Comments get deleted

Hello everybody,

one “bug” I stumbled across in DT2b is that when you add comments to a pdf File inside DT, open the file later for “highlighting and annotating” in Adobe Acrobat and in the end safe this file, your comments in DT get “lost”. This was very confusing for me to discover since I thought that the comments in DT are stored in a database that is not accessible by any third application and is not altered as I “edit” the associated file.

Anyone who can confirm this behavior? Any plans for correcting this? I can’t remember if this behavior occurred in DT1x also, but I don’t think so.

Best regards


I posted this as a “suggestion” already but since I received no answer I figured that this is propably beacause it is more a problem than a suggestion…

Yes, I can confirm the behavior. Ran a couple of tests using your instructions: adding comments to pdf in DTPro, opening same pdfs in Acrobat, making annotations/highlights, saving pdfs, closing, then reopening in DTPro. The annotations/highlights made in Acrobat are retained; the original comments made in DTPro are missing.

The problems with using Spotlight comments to store keywords or other information in OS X has been discussed in several threads in this forum.

On the one hand, users want DEVONthink to carry over into the database metadata that has been entered into Spotlight comments, when files are captured into the database, and to export metadata added to the Comment fields of documents inside the database, when files are exported.

So that’s what happens.

But Apple hasn’t “protected” the Spotlight comment field in OS X 10.5.x, and application developers don’t treat Spotlight comments uniformly. Some applications – Acrobat is one – will erase Spotlight comments when a file is edited and saved.

Over the years, I’ve looked at all the common methods for adding keywords, note and comments to documents, including Comments in DEVONthink, Spotlight comments, notes and annotations for PDFs in Acrobat, Skim and Preview (but these are limited to PDFs) and so on.

All of them had severe limitations, as far as I’m concerned. A pox on all of them! Notes in PDFs were limited to plain text – I don’t like that limitation, as I can’t insert hyperlinks or images. PDF notes have not been searchable (although that limitation may disappear for Skim notes). And I want to be able to associate notes with any file type, not just PDFs.

So I make all my notes in rich text. They are searchable. They are associated with the document to which they refer by their Name, and by hyperlink/item link. If I do a search for a document, the search results will also list the notes associated with it. If I look at a note, I’ve got a link to see the document to which it refers. If the note refers to something on page 51 of a PDF, I’ve got a Lookup string that will take me to page 51 of that PDF. The same Lookup trick works whether the referenced document is PDF, WebArchive, HTML or text.

If I want to send a copy of a document to a colleague, I can copy my notes associated with that document into its Comment, then export it. Some limitations will apply, of course – no working hyperlinks, no diagram images, no text formatting.

Ah…thanks Bill. At least I know why now and will try your method to see if how it plays in my workflow.