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Identifying Documents & Document Types that are NOT present in the full-text index

Posted by Sudarshan Narasimhan on August 29, 2012

I recently worked on this scenario with a customer of mine. They had a DOCS table which contained resume’s and CV’s of their candidates. This DOCS table was full-text indexed. They noticed that their search results in the application was not showing all the documents when they performed keyword based search. On looking into the full-text index and following my previous post on this topic @ , we found out that many .DOC and .HTML documents have failed, hence these don’t show up in the search results.

Now, dbo.DOCS is a huge table and it contained more than a million rows. 1190688 to be exact. So to find out that documents that need to be replaced, I did the following steps.


1. Identify all the document types and the count of documents of that type, which are not a part of the full-text index

2. Identify each DocumentID that is not a part of full-text index, so that this can be corrected from the application and thus re-index via fulltext population.

Luckily for me this was SQL Server 2008 R2. Starting with SQL Server 2008 there are 2 useful DMV’s that contain information about the full-text index.

a) sys.dm_fts_index_keywords_by_document

b) sys.dm_fts_index_keywords

These views were not present in SQL 2005. Using the DMV sys.dm_fts_index_keywords_by_document we can get to find the Document that is present in the FTIndex. If a document is present, it means it has been indexed successfully.

Table Structure

    [DocId] [int](50)
    [DocName] [varchar](400)
    [DocType] [varchar](200) 
    [DocCategory] [varchar](50)
    [Document] [varbinary]

    [document_id]  [int]
    [occurrence_count]   [int]
    [display_term]   [nvarchar (8000)]

The Document_id column in the DMV corresponds to the full-text key value of the table. In this case the table dbo.Docs has the full-text key column as [DocId]. So, basically the Docs.dbo (DocId) is the same as sys.dm_fts_index_keywords_by_document (document_id). If you want to find the full-text key column of a table, you can use a query like this within the context of the user database.

SELECT COL_NAME(object_Id('dbo.Docs'),OBJECTPROPERTY(OBJECT_ID('dbo.Docs'), 'TableFulltextKeyColumn'))


Identifying Indexed Documents, Failed Documents and Document Types

1. Find the count of documents that are successfully indexed

drop table #fts_index_document_id
CREATE table #fts_index_document_id (docid int)
insert into #fts_index_document_id
SELECT distinct document_id FROM sys.dm_fts_index_keywords_by_document(db_id('ContentDB'), object_id('dbo.Docs'))
select count(*) as [Successful Document Count] 
from dbo.docs_tbl_data t1
join dbo.fts_index_document_id t2
on t1.DocID = t2.DocID

I found that 979415 rows were returned from the above query.

Successfully Indexed Documents = 979415

2. Find the count of documents that are NOT successfully indexed, i.e. Failed Documents

select count(*) as [Failed Document Count]
from dbo.Docs t1
where t1.docid not in ( select t2.docid from #fts_index_document_id t2)

I found that 211273 rows were returned from the above query, which is basically a NOT IN filter where each document_id present in the base table (dbo.Docs) is checked in the FTindex (#fts_index_document_id) and if not present then it is a failed document.

Failed to Index Documents = 211273

Okay, so I did a count of the total rows present in the table dbo.Docs, and that came up to 1190688

Total Documents 1190688
Successfully Indexed Docs 979415
Failed to Index Docs 211273

So, the count is tallying up fine.

3. Find the count of each document type and the number of documents of that type that has failed to be indexed.

The idea here is basically to see which document types/formats are the ones that have failed to get indexed. You might notice patterns when finding this out, like all PDF docs have failed or something similar. To find out, I used this query

select DocType, COUNT(1) as [Count] from dbo.Docs
where DOCID NOT IN (select docid from #fts_index_document_id) 
group by DocType
order by COUNT(1) desc


As we can see from the above output, most of the failed documents are of type HTML and DOC.

4. Find each individual document, document name of a specific document type has failed to be indexed

Now that we have the breakdown of document types that have failed, we need to identify each unique document in the table of a specific type (say .DOC) that isn’t indexed, so that it can be corrected from the application side by re-inserting the document.

I am using the same # temp table which contains my indexed documents in the FTIndex. The reason I am using a #tmp table is because the DMV is slow as it scans through the full-text index and we don’t have to read the index each time. So I’m storing the output in a #tmp table and re-using that for all my queries. I would recommend you follow this because if the FTIndex is large, then querying the DMV each time isn’t going to be fast nor good for performance.

select t3.DocId, t3.Doctype, t3.DocName, t3.DocCategory
from dbo.Docs t3
where t3.DocID not in (
select t1.DocID from dbo.Docs t1
join #fts_index_document_id t2
on t1.DocID = t2.DocId)
and t3.DocType = 'HTML'
order by t3.DocId asc

The output of the above query will return each document that has failed to be indexed (not a part of the full-text index) and of type HTML. You can change the filter clause highlighted to suite your needs. See sample output below for a list of failed documents of type ‘DOC’.


Since you now the Document names, Document ID, Document type, you can get in touch with your application team to have a look at these documents and verify these are valid documents. If possible they can be reinserted back from the application into the table dbo.Docs.


The thing with document indexing is that, all of these documents are first stored on the file-system and usually there is an application involved (any document management application) that takes care of inserting these documents into the database as BLOB data (varbinary, text, image). Usually its not inserted directly, but via some application. The application has to programmatically read the document as BYTE or Stream and then pass this to the database insert statement. There are chances that the application code has issues for certain documents, like maybe it missed a BYTE value or header. You will notice this scenario, when a particular document opens up fine using Office Client but the same document does not get indexed with this error

Error ‘0x8004170c: The document format is not recognized by the filter.’ occurred during full-text index population

When you see this error, keep in mind the application that is actually taking the document and inserting it into the database. Whichever application is being used to insert the documents is not doing it correctly and the document is actually not valid for indexing. The IFilter for Office Documents is very strict on the file format. It will not even process other file formats that Word is able to open such as RTF. Opening the file with Office Client is very different to opening the stream for the IFilter. You will see this behaviour yourself when you open/save the same file without changes, Office Client adds other changes and filesize increases. It does make changes to the file header and this is a key point!

You may want to take a closer look to see how these DOC files are getting inserted into SQL Server. I’ve seen that even a small byte missed here or there can render the file invalid (in the eyes of the IFilter). I’ve seen this happen for XLS/PPT/DOC file formats. If you face this scenario, try and find answers to the following questions.

Question to Think about:-

1. What is the application used to insert these documents into the database?

Find the application vendor or support team and ask them if they have any application updates or any issues reported of specific documents types failing to get indexed

2. When were these failed documents inserted. Try and find the source date/year when these were added to the table (maybe a datetime column exists in the table?)

It is possible that all of the failed documents originated from a specific date and time. Usually this is the case for older file formats like DOC/PPT/XLS compared to the new Metro Office Formats like DOCX etc.

It is also possible that at the time these were inserted, the application performing the insert had some issues which were later fixed

3. Are there different versions of this application available?

Same as #2. If the application has later fixes, it doesn’t change the fact that the table contains BLOB value inserted using an older version of the application. Re-inserting the same documents using the newer version of the application is a step to take.

4. Are they facing failure with new documents being inserted today?

This will tell you if the issue is with older documents already present in the table or even with newly added documents. Again, we are just narrowing down the source of the problem.



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