CollectiveAccess is finicky! In order to make sure your PDFs are searchable, you need to pay attention to a few things.
1)What version of CollectiveAccess are you using?
PDFs are only searchable if you are using Providence 1.4 or (or later versions) and Pawtucket 2 (or later versions).
2)What software did you use to create your PDF?
PDFminer, the PDF processor Providence 1.4 uses to generate searchable text in the document viewer, seems to be somewhat finicky about what PDF versions are used. This is a place for users to post results of trial and error experimentation using different software and PDF versions.
ABBYY FineReader: so far all PDFs with text generated using ABBYY FineReader have been searchable.
Adobe Acrobat IX: PDFs generated using Adobe Acrobat IX were not initially searchable when uploaded. If within Acrobat I select “Save As Optimized” and then select “Optimized for Acrobat 5” leaving all other boxes unchecked, then the resulting PDF will be searchable when uploaded.
Microsoft Word: Another user reports PDFs that she created in Microsoft Word on a PC were not searchable, while those created on a Mac were searchable.
Google Drive: According to another user, PDFs created as Google Docs had a search window that made them appear to be searchable, but they were not actually. Google Presentations were fully searchable.