Importing PDF's shrinks them to an unreadable size

I’ve discovered that some PDF’s that I imported into DT are visually unreadable. If I drag them to the desktop, I can read their text, but if I open them, they are just fuzzy. What gives?

When you open these PDFs externally (in are they OK? When DT imports PDF files sometimes it just takes snapshots of each page (incredibly small and just previews or thumbnails) but the file itself can be viewed externally without problems…

Are these PDFs by any means password protected?

These pdf’s are not password protected.

They were made by me in two different manners.

The first was scanned and then saved as pdf’s.

The second were webpages that I used “print to pdf” to create the pdf. In the future, I will use the “print to DTP” (i’m a beta-tester) option. But in the meantime I need to figure out how to recover these pdf’s.

I can’t seem to open them with either Acrobat Reader or Preview. I haven’t tried opening them in Acrobat yet.

“Shrinks” may be the clue.

Try this. While viewing the PDF in DT, select View > Zoom to Width. Does that help?

thanks bill. i tried that and it didn’t work.

what’s the simplest way to just export one file. i’ve been nervous to try the export function because i’m afraid it’s going to try and export my entire database.

Just select your content/document, (in your case: the pdf file), then choose “Export” > “Files and Folders” from the Edit menu. DT will export only what you’ve selected. It will create both an exported version of your file, and an accompanying XML file. You might want to create a folder in Finder to hold your export (e.g. a folder named “Stuff I just exported from DT”). Also, the export feature is not destructive - you’re making a copy when you export. The source pdf file that’s in your DT database remains.

I am having the same problem with pdfs that are suddenly too small to see. They were OK, but have changed. If I double click on them, they open in Preview but are still too small to read (and I can’t drag the corner of Preview to make them larger). I have tried zoom in both DevonThink and Preview, but nothing works. What was originally at actual size is now about 2x4"

I am not sure what if anything I did between when I last saw them and they were OK, and now when they are not. I did Export the entire folder containing a lot of Subfolders and Files. When I looked at it again, all my pdfs were unreadable. I went to the exported files and they are OK.

I haven’t tried any repair strategy yet; would prefer to hear from someone re what is recommended before I do anything. I have multiple backups, so can restore most/all of this, but it is a major hassle to have this happen. Must be a flaw somewhere…

Don’t know if this is the same as your problem, but I’ve seen something similar a few times.

When I clicked on the filename of a recently imported PDF (in Vertical Split view), the PDF image was small, much too small for readable text. When I clicked the green ‘resize’ window button, the window expanded, but the PDF image remained small. Then I selected View > Zoom to Width. The PDF was now readable. There was actually nothing wrong with the PDF.

Bill: Thanks for the suggestion, but it doesn’t work. If I click on the green resize button the window enlarges but the pdf stays the same size. If I click Zoom to Width the pdf text image shifts slightly, but remains the same size.

When I double click on the file, it opens a miniature DT Preview pane which it says is 197x256 pixels. In that miniature window I can read the icons in the toolbar, the number of words and the Words/Classify/SeeAlso buttons at the bottom, but not the text. I can not drag the window open any further. None of the menu size options make any difference.

Neither the icon nor the menu selection “Open With Preview” will work.

If I try to export one of these shrunken PDFs, I get a DEVONtech_storage document but no file.

I know this thread was from more than a year ago, but I’m having the same problems exactly. PDF’s that I know were working before are now just thumbnails, are unreadable, their pages can’t be turned, etc.

Was there ever an explanation or solution for this. Help would be greatly appreciated, as not knowing what causes this could majorly endanger one’s PDF collection in DT.

Yes. The Path to the original PDF file that was Indexed into DT Pro is broken. The original PDF has been deleted, renamed, or moved. And DT Pro has lost information contained in that file.

Select one of your “problem” PDF documents in your database. Select Shift-Command-I to open the Info panel. Now inspect the Path field, which “tells” DT Pro where the file is stored in the Finder. Go to the Finder. The file isn’t there, right?

If you’ve shuffled around the Finder folder hierarchy, that can break the Path. If you’ve renamed folders that can cause problems. If you’ve moved files to a different partition or drive that will break the Path.

If you haven’t actually deleted the original files, and they are still in the Finder, you may be able to use a script to help update the file Paths. You will have to “tell” DT Pro to replace the previous path with a new path that’s correct. Take a look at DT Pro’s Scripts > Path & URL > Update Paths. (I believe Christian recently posted a script to make this easier.)

If you use the Index mode to capture files, the most portable approach would be to keep your database and the original files in the Documents folder, as you can then migrate your User directory to another computer with little risk of breaking paths.

If you use the Import mode, original PDF, postscript, image and QuickTime media files are copied into the Files folder inside the database package file. Unless your hard drive becomes corrupt or the hard drive fails, DT Pro’s links to the files in the Files folder are unlikely to break. When DT Pro 2.0 is released, all file types for Imported files will be copied into the Files folder inside the database package.


Quite strange, because I always import all my file types…I don’t see how I could have broken the link, since I never merely index. They were imported a while back with a bunch of other pdf’s; however, all the pdf’s in one group lost their content, while the others pdf’s are still fine.

I haven’t moved the database or anything else. Are there any processes on DT (such as rebuild database) that could break imported files?

UPDATE: Ok, i just went to my documents, opened up the DT database (show package contents), and I found my pdf’s still in there, in the Files folder! So, somehow the information showing the path has been lost. I guess I will manually reconnect them, unless someone can tell me a quicker way to fill the path information of the file’s info pane (the update path script requires that I know what the previous path was; in my situation, there is NO information in the path field of the info pane).

However, I still don’t understand how they could have been “lost” while they are still there, considering I had no disk failure (thankfully) or anything of the like.

There’s a script that will remove Paths. :slight_smile:

Here’s something that makes it a bit easier to recreate the Path info. From the Info panel of a PDF that does have a Path, copy that to the clipboard and paste it into at TextEdit document.

Clip off the file name part of the Path and copy the remaining string to the clipboard.

Now just go to the Info field of a PDF with missing Path, insert the clipboard contents and then type in the file name of the PDF. Hope you don’t have too many of them!

Or you can use the script to Update path, but you might want to create a list of file names first.

Thanks, Talazem, for doing that bit of detective work. I have had that problem too (thread here but didn’t realize that the Path attribute applied at all to things that were imported.

I would like to suggest that it shouldn’t be possible for this situation to occur with imported documents.