Adding item links to link PDF

Hi. Am sure I’ve missed something simple - how do user add item links to PDF file? Have a few PDF that can related but in different groups and would like to add item links to jump to related PDFs. Thanks

I responded to a similar question here, and the rest of the thread may also be relevant to you.

If you have the targeted file’s item link on the clipboard, you could use a Link annotation in the PDF.

Thank you both. Will check out your suggestions.

Hi Jim. Tried to add a link annotation but only “link type” “URL” are usable. “Text” is greyed out.

Same here. I thought a could write some text (e.g. “Link to paper XY”) and the item link and this would then be linked to the PDF it refers to on my database. Or do I miss something?

I’m not sure this is the most transparent bit of the DT3 user interface. It wasn’t obvious to me how to get back out of the annotation mode once in it (use Tools/Mode/Text Selection) nor was it immediately obvious to me how to close the Annotations window, saving the changes (use the red close dot). The link takes its name from the URL it seems:

Screenshot 2021-04-26 at 10.12.35

I can’t enter text either; I tried using [ ]( ) nomenclature, but that doesn’t work either. The result is that I can’t actually see the link in my usual (text selection) mode; it does, however, appear in the link list. A link pasted into a text annotation is not recognised as a link, and cannot be selected.

The UX is not fully linear here; whilst the window for a text annotation has a “set” button, that button is inactive, because it is only used to set a link to within the PDF - which can only be done in the Link annotation; the Link annotation displays that button for Link Within PDF but nor for URL. So it would make more sense for the button to either always be there, or only ever be there if needed. But not there in some windows where its inactive, but not in others where it would also be inactive.

The annotation window kind of feels like it was intended to be doing more (like an Oval should be able to link to a URL; a URL should be able to have text); is something wrong, is this under development, or am I getting it wrong?

The Link annotation creates a clickable hot-zone, similar to HTML image maps. You can’t add text. However you could apply a link over some text.

Development would have to assess adding text for the link annotation.

Which is only visible in Annotation Selection mode (I think I’m just mentioning that; I’m not quite sure its obvious, but I understand the possible reasoning).

That’s the main problem for me: It’s not visible in the PDF. If we could add text, it would be visible. (text or something else).

I always worked around that limitation of invisible links by adding a note as well, like shown below.

It takes longer, but I know there is something there to click. Before DT 3.7, you could still open the note by clicking it and would have to click around the note to open the link.
Now in DT 3.7, this doesn’t work any longer, the link seems to always be in the foreground and you can’t open the note if it is placed within the link zone. That’s fine with me, because in these cases, the note only exists to highlight that there is a link.

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Tested out both methods, annotation via CTRL-3 and link annotation. Link annotation works best as it’s more visible on PDF itself but much more work when have a lot of links having to create those links AND also create individual text box. Hopefully future releases enable “text” section of link annotation - that would save a lot of work and more logical step.



It would be amazing to be able to insert visible links into specific pages of a PDF. Just as an example, this page is deep in a very large PDF:

The page shows a debate that’s part of a large complicated conversation among different political institutions–whose records unfortunately all show up in different PDFs. So I’d like to insert a visible link from this specific page directly to a related discussion that is located deep in a completely different PDF. I can make the page-specific interdocument deep link to the 2nd document (yay!), I can paste that page-specific interdocument deep link into this specific page of the 1st document (yay!), but I can’t see the link once created (rats!) A visual cue to remind me I can navigate directly to the related page in the 2nd document (and where to click!!) would be amazingly helpful.

FWIW Hook comes close to doing this, but not quite – I’d have to use a different and worse PDF editor for the deep linking to work within DevonThink, whereas if I use DevonThink’s PDF reader, I can edit in PDF Expert, sync the product through DropBox, and still create deep links in the same document just by opening it within the DevonThink reader

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A workaround might be to add a text field à la “Link to XY document” in small font and then place the link rectangle over that text field.

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that’s a great great idea. i mean (as you know) not like the Perfect ™ solution from a design standpoint, but…jeez, yes, this captures what i need very well and is well worth the extra effort. Thanks so much for the suggestion!

You’re welcome! The great thing about DevonThink is that there’s almost always some kind of workaround that can meet individual needs.


I would like to second this.