Devonthink PDF Experience and Liquid Text

There are a few decent PDF readers, to critically engage material. Skim happens to be one of the best in my opinion. DTP’s PDF reader is good for checking a search result or reading a page or two here or there, but it is limited because there is no navigation available (unless I have not found it yet). Recently, I have begun to read PDF’s on my iPad with Liquid Text.* It has several export features of the notes, and diagrams one can make while reading. However, they have no desktop app to read their native *.ltdoc file. As I prepare for my PhD comprehensives, I find myself really desiring a better PDF system in DTP, and I asked myself the simple question: would DTP be like if it merged the abilities of Skim with Liquid Text? I greatly admire your product so please don’t misunderstand my comments here as a negative—only a desire to see a great piece of software become superb. I would really like some PDF improvements, especially since I dont like printing out articles and papers for environment reasons.

*Thank you for hard work on DT To Go. I used its PDF reader for the past couple of weeks, and it is a big improvement. Liquid Text has some features which have yet to be matched by other PDF readers, especially it’s auto excerpt and ability to create a .docx file of notes and highlights. This is excellent to use for outlining an argument as you read.

No offense taken. We don’t mind constructive criticism (especially when graciously and thoughtfully presented, as you have).


Thanks for understanding the post. Let me also say that I thoroughly appreciate DTP PDF features, especially its AI and concordance menu options. I would be remiss if I did not show appreciation for the extant features in the PDF. As a researcher, I like to remind myself that it is a goal to always keep moving forward. I hope computer scientists think the same, and if so, I await some forward momentum with the PDF features. (Perhaps there is some danger here in that perhaps PDFs will slowly be phased out by the idea of keep moving forward and replaced with new technology—if so, all the better as EPUB or XHTML file structures ensure better search results.)

That would be an interesting product. It seems that DEVONtechnologies prefers to plug in existing technologies (like PSPDFKit on DTTG2) for document handling rather than create proprietary document editors and viewers. Development is faster and cheaper that way. Of course, both the DEVONthink desktop and DTTG2 iOS products play very well with external apps.

Yes, I think it would great if the developers of Liquid Text and DevonTechnologies would collaborate, to create a symbiotic relationship for the benefit of their users. For the desktop, Liquid Text fails at providing a way to engage with reading (and I still write my articles and dissertation at my macbook). Even if DTP could parse and provide viewing options for Liquid Text’s native *.ltdoc file, that would be amazing! Or conversely, if the PDF viewer in DTP would provide some way to quickly navigate markups in a PDF, that would be a huge plus and time saver. For the safety of the environment, I would much prefer to read an article on my iPad, and the for the health of my eyes, may I add. I do appreciate and notice DTP willingness to cooperate with other programs. When people ask me what is DTP and how I use it my research, I often tell them it is everything Finder should be. So, I think it would be great if DTP and Liquid Text collaborated to make study, taking notes, digesting material, engaging ideas—all done with a great sense of organization—easier for their users.

DEVONthink uses Apple’s Quick Look technology to display file previews – the same technology that Finder uses. For proprietary file types such as .ltdoc it is that third-party developer’s responsibility to create a “Quick Look generator” spec and helper file that is installed on your Mac. The person to ask for this is the Liquid Text developer.