Help with DTTG and PDF Expert

Can someone please help me with DTTG and PDF Expert? I’ve read that they work well together, but I just can’t seem to get it working. I am sure that it is something stupid/silly on my part, so…

What I’d like to do is take a PDF that is in DTTG and open it in PDF Expert to read and annotate. After I am done with it in there, I want to send it back to DTTG and not have a duplicate record. Can someone walk me through this like I am 5?

Incidentally, I would do my annotating directly in DTTG except it doesn’t seem to remember the a last page I was one if I leave the program mid-document.


Open PDF expert.
Press iCloud.
Press iCloud Drive
Press Locations
Press DEVONthink
Navigate to your database / group / document
Press the document title
Close the document

Your annotations are saved to DTTG.

This uses the document provider in iOS 8+ and DTTG 2.1+. No need to send the PDF from DTTG to PDFe and back.

Korm -
I am assuming that this means I need to sync my selected DTP database to icloud rather than Dropbox? Most of my PDF’s are indexed within DT, not stored locally (they are stored in Dropbox, for now).

No. Nothing needs to be synced differently to use the Document Provider feature in DEVONthink to Go 2.1+. Just follow the steps that korm described above.

OMG,THANK YOU! You’re the first person who finally just spells it out. If only this were documented somewhere. It’s so discouraging to feel so stupid when everyone else seems to think it’s obvious. Well, it IS obvious, now that I see how it’s done.

Hello. Thank you for the directions. I have followed them, but any annotations I make on PDF Expert are not visible when I open the file again in DTTG.

I know the annotations are being saved by PDF Expert, because when I go back to PDF Expert and open the file from the “Recents” window in PDF Expert the annotations are all there. They are just not transferring over to DTTG. iOS, DTTG and PDF Expert are all latest versions as of this post.

Any suggestions? Thank you in advance.

Sorry. Can’t reproduce that. When you sync to the desktop, are the annotations visible?

Intersting… I’ve followed the instructions and can see the DT structure and files within them. BUT, I can’t select one and open it. I’ve tried making sure the PDF file has been downloaded in DTTG. Even then, none of the shown PDF’s are openable in PDF Expert.


Sorry about the delay in replying. I wanted to do some testing before replying. I believe I know where the problem lies.

I imported a brand new sample 1 page pdf into DTTG, and went through several cycles of annotating it in PDF Expert iOS, syncing DTTG and DT Pro Office (using Dropbox sync), annotating the same file on PDF Expert desktop version, re-syncing and checking the file on DTTG. Even after several cycles of this, all annotations showed up appropriately.

However, I then annotated the file on DTTG itself and closed it. I then opened the file on PDF Expert iOS but it did not show the DTTG annotation. I annotated the file on PDF Expert - when I reopened the file on DTTG it showed the most recent DTTG annotations, but not the PDF Expert annotations. From that point on, syncing the file and opening it on the DT Pro Office would only reflect the post-DTTG-annotation version of the file.

Long story short, it appears that annotating a file in DTTG creates a new version of the file. This new version is viewable and editable within the DT iOS and desktop framework, but is no longer present within the iOS Document Provider framework or available to any other iOS applications.

Appreciate your thoughts on the issue. Thank you.

Try closing the document picker, shutting down DTTG and PDFExpert (double click the home button and flick the apps off the screen). If that doesn’t work try rebooting. Sometimes document provider needs a kick to get going right. Make sure you have the latest versions of iOS and DTTG. Sometimes the database has to be configured for “download always”.

That might be the case, but it’s more likely that Readle’s framework for PDF annotations is not consistent with the PSPDFKit framework that DEVONthink to Go uses.

The best course of action is to pick an annotation service and stick with it for a document – don’t do your annotation is more than one software for any given document.

You’ll never get Readle, PSPDFKit, Adobe, Branchfire, and all the other annotation providers to stick to the same standards.

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Some apps like PDF Expert ‘cache’ files that you opened with them. So even when you open a PDF again from PDF Expert it may or may not grab the latest version from DTTG2. We don’t know if there’s anything we could do except for changing the original file’s location, which is not something we’d like to do.

I’ve been experimenting with PDF Reader Pro (which has been around for a while) on iPad. This app supports document provider and has an option to save an annotated document and “overwrite [the] file in iCloud Drive” – which appears to replace the instance in DTTG. So far this works ok – but I’m not sure what the implications for sync might be, if any. The annotations seem to sync back down to DEVONthink on the desktop intact, without issues.

Thank you for the comments @eboehnisch and @korm.

I will contact PDF Expert support to see what they suggest. Maybe there is a way to turn off the caching on their end.

In the meantime, I will stick to using just one annotation method like @korm suggested.

Same here: [Working on iPad Pro, latest iOS, rebooted machine, restarted apps (both DTTG and PDF Expert)]


  1. opening a PDF file in PDF Expert via /iCloud Drive/Locations/DEVONthink To Go
  2. annotate the PDF file in PDF Expert
  3. close PDF file
  4. check PDF file in DTTG: Annotations are there
  5. repeating steps 1. through 4. for a second time: new Annotations are NOT there

Sometimes when trying a bit later it might work again … but it’s definitely not reliable.

@sotospeak Between steps 4 and 5, did you make any annotations using DTTG itself?

no - I did not make any Annotation in DTTG!

Had the same issue with DTTG and PDF Expert 6. Seems to me it is a PDF Expert 6 problem. In fact, if I use the PDF Expert document picker to take a file from DTTG and made an annotation (whatever type) it work, but just the first time.
If I leave PDF Expert open and pick again the DTTG file and made another annotation (whatever type) it doesn’t sync back to DTTG.
If I want to add another annotation to an already annotated file I am forced to close PDF Expert and reopen the file.
Therefore, it seems to me that PDF Expert save the PDF in the cache and this create some problems with the overall syncing process.

Has someone found any solutions? or alternative? Sincerely I would prefer not to use the internal PDF annotator…

No. This is a PDF Expert issue, not a DEVONtech one.

Yep, Sorry I didn’t make it clear enough. It is totally PDF Expert fault. DTTG works greatly with other software (Adobe Acrobat for example). I already sent PDF Expert support an email about it.

I just wanted to confirm the problem, and see if someone found some tricks to use PDF Expert with DTTG (some way of clearing PDF Expert Cache without quitting the app, some settings etc.) :slight_smile: