With PowerGREP, you can quickly search for a piece of information through files and folders on your computer, including OpenOffice and LibreOffice documents, spreadsheets, presentations, etc. saved in the OpenDocument Format. Simply type in a keyword or phrase in the Search box, select which folder PowerGREP should go through and which types of files are of interest. When you click the search button, PowerGREP will present you with a list of MS Word documents and other files in which the text you entered in the search box was found. The list will show one line of context for each match. You can instantly inspect the entire context by double-clicking on the match in the results.
When you do not know in advance exactly what you are looking for, PowerGREP’s rich regular expression support allows you to search for virtually anything by specifying the form of what you want, and let PowerGREP find the actual text matching that form.
All of PowerGREP’s search features are available when working with documents in OpenDocument Format. This includes collecting data, unlimited lists of search terms, file sectioning, file filtering, customized context, and so on.
PowerGREP has a built-in converter for OpenDocument Text (ODT) files saved by OpenOffice Writer or LibreOffice Writer. It enables you to work with ODT files in PowerGREP just as easily as with plain text files. The built-in converter does not require OpenOffice or LibreOffice to be installed.
The key benefit is that the built-in converter is two-way. This means that you can also bulk edit or redact ODT files. To do this, set the “action type” to “search and replace” or “search and delete”. In the File Selector, make sure “file formats to convert to plain text” is set to “writable proprietary formats” or “all writeable formats”. Substituted text will retain its formatting, even though PowerGREP doesn’t show you any formatting.
All of PowerGREP’s features for replacing or deleting matches are available when working with ODT files. This includes unlimited lists of search terms, regular expressions with replacement strings that can reuse the matched text, extra processing, file sectioning, file filtering, customized context, and so on.
You can even open and edit ODT files in PowerGREP’s built-in text editor. The editor only shows the actual text in the file, with some basic formatting such as paragraph breaks and list bullets or numbers. The document will retain all its formatting when you edit and save the file in PowerGREP.
The various other applications in the OpenOffice and LibreOffice use other variants of the OpenDocument Format (ODF). These files have various extensions, such as .ods for Calc and .odp for Impress. PowerGREP comes preconfigured to handle all the extensions other than .odt with the file mask *.od[bcfgimps]. This format is officially documented, and even standardized. Still, it is incredibly complex, simply because OpenOffice and LibreOffice offer a tremendous amount of features. So for the time being, PowerGREP does not have a built-in converter for ODF files other than ODT.
If you have a recent enough version of OpenOffice or LibreOffice installed (see sidebar) then by default PowerGREP uses the IFilter that is included with OpenOffice and LibreOffice to extract the text from ODF files other than ODT. You’ll see a plain text representation of your ODF files in PowerGREP. When using the IFilter, PowerGREP cannot modify ODF files because the IFilter system is read-only.
Technically, ODF files are ZIP archives that contain a bunch of XML files along with support files such as images. Such file formats are called compound documents in PowerGREP. You can search through and even modify the XML inside ODF files (including ODT files) by setting “file formats to convert to plain text” to one of the configurations labeled “compound documents”. This will also provide you access to all the embedded files via the File Selector. But even in this mode PowerGREP still treats ODF files as documents. So any actions that copy, move, or back up files will copy, move, or back up ODF files as a whole rather than the files they contain, to avoid breaking your documents.
Searching through the raw XML can be very useful when you want to search for or modify meta data in ODT files, such as hyperlinks. You’ll want to set “context type” to “no context” to avoid unreasonable amounts of XML in your search results. And of course when making replacements, it’ll be your responsibility not to mess up the XML and break the document.
You can create or edit a file format configuration to use the built-in converter for ODT files while searching through the raw XML inside other ODF files. This can be useful if you want to be able to search through all ODF-based formats on a PC that does not have OpenOffice or LibreOffice (and thus no IFilter for ODF).
There are two ways in which you can get your own copy of PowerGREP and evaluate the software risk-free.
The best option is to buy your own copy of PowerGREP for US$ 159. Your purchase is covered by Jan Goyvaerts's personal three month risk-free unconditional money-back guarantee. This allows you to try the software without any limitations and without any risk for three months.
Alternatively, you can download the free evaluation version of PowerGREP. The free evaluation version can be downloaded anonymously. It allows you to explore PowerGREP for 15 days of actual use. Full documentation is included. The documentation extensively covers both PowerGREP itself, and the regular expression syntax.