Integration with Skim

Has anyone else seen Skim? It’s like a Preview replacement, that can easily add notes and highlighting to PDFs.

I can open up a PDF from DT into Skim (using Open With), add notes, save them, and everything. But there’s no way in DT to know that the document has notes on it. It’d be neat if DT could recognize that the PDF has been marked up with Skim, so I could know to open the PDF again inside Skim.

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I just found Skim too. Very nice indeed.

What I’ve done so far is to change the default system app for pdfs to Skim. This means the “External” button in my DT toolbar now says “Open in Skim”. So as long as I always read DT PDFs through that, I should be ok.

Still, it’d be nice to have DT show me that the PDF has Skim markup, or even better, add my Skim notes to the index for the PDF!

Skim does look like an interesting PDF reader. Remember that version 0.2 is the first beta release and isn’t a finished project.

You can currently add plain text notes to the Comment field of a PDF in your database, and those notes are indexed and searchable. You can also open a PDF that’s been imported into your database under Preview and add (permanent and non-editable) highlighting and text annotations, and when saved the results are visible in your database.

Christian has noted that its likely that a future version of DT will allow the searching and editing features of Preview (hopefully better than at present) to be directly accessible within the database.

One of these days I’l like to be able to add rich text notes with hyperlinks ‘attached’ to PDFs. That may well come in the future.

Yeah, Skim has potential. However, I do agree with Bill… it is still early in its development. Although I like the app so far, it crashed on me 2 times in 5 minutes.

I’m looking forward the development of more pdf capabilities on DTP.

– MJ

I played with it quickly last night. The highlighting alone is useful, as are then notes you can add.

There is a way for you to see the markup made in Skim; instead of saving the PDF in Skim, export it, and choose the Export > PDF with Embedded Notes, and save/export it to the same file name as the original PDF. The changes will then be reflected in your PDF in DT. As such you can use its Add Note feature, save it as mentioned above, and then those notes can be searched in your DT database (I have all my PDFs external to the DT DB and indexed; after “synchronizing” my PDF folder, the search for my Skim notes worked fine.)

Not quite working for my. I do full imports, rather than indexing.

The behaviour I’m seeing is that the notes and such will now show up in DT (after doing the Export), and a text search within that PDF will find the note, but if I do a database-wide search for text in the note, it won’t find it.

That happened with me at first as well, but then – after re-syncing my folder – it worked even from the system-wide search. So it can work, and it shouldn’t really be different whether indexed or imported (since import is still in the Files folder of the DB). I tried the same with making an Annotation from Preview; same results: if you add the annotation, and save it, it will show up in DT, but is not searchable system-wide, only within the single PDF. However, if you “sync” the file, it then becomes searchable system-wide. So it doesn’t appear to be a Skim-problem, just the way the indexing works in DT probably.

If anyone knows why – at times – it will only find the text from a search within the single PDF, and why it then worked (after re-syncing a pdf that was indexed) with a system-wide search, we’d be glad to hear about it.

Ok, it worked for me to force the synchronize. Kind of surprised that it’s required, you would think that if you open something with an external application, DT would know to re-sync the file once the external app makes a save to it.

Big problem though: If you do the Export to PDF with Embedded Notes, you lose the ability to edit any of the embedded notes upon re-opening the file in Skim, taking away a lot of the usefulness. So either you can create notes, have them appear in DT and never able to edit them again in Skim, or you have embedded notes that don’t appear in DT, but you can edit them from Skim. Tough choice.

Okay I just checked skim out and it is exactly what I hope DT’s PDF handling will become in v.2. Very cool, thanks for pointing it out.

to me it would be enough to have just skims highlight-tool in DTPO.

Perhaps it´s much easier to add only one of this tools instead of the whole bunch.



Highlighting is a big thing for me to, but it is also nice to somehow tie a note/comment to a particular section of the PDF.

I would also prefer integration with Skim, since its full screen reader is extremely useful and pleasant (with the two disappearing sidebars, and the possibility to switch app’s without leaving FS mode, unlike DTPO), and it integrates well with BibDesk.

Here’s one more voice who would like DT to be able to read the notes (in the files extended attributes) when importing PDFs. Bibdesk is able to do this and since it’s open-source, perhaps their code could be used as an example.
Of course, there might be changes coming to the PDFkit with Leopard that should be kept in mind when planning a pdf-handling interface.

Skim would be much more useful if it could create notes visible in Acrobat Reader when you click on the “comments and notes” button… instead, it uses a (probably) proprietary format, thus bypassing existing standards (ok, maybe not so standard).

Notes and comments created with Acrobat are visible in Preview without any problem.

I don’t agree: the main feature of Skim is that it doesn’t change the original PDF !!! If you want to have a PDF with the notes included you can export a new copy with the notes included.

What it is more common? to keep everything on our macs or to share knowledge with coworkers, probably using Acrobat Reader (even under mac)? :slight_smile:

This is a situation where an option to export the pdf with notes not written inside the pdf as it is now, but written as comments, would be useful.
I gave a look to the developers website and they already planned that, but the problem is the PDFKit this time.

Personally the reason I want to use Skim is that it leaves the original as is, if I need to send the comments to someone else I can create a new PDF with that information embedded. For me it’s far far far more common to send an untouched copy to my coworkers (actually I’ve never sent an annotated PDF)

I am also using Skim and would very much like to see DT support skim’d documents. BibDesk can read skim notes so it should be possible in theory for DT to do the same. I’m happy to open the doc in Skim itself. I just need DT to display the annotations and search them.

Ditto on Skim integration, if this is even being considered.