Automatically add comments to PDF?

One of my frequently-used journals does not store full citation information in its PDF files. Thus, if I am careless when I capture the PDF into DT Pro, I might later discover that I have no idea where it came from.

The citation information is readily available on the online index pages of the same journal. That is, it’s in the pages that link to the PDF, but not in the PDF itself.

What’s the easiest way to paste from the clipboard into the Comment field of an existing DTP item? I know that I can do this with the Get Info command, but that requires quite a few mouse clicks when I’m adding many PDFs at once.

Alternatively, can either DTP or DevonAgent merge two items into one? That is, can I capture the index page–which contains the citation–as a page appended at the beginning of the PDF?

Any suggestions?

Update: I found the Merge command. It crashed DTP. :frowning:


On a related point (I think. Please let me know me if I’m totally off-topic), is there a way to capture info clipped from a PDF saved to Finder and to have the path to that information appear in the Show Info Panel’s Path pane, in DTP? I’m using Preview to work with the PDF.

Thank you,


If you want to add the same information to multiple selected documents, there’s a script that will allow this at See “Scripts Dealing with Comments”.

Data > Merge will create a rich text document merging the text content of the selected documents. You would lose the layout and images in PDF documents.

But in any case the Merge command should definitely not cause a crash. There’s something wrong on your computer. My first guess would be a haxie such as ShapeShifter.

You could save that index page containing citation information by displaying it in your browser and invoking the Print command. When the Print panel appears, click on the PDF button and select Save To DEVONthink Pro.scpt.

Now there are several ways you can use the PDF of that index page to find citation information.

The most laborious way would be to use the Automator workflow in the Extras folder of the download disk image to merge that index PDF to each of the article PDFs.

An easier way would be to copy the Path of the index page PDF and paste it into either the URL field or the Comment field of each article PDF’s Info panel. If in the URL field, launching it would open the index page.

Still another way would be to do a search by selecting the title of one of the article PDFs. One of the search results will be that index PDF.

Here’s a neat trick. Open that PDF in Safari (File > Open). Select the text you wish to capture (hold down the Option key while dragging the selection in a multicolumn PDF).

After selecting text, press Command-) to capture a rich note to your database. Now look at that document’s Info panel. You will see a representation of the path in the URL field. Choose Launch URL and the original document from which the excerpt was taken will open in Preview.

I found that. Alas, the information is different for each file.

No haxies on this system.

The merge command worked fine with two text files. I think the problem may have been that the PDF I was merging was pretty complex, with lots of images and a two column layout.

Because of that complexity, a text-only merge is undesirable anyway.

What I ended up doing was copying the text citation from the index page to the comments for the PDF file. That’s no more difficult than copying the path, and puts the information right where I need it. Especially once I changed my view options to show comments in the table listing.

Thanks for the suggestions,



I really don’t belong in this thread, sorry.

Just to finish up – Bill, you wrote: “After selecting text, press Command-) to capture a rich note to your database.”

I don’t understood the key sequence “Command - )”

When I hold down the Command key and hit the “)” key nothing happens.

I guess I’m not clear on the key symbols.


Hi, Jeff. “Command-)” is Command-Shift-0, the keyboard shortcut for a DEVONthink Pro Service to save a rich text note holding selected material.[/list]

Bill, that worked great. However, in my case, the file lost its formatting when it appeared in the DTP RTF. The words stacked one on top of the other. Is there a way to keep the formatting from “unpacking”?



Hi, Jeff. I assume you selected text from a Web page. If the resulting RTF capture is unreadable, you are free to think unkind thoughts about the person who designed the page. :slight_smile:

To make the text readable, try reformatting to plain text (Format > Make Plain Text).

Bill, LOL! (’:lol:’) You’re right about that PDF; it’s from a Dec 1926 issue of The Nation weekly magazine. And in that there is a lesson, as you say: a lot depends on the quality of the PDF, yes? In any case, I’ll try the switch to plain text to see if it works out. Thanks for the great tip.

I’ll tell you, Bill. I don’t know how the DTP people like you work the hours and still do your own work (I know, you owe it all to DTP!!!), but it’s great. The support for me as a user has been just… well, limitless and timely. What more can I say. I’m grateful. Thanks, again.


Jeff, another possibility is that the text magnification is set too high. Try clicking in the document and then pressing Control-Command-Down Arrow.

No luck. Couldn’t change the size of the document. Also no luck reformatting to text; still got a stack of words. The work-around was to highlight the text, then “grab”/ “window” from the file menu and “save as” a document. Then I imported to the DTP file. Although, that gives new meaning to the well-worn engineering term “work around,” it did the job. Your way is faster and, if it works for more modern documents, promises to be valuable. Not everything I wish to import comes from a microfiche file turbocharged into a PDF for sale on a Rupert- Murdoch owned database.

One other thing, when I try to collapse my DTP files using the associated keyboard commands in the file menu, nothing happens. The menu command collapses the files, but the keyboard commands do not. Am I doing something wrong? I am jet lagged.



The keyboard commands to change the apparent size of the document will work – unless your OS is messed up.

Display a PDF document in the text pane of a view. Control-Command-Up Arrow increases size, Control-Command-Down Arrow decreases viewed size. Also works if you open the document in its own window.

I know what you mean about jet lag. Long flights get to me. :slight_smile:

Bill, thank you. The commands to increase or decrease the size of the file do work, but not on this particular PDF file, when opened in Safari. So, I don’t think it’s a computer issue.

But what about the other matter: when I try to collapse my DTP files using the associated keyboard commands in the file menu, nothing happens. The menu command collapses the files, but the keyboard commands do not.

What’s going on there?