Can't annote PDF


I have PDF’s which I can’t annote. But I don’t know why. In Preview and Acrobat the annotation works…
Also is there a way to add notes to other file formates such as HTML or Word etc…?
Thanks for your help.

If you have some PDFs that can’t be annotated in DEVONthink, you might attach one to a message to Support, and we can take a look.

Personally, I’ve never liked the annotation and markup features Adobe provided for PDFs, and I avoid them like the plague. Text notes are not searchable and are limited to plain text, which means they can’t handle text formatting, lists, tables, images and links – any or all of which I might want to use when I’m making notes. I think they look ugly, and deface my reference documents. Above all, as they work only for PDFs and my databases include a variety of file types in addition to PDF, they are not a universal solution.

I use rich text notes for annotation. They are searchable and flexible. They can be associated with and linked to document(s) of any file type. When I’m making notes, I often use them as drafts written within DEVONthink that can be easily polished as elements of the “final product” by copy/paste into a capable editor such as Pages or Word, and are self-documenting as to their source so that it’s easy to add footnotes, endnotes or captions when, e.g., the source of a quotation, video, chart or photo needs to be shown.

Imagine, for example, that you are creating a text book for publication on the iPad, using Apple’s remarkable Mac app for that purpose. Your DEVONthink database includes documents of many file types, and you use rich text notes within the database to identify the quotations, summaries, photos and videos that will be used in your text book.

DEVONthink Pro and Pro Office include smart templates that operate with scripting. The Annotation smart template (Data > New with Template > Annotation)—note that a keyboard shortcut is available—will create a new rich text note for any database document that you have selected, whether that document is PDF, rich text, a photo, video, Excel sheet, etc. The new note will be associated to its reference by Name and a hyperlink.

Suppose your Annotation of a document includes an image, a diagram, and you wish to be able to return quickly to the original document to see the page or location of that diagram in the reference document. If that reference document is a PDF, you can copy the Page Link of the page on which that diagram appears and paste it into the Annotation note; click the Page Link, and the PDF will open on that page. But suppose the reference document is a rich text or WebArchive document, which doesn’t have pagination. In that case, you can select a text string that appears near the diagram and that is likely to be unique to that document and that location within it. Copy the selected text string into the Annotation note and enclose it within quotation marks; now, if you select the string (including the quotation marks) and press Command-L (Lookup), a search window will open. Perform the search and select your referenced document among the results. It will open to the first occurrence of the text string.

Although the Annotation smart template will create only one Annotation note for a selected reference document, you can, if you wish, create any number of rich text notes about that document (and/or others) and link to them from your Annotation note.

When I’m working on a writing project, the first thing I do is create a new rich text note in which I summarize for myself what I wish to accomplish, and then lay out the sections of the project that I’ll create in a new project group, with links to them. As I proceed, I’ll update this note to include links to useful references, the status of draft sections, etc.

In sum, DEVONthink provides a very rich and powerful environment for making notes about the contents of a database, as well as a means of accomplishing drafting of a writing project.