Indexed PDF changed background

I am having several problems (again) regarding syncing an indexed database between 2 Macs. However, one of the more interesting problems that I have encountered is the removal of text from a scanned/OCR’d picture of a document. Previously, it was displaying fine. But now one of the pages is blacked out within DT, and if I open the doc in a PDF viewer, then the text is gone but my highlights remain. Please see attached photos and advise. Thanks!

Which version of macOS do you use and how was the document initially created? It’s most likely an issue caused by macOS’ PDFkit framework, neither indexing nor synchronizing modify documents on their own.

Hi! I am on macOS Monterey 12.0.1. This document was initially imported 3 weeks ago, and it has been displaying as it should, until today. The error occurred after I made some changes to the doc (i.e. renamed it and added some tags). Thx.

I was just able to open the PDF file using Adobe on a Windows machine and it displays correctly.

Renaming or tagging doesn’t modify the file contents either. What’s the modification date of the document?

Well…I have messed with it a few different ways, now, so the modification date is definitely today.

I have now also been able to properly display the document on my Mac using Adobe Reader. However, if I open it with Preview, the problem remains.

I agree that it may have nothing really to do with the sync, so I am not too worried about that part of it. (I have had more serious issues.) I guess right now I just want to figure out a way to re-import the file and have it display in DT correctly.

Did you edit it using DEVONthink (e.g. add/remove/rotate pages, add/remove annotations, highlight text or change properties)? Or with another app?

Hi! I appreciate your help, but I have managed to get the document back into my database in usable form, which is all that I need for now. (I just took screenshots of the open pdf in Adobe, imported them to DT, and ran OCR.) So, I am back in business with respect to this problem. Thanks again!

Please respond to this…


I was referring to changes done outside of DT. I didn’t really change anything, but I made of copy of the file within Finder, pasted it to another folder that is also indexed to DT, deleted the original file, then viewed the new copy with in DT. This did not work.
But since the original question was aimed at getting a modification date, I could not provide one since I was actually viewing my copy and I deleted the original.

I can add the following detail, in case it is relevant: I noticed the problem after updating the macOS from Big Sur to Monterey on 1 of the Macs in question. (This only means that I first noticed the problem some time after the upgrade, it doesn’t mean that the problem could not have been there already.) The document was originally imported (3 weeks ago) onto a Mac Air that was running Big Sur. It synced with my iMac (running Monterery) with the same DB. (I did not look at this specific file at this point.) At some point during the day, I upgraded my Mac Air to Monterey, and later opened DT. It was after this that I discovered the problem.

Is this a confidential document or could you send us a copy? Maybe it’s a display issue of the PDFkit on Monterey.

No…it’s not confidential at all. How should I send it?

Please send it to cgrunenberg - at - - thank you!


I experience same behavior with some kinds of PDF compression and complexity. And happens since Big Sur. And guilty is macOS, as its PDF engine is crap.

PDF Viewer from PSPDFkit and Pdf Expert show well those PDF files in macOS.