Automatically generating DT annotation document from PDF annotations


I really like the way DT allows you to generate a separate document with annotations for a particular document. Right now I copy the annotations from other PDF readers and paste them into such DT annotation documents, and then I insert backlinks. Is there a way to do this automatically for all PDFs that I import?

Best regards,

Welcome @Terje

Yes, it is possible to create a smart rule that will summarize highlights into a Markdown document, rich text, or a sheet.

Which format would you use?

Thank you @BLUEFROG

I prefer RTF.

Could it also insert the relevant page backlinks for each annotation in the pdf?

You’re welcome.

A Summary document includes the page link for the detected highlights, e.g.,…

@BLUEFROG is it possible to make each annotation a separate document? Usually I annotate books and I like to take notes and tag the notes by topic. I’m not so interested in seeing all annotations by book, I like instead to see all annotations I’ve made about a particular topic from any book.

Actually, there is a new command coming in the next release: Edit > Paste with Source Link. This will allow you to copy and paste into your diverse rich text documents and have a page link for each pasted item.

Stay tuned for more good things to come.


Thanks, that will certainly help!

1 Like

@BLUEFROG would you be able to share how you made the smart rule? Currently, I am able to search for PDF’s in annotations, but I cannot find a way to invoke the Tools>Summarize Highlights>Markdown. Thanks in advance.

Welcome @dawob

It actually involves a bit of AppleScript.

Here is a smart rule you can mess about with…

Summarize On (1.1 KB)

I’d recommend to use the record’s location group instead of the current group as smart rules shouldn’t depend on the user interface.


summarize highlights of records {theRecord} to rich in (location group)

If I do this and run from a smart rule nothing seems to be happening.

Otherwise, using current group seems to be creating summarized highlights in the top level of my database.

The in parameter is actually invalid as location group is a property of records, not a global one.