1. How do I get my documents into Overview?

Overview can read many file formats including PDF, Word, and HTML. It will automatically OCR scans and create searchable PDFs (which you can download later.) You can upload an entire folder at once (if you use the Chrome browser) and Overview will skip files that have already been uploaded.

You can also import a project from DocumentCloud, or upload text in bulk as a CSV file, or upload from the command line. More detailed instructions here.

Overview will load CSV files, but it is not designed for tables, speadsheets, or other primarily numeric data or structured data. If you need to extract tables from PDF files, try Tabula.

2. Who can see the documents I upload to Overview? Are they secure?

Only you can access the documents uploaded to your account, unless you share them. Overview can import your private projects from DocumentCloud.

We’re pretty serious about following industry standard security practices in our code and on our servers, but quite honestly we don’t have the resources to defend against a talented hacker or a subpoena. If either of these possibilities trouble you, feel free to run Overview on your own computer.

3. Can I run Overview on my own computer?

Yes! Overview will run your own PC, Mac, or Linux computer. Installation instructions here.

4. How do I get my documents and data out of Overview?

Choose Export from the menu at upper right. You can export all documents or just those that match the current search. You can download a spreadsheet in CSV or Excel format, one document per row, or an archive of document files. Any tags or fields you have created will be included.

If Overview OCRd your documents, you will download a searchable PDF. If you split your documents into pages, you will download one file per page. If you originally uploaded your documents from a CSV file, you will get one text file per document. Otherwise you will just get the original document file back.

4. How many documents can Overview handle and how long will it take?

There is a current maximum of 2,000,000 documents per document set. A 4 processor machine like the overviewdocs.com server can process about 100 documents per minute across all users, plus the time needed to upload the documents. Things are much slower if the documents are not already searchable and need OCR, which Overview does automatically.

5. Which languages does Overview support?

Overview currently supports documents in English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Russian, Arabic, Swedish, Norwegian, Dutch, and Romanian. We can add another language in a day or two if you have documents to test with. Note that Overview can read documents in different languages, but the UI is still in English (this file would need to be translated.)

7. I’m interested in using Overview for my business.

Wonderful! Overview Services Inc. provides enterprise licenses, and we would also be happy to build new features for you or provide additional support. There is also an open source version released under an AGPL license if you do not require proprietary modifications.

You can reach us at @overviewproject or by email, We’d love to hear from you — especially if you have a document set analysis problem that Overview can’t solve. I bet there’s something we can do for you.