"Highlights" app - export annotations to DEVONthink, etc.

In DEVONthink, select the document that you annotated, run this script, and it will put a Markdown-formatted link to that document on the clipboard.

tell application id "DNtp"
	set the clipboard to "[" & the name of the content record & "](" & the reference URL of the content record & ")"
end tell

In Highlights, in the righthand pane, click “Edit” to see the Markdown text of your annotations and notes. Paste the clipboard (⌘V) where shown here – replacing



Thanks korm [You are a DTPO Ninja]. Works a charm. And that simple step has ramped the usefulness of this workflow up several notches!

This app looks good, and worth the money for the extra features, but I’ll just point out that you can export highlights & notes out of Skim almost as easily for free.

My standard workflow is to highlight/note PDFs on the iPad via DTTG (or I would if it got fixed, hint, hint!), reimport into DTP on the Mac via sync, open in Skim to convert the highlights into the Skim format which can be exported or just copy/pasted.

Absolutely – there’s Skim and other approaches. One value added with Highlights is the abilty to collect a PDF’s annotations into a well-formatted report in one step – a report that is editable as a Markdown document before the report is exported. Horses for courses.

I was intrigued by “horses for courses”, which is apparently an idiomatic expression used by Brits to imply that what works for one person may not work for another.

A Web page states “The term is widely used in the foreign-language translation industry, where a translator is selected for a job not solely based on his or her fluency in the language, but also based on knowledge of the subject matter.”

Which means pretty much the same. :slight_smile:

Well “yes” that is one use, but more like using the right tool for the right job—whether it is a person or a tool or whatever. (As Korm pointed out to me in Indexing Photos) :slight_smile:

For this horse, skim wins the stability battle, but it looks like Highlights could win the “useful output” battle.

YMMV (Your mileage may vary).


That looks right for now, but presumably Highlights will get more stable. I think it’s a great idea.

One further idea: I think it should be fairly easy to create a custom export template for Skim that outputs notes and highlights in Markdown. I’ve had a go at this, prompted by seeing the functionality in Highlight, which more-or-less works – would be happy to share (warts and all) if anyone was interested.

Yes, indeed, that would be very useful to see. There is a greater body of customization available from Skim’s users than Highlights and probably will continue to be for now because Highlights is not scriptable (yet – it appears its sdef is incorrectly implemented).

I am interested please.

Here you go. It’s very basic but works for me: it outputs text notes as bullet points and highlights as quotes. Other types of notes aren’t handled at this stage. Copy the following into a plain text file and then save that in this folder: ~/Library/Application Support/Skim/Templates/Markdown_template.txt . To use, you just do a File/Export in Skim, then select Markdown_template.txt from the dropdown list of File Formats

I’d be interested in any feedback and improvements



<$string?><$string/> (p. <$page.label?><$page.label/><?$page.label?><$pageIndex.numberByAddingOne/></$page.label?>)</$string?>

  • <$string?><$string/> (p. <$page.label?><$page.label/><?$page.label?><$pageIndex.numberByAddingOne/></$page.label?>)</$string?>
  • <$string?><$string/> (p. <$page.label?><$page.label/><?$page.label?><$pageIndex.numberByAddingOne/></$page.label?>)</$string?>




Apologies for the silence following your kind sharing.
Just to let you know that it doesn’t work for me. The script runs, apparently, but the output contains only the following:


Ah, I’m afraid I’m not able to help. I don’t have any programming or scripting experience, I just copied this template from another similar one and tweaked it by trial and error until it worked for me (which it still does!)

I did look at the documentation st the Skim site which purports to cover writing templates, but I found it impenetrable, and in particular whole areas don’t seem to be covered.

But in principle the Skim templates appear capable of formatting Notes exports into more or less any text-based format, provided you know what you’re doing!

Hi everyone,

I am the developer of Highlights. I was just made aware of this thread and wow! Lots of great feedback here:D I am not an avid DT user myself, but I am getting more and more into it as I am getting deeper and deeper into my PhD work. Needless to say, I hope to make the integration as seamless as possible.

Regarding instabilities, please send your crash reports/PDFs that crash the app/other feedback to contact(at)highlightsapp.net

Version 1.1 is currently in testing and introduces several new features, but should hopefully also improve stability.


1 Like

We wait with baited breath… Sounds like it could be a great compliment to DTP!

Many thanks for popping in!

Looking forward to it! 8)

Jonas just released a new update. Here is the list of improvements:

Looking good - but unfortunately, with not much in the line of a Manual/online assistance - cannot seem to find/use/activate (almost) any of the new features…

Will play around a bit more, and see if something switches on the light.

Yes, Cassady I am afraid documentation so far has been lacking and it’s definitely something I want to improve. However, I am happy to answer any questions you might have here.

Sticky notes and annotation colors are two new big features and both available from the toolbar. Hopefully, these should be intuitive. The same goes for scroll sync.

Most of the other new features can be found in Preferences:

  • In the “Colors”-tab you can name your colors to represent a category: e.g. Red = “Summary”, Yellow = “Methods” and have them sorted by their category.
  • In the “Customize”-tab you can set what sort of information you want to be displayed per annotation.
  • In “Customize”, you can also turn on Papers (reference manger) URL-scheme to direct all links to Papers instead of the browser. If the DOI of the PDF you are opening is present in your library it will open directly, otherwise Papers will fetch the website where you can download the journal article.

Appreciate the reply - will give the above a whirl!