve just got the one, then from the Search Administration page within Central Administration click on the Content Sources link under Crawling on the menu on the left. Hover over your content source and choose Start Full Crawl in the dropdown menu:

After the crawl completes (This could be hours depending on the size of your farm), things should be working as expected. No more DispForm.aspx links in your search results!


3 thoughts on “PDF Search Results Direct Link (Eliminating DispForm.aspx Results) Without an iFilter

  1. you sir saved me a few hours work.
    did every step except the service reset and could not figure out why the PDF documents would not work. until i found your post which worked like a charm.
    thank you!!

  2. Worked in SharePoint 2013.to crawl .potx and .xlsx files
    At first go, I missed Step-2(the most important step) and could not get these files indexed.
    It worked after performing the steps as mentioned by you. Thank you.

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