Enfish – Tracker Pro review

document and data tracking tools
Photo of Enfish – Tracker Pro
£49 + VAT

Information is great. It gives you knowledge, power and confidence. As long as it’s organised. If not, searching for an important fact can be like the proverbial haystack and needle situation. That’s bad enough with a pile of paper in an office, but with electronic information bombarding us from e-mails and the Web, the problem can become even worse. One solution to this is to use a personal information manager, but this requires you to enter all new data into a specific program, so it’s not perfect in every case.

Tracker Pro is an information tracker, rather than an information manager. It works by scanning all your documents, e-mails and even relevant Web pages. It then catalogues your files, cross-refers their contents and stores all this information in a database, without modifying any of your existing files. This procedure, called DEXing, can take a long time depending on the amount of documents and other information on your hard drive, but after the initial process is complete, update DEXing only takes place in the background while the CPU is otherwise idle. Tracker Pro will categorise word processor documents, presentations, graphics files, spreadsheets, e-mails and HTML files stored on your hard drive, plus specific applications such as ACT! and Outlook. It can also be configured to include LAN drives in the process and, if you have a permanent Internet connection, you can tell Tracker Pro to DEX any Web sites that you select.

The features that makes Tracker Pro so very useful is its searching and tracking capability. Like a search engine, the program allows you to use Boolean operators (AND, OR, etc.), date filters, source filters and so on. For example, you can search for all e-mails containing the word ‘Antelope’, received in the last two months, but which don’t contain the words ‘antler’ or ‘lion-fodder’. Results of a search through your files and/or e-mails are displayed with the keywords highlighted and intelligently cross-referred, and you can then view the chosen documents – even if you don’t have the appropriate application installed on your PC – using Tracker Pro’s built-in file viewer, which supports most common office application file types.

Having this application installed and silently running in the background is like having a highly efficient secretary constantly reading all possible sources of information, from the Web and e-mail to word-processed documents, and then categorising them, cross-referring them and providing you with only the information that you really require. Its customisation options are vast and clever (and you can save useful ‘trackers’ for future searches), you can quickly add notes that are automatically DEXed, and the ability to view and access information collectively, regardless of the source application, soon becomes the preferable way to work.

Company: Enfish

Contact: 020 8875 4444


Verdict
Tracker Pro is a search engine for your desktop. It makes it easy to find information, cross-refer to other sources and generally keep track of your business life. It has all the features of an Internet search engine, plus many more, applied to local and remote files. It's quick (once the initial cataloguing has been done), easy to use, and very useful for anyone whose life seems to be a constant juggling act.