Rider 8 Tools: Super-search your documents

When you need to find specific words littered throughout one document or many, Rider 8 Tools can carve your search down to seconds.

If you've ever wasted time scouring a long document for every place a specific phrase appears, or worse, have had to look for that phrase in more than one document, you need Rider 8 Tools ($19.95), a slim but powerful search application that finds multiple terms in multiple files within any set of parameters you throw at it.

Rider 8 Tools

For instance, if you need to see every time the term "business plan" shows up within three words of "market growth" in a 50-page document, you would use Rider 8 Tools to quickly peruse it. You could also use it to unearth the combination of terms in a certain folder, or to find those phrases everywhere they appear on your hard drive. (Note: that could take some time.) You can even search among multiple file types--Rider 8 Tools can scour Word and text documents, for example, but not PDFs, PowerPoint presentations, or Excel docs (we hope that changes.)

After searching, Rider 8 Tools gives you a few ways to find the text selections and interact with them. The program's bottom-right quadrant displays the text with the found terms highlighted. You can use buttons to scroll through selections or can use the tree view in the adjacent pane to pick selections from a numbered list. You can print and copy certain selections, or can right-click and choose to view the selection in the context of the document. Opening the selection in Rider 8 Tools gives you a read-only view; opening it in Microsoft Word also lets you edit.

The DefFind tool lets you quickly identify defined terms for referencing or editing. (Credit: Rider 8 Software)

You can also use Rider 8 Tools to find words you've specifically defined, or a group of capitalized terms that could be phrases you'd like to define. The definition look-up is a major selling point for the legal and academic crowd, for whom defining terms is part art, part science, and wholly crucial to shaping the argument at hand. Even if you don't regularly compose definitions, the benefits of quickly and thoroughly searching through long or technical documents apply to business and marketing professionals, researchers, and so on.

The application is more intuitive and less complicated than it actually looks, but there is a (limited) help file for each of the three search functions if you get stuck. Spending a little time working with Rider 8 Tools will still be the best way to learn it--start in the top left with one of the three 'Find' tabs and work your way clockwise.

About Jessica Dolcourt

Jessica Dolcourt reviews smartphones and cell phones, covers handset news, and pens the monthly column Smartphones Unlocked. A senior editor, she started at CNET in 2006 and spent four years reviewing mobile and desktop software before taking on devices.