Method and apparatus for querying a document image database based on texture, i.e., analytically discernable patterns in the document images of the database. According to the invention, a document image database could be browsed for documents with a particular texture in a variety of ways. For example, a user could input an example document image with a similar appearance to the desired document. Alternatively, the user could employ a simple interface to define a synthetic document based on selection of a few categories. The synthetic document would then serve as an example for search. Or the user may employ a graphical interface to more precisely define an example for search. Thus, the user's knowledge of the general appearance of the desired document or documents provides the basis for the search.