Highlighting problems

For five years now, same issues persist. I think that this is very sad that such an intelligent, great software that Devonthink is without any doubt, especially for scientific and journalistic research, is still not able to fix/improve these behaviors.

  • Still no Highlighter pencil available … a simple curseur (as in Apples Preview) who highlights everything one selects. This is very quick. In DTP, you always must select, then click either on highlight button, right-click or use key combination. Very boring.

  • Highlighting some text in a PDF, than highlighting a second part in the text suppresses highlight of the first part if they overlap . Nonsens behavior. Often it can happen that you want to add some parts of the text to a first highlighted text.

  • If in a PDF , you highlight a text containing an URL, the URL is not clickable any longer.

I work daily on DTPO, sometimes for hours, and everyday, i get bored to see these issues seriously slow down the workflow.

For the rest, thanks for this great software.

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See PDF: Attempting highlight on the same line causes problems - #19 by cgrunenberg

Screenshot video:

You can also see one boring side effect of the “need rightclick to highlight” on slower machines:

when searching in the rightklick menu for the “Highlight” Item, and you “overmouse” “Link to”, you get 1 sec waiting for the beachball, while "Link to "Menu is building up…

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It’s sufficient in one thread, thanks.

Is this really supposed to be a DEVONthink Go thread? And additional threads just make things more complicated, the fewer the better.

No problem.

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@cgrunenberg : I see this behavior as well, highglight a sentence then attempting to highlight separate words in the sentence with a different highlight color removes the sentence’s highlight.

Why are you always highlighting from the contextual menu?

You could use Format > Highlight > Color or long press the Highlight button in the Editing Bar, if you’re changing colors.
Since it appears you’re using the same highlight color in the screencasts, you could also just press Shift-Command-L to apply or remove a highlight.


You can then set custom shortcuts in System Preferences > Keyboard > Shortcuts > App Shortcuts for the specific highlight colors.

@BLUEFROG i know that you have a completely different workflow as i have, and i thinkl it is even different from what most users have. You have several colors to highlight, you work with keystroke-shortcuts…

I am sure that most users need a “simple” workflow. Highlight with ONE color as quick as you can. Add something to it. (without need to pay attention not to overlap).

If you have this behavior in DTPO, (same behavior as in Apples Preview!!) , you CAN always add your shortcuts for several colors. But the basics should work, as simply as possible…
Without keystrokes! (When reading/highlighting a PDF, i don’t want tou touch the keyboard)

If you, like me, don’t want to use keyboard shortcuts for highlighting, you could also use Better Touch Tool to enable highlighting with Magic Trackpad gestures, like a 4 finger tap, to make this much faster than using the contextual menu (which would drive me nuts because it’s so slow).

I posted my setup here a while ago, maybe this is of interest to you as well…


I always thought this was just the way it is.
I noticed that spaces allow for multiple colors in successive highlights, so I’ve been doing it like that.
But yeah, highlighting a word (or more) inside a sentence that was already highlighted, removes it all.

Thanks @chrk . I think DTPO should work like this “standalone”, but i will try BetterTouchTool meanwhile, good idea, thx.

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@chrk You say : “But yeah, highlighting a word (or more) inside a sentence that was already highlighted, removes it all.”.

Yes, that is even worse, i forgot this case , have more often do to with successive highlighting with one color and overlap. But yes, if you want to highlight a whole parapgraph, and then highlight a key word with another color, thats impossible, too, yes, although it is a probable scenario.

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You could try PopClip. It’s not free but very powerful as one can add extensions or even create your own extensions.

I use its highlight extension all the time.



+1 for PopClip. It’s amazing and I’m using the highlight extension too.

By the way, Pete, how did you get rid of the standard Copy icon in PopClip? I got it (like all the other standard functions) written in full, which takes much space, especially in German:

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PopClip never worked out for me. I had it installed various times and uninstalled it every time. Highlighting text with it is slower than with gestures, it’s practically the same as using the Highlights PDF app (which also has an annotations popup menu after text selection). Much better than nothing, but slower than BTT trackpad gestures like a tap, because of the cursor travel involved, even if placed centrally. But for people who use a mouse instead of Apple’s Magic Trackpad, this is the next best thing.

@chrk i installed btt, great, is really a good workaround while dtpo not offers the wished behavior.
But “three finger tap” or “four finger tap” didn’t work well, i had to define as trigger “three finger click”. That’s OK.
@pete31 Thank you for the idea, Popclip seems nice as tool, but as i have BetterTouchTool now, won’t overcharge the system with utilities although Popclip offers some more “visual” choices.

Glad to hear it. Of course the gestures can be set to your own preference, no need to use 4 finger taps (even though I’m pretty sure the dev has a simple solution for this, in case you want to use them as well).

defaults write com.pilotmoon.popclip UseShortTitles -bool YES
killall PopClip && open -a PopClip

PopClip hacking - BrettTerpstra.com

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