Get a pdf-copy of almost any document into DT inbox fast

SYNOPSIS
This hint shows you how get a pdf-copy of any document in any app that supports the standard print menu, into the DT inbox by just pressing “cmd-P-P” (tested under OS X.10.5 Yosemite and DTPO 2.8.7).
Caveat: do not use with Preview, as this causes loss/flattening of annotations (see below).

Note: This is a follow-up to a older post by Korm (who else …)
[url]Save PDF to DEVONthink -- printing shortcut]
All credit for the cmd-P-P method goes to Paul Horowitz at OSXdaily:
http://osxdaily.com/2014/08/19/save-as-pdf-keyboard-shortcut-mac-os-x/

Since I find this extremely useful, I decided to make a new post on this.

DETAILS
Background: The “Save PDF to DEVONthink Pro” command in the standard print panel is a convenient way to generate a pdf of whatever document/data you have in any app that uses the standard print panel, and send the result straight to the DT inbox. However, the command is awkwardly located, so I tended not to use it.

Korm’s hint referenced above shows that a shortcut can be created that works in all apps that use the print panel. I found that “option” as a modifier does not work, but “cmd” does.

The OSXdaily hint takes this one step further: choose “cmd-P” as the shortcut in all apps for “Save PDF to DEVONthink Pro” (make sure what the command is exactly called on your system, it seems that this can vary, and international users must of course use the command in their language). At first this feels wrong, as this is already the shortcut for general printing. But there is no conflict, as cmd-P only invokes “print” when still in the main app, and only acts on “Save PDF to DEVONthink Pro” when the print panel is up.

Result: Pressing “cmd-P-P” (i.e. pressing P twice while keeping cmd down" sends a pdf right away to the DT inbox. It’s hard to imagine anything easier.

This works as advertised (for me) for all apps that use the standard print panel. Most notably:

Preview
(1) Pdf files: Cmd-P-P works, but should be avoided as it loses/flattens pdf annotations. The easiest solution I found so far (preservers annotations and does not tinker with permissions) is to use “save as” and choose a watched folder that imports automatically into DT. Details are at the bottom of this post.

(2) Image files: Cmd-P-P quickly converts them into pdfs in DT; otherwise, they are best imported in their original format using the "share"button in the Preview toolbar.

Safari (even though the clipping extension is superior)

Word (very important, because I get so many memos from people in Word that I’m not supposed to modify, and hence should be sent as a pdf in the first place).

Some other programs use a slightly modified version of the print panel:

Calendar: Here you press cmd-P to invoke the panel, then you have to hit “continue” and pressing cmd-P again will then send the pdf to DT.

Photos: Again, cmd-P will get the panel up, then you choose “Print” and use “cmd-P” again, and the photo is in DT. Of course, using the contextual menu item “Add to DevonThink” is usually the way to go in Photos, but using the print panel route, you can select several photos and arrange them into a contact sheet or similar and then export to DT.

Some programs seem to not be able to do this at all, e.g. Adobe products with their own print panels:

Acrobat: cmd-P-P will not work. But in that case, dragging the icon from the window bar onto DT (save the file with cmd-S first if the file was modified) seems to be the simplest option (preserves annotations and does not tinker with permissions).

Preview pdfs: Save the pdf to a watched folder, which imports into DT via Folder Actions. Create a folder, e.g. on the Desktop such as “ToDT” and attach/enable the DT Folder Action “Import and delete”. Put the ToDT folder into the Finder Sidebar for easy access.

For installation, see this DT Tuesday Tip (you can choose the folder action “Import and delete” instead, to make sure that already imported files don’t clutter the ToDT folder):
http://blog.devontechnologies.com/2008/08/tuesday-tip-using-the-folder-actions/
Note: If you choose the “Import and delete” script provided by DT, the “delete” implies “moving to the system trash” (vs. - say - using the UNIX rm command), so the file remains recoverable in case the import to DT fails.

Just tried to do this whilst reading this forum posting in Safari on El Capitan but failed—it prints the document. Perhaps it is El Capitan.

I hope that I didn’t discover this for nothing just a few days before I upgrade to El Capitan :open_mouth:

Allsop, have you confirmed that the system recognized the shortcut? If you open the print panel and then select the PDF menu on the lower left, you should see the shortcut “cmd-P” listed to the right of “Save PDF to DEVONthink Pro”. If not, something went wrong.

If there is really a change in El Capitan, then you could assign e.g. cmd-o to “Save PDF to DEVONthink Pro”. In that case the shortcut to produce a pdf in DT would be cmd-p-o, which is still very easy to do.

In the OSXdaily article, people mention some issues, e.g. when double-pressing “p” too quickly on a Macbook Air. I tried this on my mid-2010 MBP 17", and it seems I cannot confuse or outrun the system whatever I try. Cmd-p-p is rock-solid for me.

@gg378: Confirmed here with Command-P-P on 10.11. Nice exploit! :smiley:

Ah…I do not see any shortcuts listed in the print panel PDF menu, obviously that is the problem. Any idea how I remedy this? Thanks for pointing this out, cheers.

I would remove the shortcut and recreate it, making sure to type it in exactly as shown in the PDF Services menu.

Thanks for the advice, as I do not have any shortcuts in the print panel PDF Menu, and this is universal in all applications I would appreciate it if you could expand on your advice and tell me how to do this? Where do I find the PDF Services Menu and how do I go about recreating a shortcut? Sorry to be thick on this :blush:

The two links in the original post above explain the process.

Setting up the shortcut:

Open System Preferences, go to the Keyboard pane, and click “Shortcuts” at the top

On the left side, choose “App Shortcuts”

Click the “+” button below the right side to create a new shortcut.

Choose “All Applications” at the top

Type in the menu title EXACTLY as it is shown in the menu (capitalization, ellipses, everything)

Add the Keyboard shortcut, say cmd-p

Click “Add” and you should be done.

Exit the Keyboard Pref Pane and open in some app, say Safari, the print panel and look in the PDF menu, whether the shortcut has arrived, so to speak. If not, check again the spelling of the menu title.

A little off-topic: I also made a shortcut, DTPO-specific, for the “Show In Finder” menu item. It worked fine, but the next time I opened DT, it was gone. I figured that there might be some shortcut collision with an existing one (I had chosen ctrl-opt-cmd-s, which could be relatively popular), so I switched to ctrl-opt-cmd-[ , which again worked nicely until restarting DT, and now it is gone from the menu as well. It is still displayed as active in the SysPref pane, but does not appear in the DT “data” menu. No matter what I choose, it won’t survive a restart of DTPO.

By the way, that menu item has a sneaky capitalized “In” :smiling_imp:

Excellent—thanks gg378 all works fine now :slight_smile: