Help with my research workflow

Hi there!

I usually read my PDFs with DTTG on my iPad and create different annotations and highlights inside the document, this, of course, is just a superficial step that just gets me to know the material and see what is all about. I use DTTG because I have all my files imported inside DEVONThink, that way I use just the apps I need and everything is synced. So, here are my first couple of questions, how can I export into a single file all the highlights and notes I created? And how can I link that file to the annotated PDF so that I can always know where they came from?

After I highlight and create notes, I proceed to summarize the information, for this I have a template of the information I need to gather and that helps me with processing further the information. I have seen there is a little window in the inspector that is for annotations

and that this is linked to the PDF. Furthermore, I found some suggestions on how to use it: Creating a linked note for a PDF. I find it too small to create a summary there. So, how can I create a summary, preferably using Markdown with the normal editor (not that little window), that is linked to my PDF so that I can know where it came from? And I can see for example while looking at my PDF the linked summary and vice versa, from my summary the linked PDF and of course the exported annotations and highlights?

I hope I made myself clear, English isn’t my native language.

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I use an applescript to create a record(s) linked to the original
It could be a single summary record; or multiple sub-records
The script inserts a backlink url in the new record, along with selected text from the original

Unfortunately, I don’t know how to create apple scripts. But your workflow seems great and what I need.

Here’s an opportunity to learn
The forum can assist if you run into problems
Devonthink installs a great selection of sample scripts
Open the script folder in Finder, and open any script in the Script Editor app

You can open an annotation file separate from the Annotations & Reminders inspector.

Click the flyout arrow next to the Annotations field and choose Reveal.



This helped me solve almost everything, thanks! By the way, is there a path to customize where the annotation goes? When I clicked on reveal, it created a folder outside the place where the PDF is located.

Oh, also is this still the way to create templates for those annotations from the inspector?

At which point, you can move the annotation record to your desired location
My workflow is to create a group, a container for the pdf and any associated sub-records

Thanks for the advice :grinning:

Some related workflow advice that may be obvious, but some of which I only stumbled on a few weeks ago. It relates to the “spiderweb” nature of the relations among documents and research connections.

Per the above advice, your annotations record links to the PDF file that you’ve taken the annotations on. Great! But what if at some point while adding a serious of annotations to a PDF, you find yourself thinking of a different document that also relates to a specific [sub]annotation?

  • You probably know about the right click “Copy Item Link” option that will let you make a link to the relevant second DT file. And that’s a pretty good solution: just grab the link of the relevant second file, and paste it at the relevant point in your annotation file. What I didn’t know about until very recently was that you can get even more specific link calls, for at least two kinds of documents.

  • PDFs - you can grab a link that points right to the relevant page in the relevant second document, just by going to the relevant page, right clicking, and selecting “Copy Page Link

  • Text files - you can get a link that points right to the relevant paragraph in the relevant second document, by scrolling to the relevant part, right clicking, and selecting “Copy Paragraph Link

This is INCREDIBLY useful to be able to do with long PDFs and long text files. Again, maybe this is obvious, but your question was preliminary enough that I thought you might still be in early stages of figuring workflow. I don’t think you can do this in DTTG, but maybe there’s some way to build it into your workflow when you’re creating the separate file per advice above?


There’s also link to specific text within a document
There’s a script documented at Create link to line? - #3 by Bernardo_V


I’m still familiarizing myself with Devonthink, I bought MacSparky’s field guide, and it mentioned what you are saying, but I didn’t think about implementing it this way, thanks!

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I index the directory that my PDFs are stored in, rather than importing them into DT and view them using the Highlights app. This allows me to take detailed notes while reading and store them in a Markdown file which is indexed along with the PDFs. Might be worth having a play with the free version of the app and see if it fits how you like to work. You can opt to have it store the annotations internal to the PDF, so you can still import if you like.


i second using Highlights app, I’ve been very happy with their “Add to Devonthink” capability that creates a DT record with highlights, notes AND any eventual image clip (something Highlights excels in). For my use case, perfect. I do like markdown, but in md it is more involved to check the image captures, and I don’t want to “corrupt” what markdown was meant for…

and I don’t want to “corrupt” what markdown was meant for…

/quietly closes several databases and backs away inconspicuously…


Thanks, I will try it and see if it fits in my workflow.

ha ha ha