A small utility offered for free by Microsoft could prove immensely helpful in scenarios in which users are searching for information inside Office documents on certain platforms. The Office 2010 Filter Packs went live on the Microsoft Download Center last week, and are currently up for grabs, enabling customers to enhance the default search capabilities of products such as SharePoint Server, Exchange Server, SQL Server and Windows client and server platforms. Of course, the Office 2010 Filter Packs integrate with Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2.

“The Microsoft Filter Pack is a single point-of-distribution for Office IFilters. IFilters are components that allow search services to index content of specific file types, letting you search for content in those files. They are intended for use with Microsoft Search Services (Sharepoint, SQL, Exchange, Windows Search),” Microsoft explained.

In certain cases, the Filter Pack will significantly simplify the search process, especially for queries using terms related to the content of documents rather than to the name they were saved under. However, the Office Filter Packs work only in the context of the Microsoft Search Service. As the name of the app implies, content of Office 2010 documents will also be indexed following the installation of the utility. At the same time, additional files, even those of non-Microsoft formats will be indexed.

“Install this product if you want to search for content in the file types listed below. The Filter Pack includes: Legacy Office Filter (97-2003; .doc, .ppt, .xls); Metro Office Filter (2007; .docx, .pptx, .xlsx); Zip Filter; OneNote filter; Visio Filter; Publisher Filter; and Open Document Format Filter,” the company stated.

Microsoft finalized Office 2010 in mid-April 2010. At this point in time, Office 2010 RTM is available to MSDN and TechNet subscribers, but also to business customers.

Office 2010 Filter Packs are available for download x64 or x86.

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