DDTG, PDF Expert, Editable fields in PDF, and thou

Here’s the setup. I have patient records in pdf form that have editable fields (made in Acrobat Professional). As it is, I can transfer a form from my laptop to the iPad via PDF Expert, edit a field or more, then transfer the form back to my laptop, with the changes intact. Problem with the set up was keeping track of which forms were changed, etc. So, I get Devon Think, DevonThink To Go and the fun really begins… I put the patient records into a DT database, then transferred them to DTTG. Per the documentation, I open the form in PDF Expert from DTTG (DTTG doesn’t support annotation or typing into an editable field), but the form now has a different name (long ass string of numbers and digits). Thus DTTG doesn’t “update” any changes as it doesn’t recognize the form as a new version of the old form (different name, remember?), and the “new form” is not easily found within DTTG when it is transferred over from PDF Expert (not found in database nor Global Inbox within DTTG). Finally, how do I delete database within DTTG that has been already deleted from DT?

This is a small bump to see if anyone can help me solve this dilemma. Anyone out there? 27 views and no assist… sigh…

The long string of numbers and digits is the internal naming scheme used by DTTG (to ensure its unique). This name should allow DTTG to match the updated document with the existing one and make the proper changes. As a result, you won’t find it in the Global Inbox (unless that’s where the existing document is) or find it by searching with the long name. If that’s not working, there may be a bug on our end (and I’d like to learn more about what you did).

You should be able to perform a “swipe-to-delete” (similar to deleting messages in Mail) to delete a database in DTTG. If you’re not familiar with this, simply swipe across the database name. A “Delete” button should appear on the right side. Tap this to delete the database.

Let’s say you send a document called patient-005.pdf to PDF Expert. What you receive there is a document called xxx-yyy-and-so-on-zzz. If you make some changes in it, PDF Expert (and so many other apps) will save a copy called xxx-yyy-and-so-on-zzz (2). If you send it back to DEVONthink, as it has a different name, it won’t overwrite the old one.

What I do is, after saving the PDF changed, to delete the old PDF and rename the new one erasing these ending characters (be sure to erase the blank space before i[/i] too!). So, when I send it back, as the name remains unchanged, it overwrites DEVONthink PDF with the modified one.

That’s a little boring. And then is the fact that we can’t see these annotations or fields in DEVONthink. Let’s hope we can see them in future versions.

If I understand Dr. Kesler’s scenario:

  • We have a form patient.pdf that is used repeatedly
  • The form is sent from DTTG to PDF-E for editing
  • When the form is sent back to DTTG from PDF-E, Dr. Kessler wants it to be uniquely identifiable, for that patient, and therefore show up in searches in DTTG

Here’s what I would do (and I’ve tested this to be sure it works):

  • Select patient.pdf in DTTG and send it to PDF-E (or any other PDF editor on iPad)
  • Immediately after that document opens in PDF-E, go to the PDF-E document listing, and change it’s name to patient-123.pdf, or patient-124.pdf or whatever scheme your records follow.
  • Edit the renamed document in PDF-E.
  • When finished, from PDF-E, “Open In” DTTG

So, the Inbox in DTTG will accumulate documents with reasonable names, unique for each patient, which will then get back to DT on the desktop upon syncing. The original patient-pdf file in DTTG is never edited because that’s the template for your real patient records. (It’s like marking a document as “stationary pad” in OS X on the desktop machine.)

The above procedure assumes only one trip from DTTG to PDF-E and back. If, later, you need to edit a form (say, patient-007.pdf) in PDF-E, then send it to PDF-E from DTTG but do not rename it because this time you want to leave the “long-ass-string-of-numbers-and-digits” file name alone. As Mr. J pointed out, that string of numbers is how DTTG associates unique documents. Not to worry, though, because when that file is sent back to DTTG from PDF-E it will still be patient-007.pdf and will have your updated edits.