Clip to DEVONthink + Instapaper

Once upon a time I was able to use the Clip to DEVONthink Chrome extension on articles I was viewing in Instapaper and save a single-page PDF of the Instapaper version, the version I was viewing (Nothing to do with the “Reformat with Instapaper” box).

Sometime recently, I can’t say when, this all changed. Now, when I use the Clip to DEVONthink Chrome extension while viewing the Instapaper article the extension attempts to get a single-page PDF of the original article, rather than the Instapaper version that I am looking at.

Is this working as intended?

I tested grabbing a handful of single- or paginated-PDFs using the DEVONthink Clipper in Chrome on Instapaper and didn’t experience what you described. The articles were imported from Instapaper and not from their original sites. The Instapaper formatting was preserved.

Is there a good way to troubleshoot this?

Another example of this behavior is when I use the extension on Instapaper articles and, instead of just making a PDF out of what I’m looking at, it clips the original page, which has morphed into a paywall. I frequently have problems with the extension not clipping what I see (both inside and outside of Instapaper) but instead clipping with weird formatting I have to keep clipping until the formatting is right, and often that process causes me to hit a paywall.

As an aside, when you have Chrome in full screen does the extension take you out to a different screen when you clip?

I’m sorry, but I’ve tried again and cannot reproduce any of these problems while using the DEVONthink clipper on Instapaper with Chrome. No more time available for testing.

Troubleshoot? Disable all other Chrome extensions except DEVONthink and work forward from there - turning on extensions one by one – until you see the problem. If the problem is immediate (no other extensions are interfering) the reinstall Chrome and the DEVONthink extension. Try the extension while viewing Instapaper in Safari. Check your Instapaper configuration to see if there are any settings that might be suspects.

I disabled all extensions and then it started working. I re-enabled them one by one and with all of them enabled it’s still working.

It’s magic.


Although the original Instapaper issue seems to be solved, one more issue seems to persist. When I’m viewing an article on, for instance, the NYT and haven’t hit my paywall yet and choose to use the Chrome extension it’s not WYSIWYG - often I’ll look in my DT Inbox and see a PDF that is partially obstructed by the paywall image, despite the fact that my actual browser doesn’t show the paywall at all.

This happens at other paywall sites as well.

That is a long standing issue with – it is caused by NYT’s aggressive design to ensure that no one by-passes the paywall. NYT works hard to ensure that no user agent can access content for free.

Why isn’t the extension able to utilize the mechanism print to PDF does? On those pages where I can see all the content (i.e., I am still under the 5 articles/month the NYTimes paywall enforces) the print to PDF gives me a paginated PDF of the site while the extension sometimes gives me exactly what I see (which is what I want) and sometimes gives me content partially blocked by a paywall.

Interestingly, I’ve noticed if I use the extension rapid-fire three or four times one of the three or four will be accurate while the rest will have varying degrees of the paywall image in them.

As korm noted, some sites such as the New York Times–and of course, your secure online bank site–will divert an agent to the login page. Clip to DEVONthink won’t get the desired result.

In that case you will be able to use the print as PDF feature to capture a paginated PDF of the page.

I prefer making most captures as rich text rather than PDF. I rarely want to capture an entire Web page, only the desired content such as an article. Excluding unrelated images and text reduces the file size of the capture and improves the efficiency of searches and AI suggestions. Rich text is the most compact filetype that can capture text formatting, images, links, lists and tables.

So I would capture a NYT article by selecting it (from the bottom upwards), then pressing the keyboard shortcut Command-) to capture as rich text. Note that, as Firefox and Chrome lack full OS X Services compatibility, I use Safari, DEVONagent Pro or DEVONthink’s browser when making such captures.