A Guide to Document Indexing

Submitted by Tech Support on Mon, 07/11/2022 - 13:28
Monitor display with yellow folders, documents and media. vector illustration

It can be a pain to have to locate a single document within stacks and stacks of files, which is why so many businesses have turned to digitizing all of their files into a convenient storage system. But even then, if you aren’t taking advantage of document indexing, it can still be tedious to try to find important documents on a computer.

Thankfully, the rise of stronger digital document solutions has made it easier than ever to find your most important documents in an instant. Here’s everything you need to know about document indexing and why you should be using it.

What Is Document Indexing?

Document indexing is a critical component of document management and is the process of linking digital documents with certain attributes or labels, allowing these files to be easily retrieved later. Document indexing is an important element for businesses looking to increase the speed and accuracy that they can retrieve critical documents, as an inefficient process can slow you down and impact business growth.

Other great benefits of document indexing include an improved information workflow, greater collaboration within teams, and you can even save money on storage.

With a strong process in place like document indexing, you can quickly and easily search for documents and get them when you need them most. This process might look different for everyone, as the type of business you manage will change the types of indexing tags you use. The goal is to use tag names that make it easier to find what you need.

Here are some examples of popular tags:

  • Purchase order number
  • Account numbers
  • Patient name
  • Vendor name
  • Invoice number
  • Addresses

Here Are Three Methods for Document Indexing

Your business can take advantage of three different methods of indexing: Full-Text, Metadata, and Field-Based. Let’s break down each of these methods.


Full-Text is one of the most efficient methods as it scans the entire contents of a document. Every word in a document will be added to an index, allowing you to search for words that will help you retrieve the right document. This method is popular since it’s highly intuitive, and most people will instantly recognize how full-text indexing works through the familiarity of searching for words in web browsers. Though, this method also requires large amounts of storage for it to work.


You’ve most likely heard the term “metadata” before, but you might not know what it means. Metadata refers to a set of data that gives information about other data. It makes it easier to work with data, allowing you to locate specific documents.

Examples of metadata include:

  • Author
  • Date created
  • Date modified
  • File size

Metadata is all around you and is used to index images, videos, web pages, spreadsheets, and more. You can use the metadata indexing method to add helpful tags to documents as you scan or digitize them, making them easy to search for later.


Field-based indexing lets you find the details that are unique to each page using “fields.” A field is a data structure for a single piece of data, and can refer to a vendor name, received data, customer, etc.

How to Begin Document Indexing

You can either manually or automatically scan all of your digitized documents to look for predefined key phrases.

Manual methods are very time-consuming, as an employee will have to do this whole process manually. It’s a tedious task that could even lead to errors in the process if the employee isn’t careful. That’s why most companies will choose to automate the process with the latest software advancements.

An automated solution will use algorithms to recognize optical characters and automatically extract the most significant information from each page, store it as metadata, and make full-text search available. As you can see, an automated solution will combine the three methods of indexing for an all-encompassing solution.

You can take advantage of a dedicated document management provider o help you get all of your documents digitized, properly indexed, and ready to be retrieved at a moment's notice.

Wrapping up

Before the strong document solutions we now have available, the process of retrieving documents was especially tedious. It took way too much time and was generally a hassle to deal with. Now you can make the retrieval process much more convenient, making your office workflow a lot more efficient.

Is your business in need of a better document solution? Find out how our document management can improve the efficiency of your office workflow–chat with us today!