Feature Request: Addition of PDF Reflow & Text Highlighting in Reader Mode in DEVONThink To Go Mobile App

Currently, PDFs are rigid in their format within DEVONThink To Go, which can hamper accessibility across multiple devices. Furthermore, the absence of a highlighting function in reader mode inhibits effective note-taking and referencing.

To augment user experience, please consider adding two key features into the app:

  1. PDF Reflow Support: This would allow content resizing to adapt to different screen dimensions, thereby enhancing readability. This removes the present need to use alternative, expensive PDF readers which may not provide the necessary user experience. It also ensures document integrity regardless of the chosen display context or user customisation. [Best user experience I have found is on Xodo app.]

  2. Text Highlighting in Reader Mode: This crucial feature will facilitate note taking and important text marking for users, thus making studying and referencing considerably more efficient. [The only option I have found is Xodo app, but paying $20/month for this feature is too much.]

With these features, users will be able to assimilate information, interact with content, and create their knowledge base more efficiently within a single app, thereby circumventing the productivity-detracting requirement of shifting between multiple tools and subscriptions.

Alternatives considered
Whilst users can import their PDFs to alternative applications with these features, such external tools are expensive and involve transferring of highlights and notes, which could lead to loss or misplacement of vital information. Given these factors, including features natively within DEVONThink To Go is the more consistent and convenient solution.

PDFs are “rigid” in almost all apps that display PDFs, including preview on Mac. Reflow is not something that comes easily with this format. If at all, given that it was concieved for print with its fixed fonts, font sizes, page dimensions and line spacing.

Converting to ePub might be a simpler solution.

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Thanks for your response. I do not know what do you mean by not easy, but there are external solutions out there that solve this issue well. Just check the app I have mentioned (reflow is free, highlighting in reflow is available under the trial). It worked for all pdfs I have tried.

I get that this might be a cost/benefit issue for the developer. I would be interested to learn more about this. However, I genuinely believe that adding this feature to mobile DEVONThink client would significantly increase the value of the app. Moreover, I would be happy to pay an increased subscription fee for this feature. As long as, I store, index, read and annotate in one place. For academic purposes this a neat feature to have.

Finally, converting to ePub might be a simpler solution, if DEVONThink To Go was supporting ePub format. It does not, which brings us again to the argument of using external apps such as iBooks. I do not see how it solves the initial issue I have highlighted.

PDFs are designed to have a fixed layout. Actually, that’s one of the key factors in using a PDF: a consistent, reproducible layout. At some point Adobe introduced some markers that allows some PDFs to be relayouted but to do that properly it requires support by the creating app, e.g., Microsoft Word. With scans, reflowing is only possible by abandoning the original layout, extracting the text, and creating some sort of “reader” view. This can go well but also can go terribly wrong.

We have plans to add ePub support but in the meantime opening the PDF in an external App such as Xodo seems to be the solution I’d recommend.


Being a Unix person, I’m not a fan of the “all in one app” approach. Though I see why that might simplify some mobile workflows.

Instead of ePub, formatted note might be a possibility, as that’s also HTML which does reflow by design.

I would pay extra (unlock feature) for having a decent ePub viewer and annotator. Font, font size, line height, justification, margins, and two/three column mode. Plus, annotation (and annotation export).

AFAIK annotations are not standardized in ePub. Every reader does what it can, wants and considers useful. So, an annotation you made in one reader might not show up in another one.

I know that. That is the reason I added “and annotation export”.

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