Custom highlight colors replaced by default colors when reopening document

I’ve been using three custom colors to highlight pdfs for some time, as I found the darker default colors—red, purple, and blue—quite difficult to read.

Today (before upgrading to the new version), I noticed that a document I’d highlighted this last week had reverted to default colors (i.e., everything I’d highlighted in my custom “red” was now in default red).

As an experiment, I tried highlighting a new pdf, and as usual it showed the custom colors while doing so—but as soon as I closed the pdf and then reopened it (in DT3) the custom colors had been replaced by the default ones again. I’m attaching screenshots from the experiment, taken in sequence and within a minute or two of each other: the pallete, my highlighting, and how it appeared immediately after reopening.

Any idea what’s going on? And how to get the custom colors back? I would really, really hate to lose all the custom highlighting I’ve done on hundreds of documents.

Thanks in advance for your expert help!

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PS: there’s even more weirdness—I decided to open the pdf in Preview to see what color it was there…

And while when I opened it, the colors were clearly the default ones, in the Finder preview window it’s quite clear that the custom color is used! See attached.

Zero idea what to make of that, but was hoping it might be of use.

Thanks again!

The color of existing highlights in documents is not affected by changes of the preferences actually. Did you edit these documents externally or using DEVONthink To Go? Or did you update macOS?

Thanks for the prompt reply, Christian — you all are amazing!

I’m afraid that I didn’t explain myself clearly enough—partly because the issue is a bit complicated. I’ve made a video that should clarify things: I created a brand-new pdf using DT3, then highlighted it in my custom colors, and… well, you can see for yourself. Since it’s apparently not possible to post videos here, I’ve linked it here.

And I’ve also written what I hope is a less-confusing explanation of the issue, along with answers to your questions:

  • This is 100% taking place on DT3, with neither any external editor nor DTTG.
  • I set the custom colors many months ago, and have been using them without problems.
  • Yesterday, I opened a document I’d highlighted a couple days ago—and found that my custom colors had been replaced by the default ones.
  • Preferences still show my correct custom colors.
  • When I open and highlight a pdf in a DT3 window, my custom colors appear correctly.
  • But as soon as the pdf is saved (or even autosaved), then closedand reopened (again, in a DT3 window) , the custom colors have been replaced by the default ones.
  • When autosaved, the switch to default colors can be seen in the preview pane—but the custom color continues to show in the open pdf window—until it is closed and reopened.
  • I have not updated MacOS since well before this began happening.
  • This was happening before I updated DT3 to the latest version—I’d hoped it would solve the issue, but clearly it didn’t.

Hope that makes sense—and I so appreciate all your help!

And I really don’t want to confuse the issue, so I’m putting this in a separate message and feel free to ignore it:

From my very limited layman’s perspective, it seems odd that the Finder “preview” appears to show all highlights changed back to default colors—except for the most recent one.

Here is another video with both DT3 (left) and Finder (right) windows open. As you can see, I highlight a new passage, which shows up correctly in the custom red color I’ve set. But the instant I save the updated pdf in DT3, the Finder “preview” pane image changes: the penultimate highlight (which was the custom red) changes to the default red, while the most recent highlight is show in the custom red.

This appears to only occur in the Finder “preview” pane. I’m enclosing screenshots of both a Finder “QuickLook” window and a Preview app window of the same pdf right after saving it, and as you can see, both show all the highlight colors changed to default (with the exception of the QuickLook window “preview” pane, which retains the custom red color and is identical to the Finder “preview” pane, as indicated by the black arrow).

Again, this might be a total red herring—it’s just a further anomaly I noticed, and I thought it worth at least mentioning and documenting.

Thank you for the screen recordings! Are your custom colors slightly transparent? This would explain the inconsistent colors of the overlapping, highlighted lines.

Indeed, he is…

I’m not sure an opacity should even be supported in label colors. The annotations essentially use a Multiply mode so they’re not opaque in use.

Here is a highlight pre and post-opacity change, also showing the color in the Highlight dropdown does reflect the color with the reduced opacity. Also note the full opacity highlight on DEVONthink isn’t opaque.…

Yes, I am — is that the issue? The odd thing is that I was using it without any issues for many months, and this just started happening…

It does appear that I can get a rather similar effect just by making the color lighter—and that has the benefit of not having the visible overlapping effect you pointed out, either!

I don’t care at all that it be transparent—I just found the default red very hard to read, and for some reason was able to select and successfully use semi-transparent colors for many months, right up until a couple days ago.

Do you suppose there’s any easy way of fixing documents that were done with the transparency but now show the default colors? If not, it’s obviously not a big deal—mostly I just appreciate having this figured out!

Do you suppose there’s any easy way of fixing documents that were done with the transparency but now show the default colors?

There’s no easy way, e.g., not a button to push. It’s an unusual request for sure.

Okay—please don’t bother, then. You all have already been extremely helpful, and I’m positive that there are more pressing concerns!

Glad to be of service. @cgrunenberg would have to assess the possibilities, as his time and priorities allow. :smiley: