Making and saving comments for selected text

It would be good to be able to select a word or paragraph in a static file and, either via a top menu or by a contextual (right-click) menu, to add a comment for that selection, which would be saved and appear somewhere in the right-hand-side pane.

Scrivener has this function, and it’s super-handy.

If this was ever to be implemented, it would be very nice if multiple text selections could be linked to the same single comment, if required. (Scrivener has not yet implemented this, but I know there are requests for it on their forum.)

By the way, if this already exists, apologies: I must have missed it in the manual.

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in a static file

Define “file”. A PDF?

Well, perhaps, for this purpose, a file that isn’t obviously vulnerable to change on refresh as say a web archive might be.

I know you can make links to paragraphs and pages, but these aren’t comments, as such. I was thinking more of comments to elements like specific words and passages. Seems obviously helpful. It’s one thing I use quite a lot in Scrivener.

I was love this feature too. It works wonderfully in Scrivener.

Where exactly? As a Finder comment or as an Annotation in the Annotations & Reminder inspector?

An addition to the “Annotations & Reminders” section of the inspector pane, as their own dedicated fields. There seems to be plenty of room. Then it would be the “Comments, Annotations & Reminders” section.

Thinking about it, I’m surprised this isn’t there already really :slightly_smiling_face:

There’s already the possibility to enter comments in this inspector actually but this isn’t useful for your scenario probably. Just curios but which file format does Scrivener use? A proprietary one or a standard one like Markdown or plain text? And if it’s a standard format, is external editing possible?

Finder comments, you mean? Though these aren’t linked to text chunks/locations.

If I inspect the package contents of Scrivener ‘projects’, all the content looks like .rtf files. I don’t think one edits these outside of Scrivener.

Thanks, that’s what I expected. In case of DEVONthink things are a little bit more complicated due to indexed items and external editing, this could easily break the comments or display them for the wrong text.

Yes, I see. No way to have that then in DT3. Oh well, just a thought. :man_shrugging:

I’m assuming why annotations are “Not Supported” for RTF files. Given how useful annotating text files would be, what if the annotation included the highlighted text, so you would know if it changed? Or, limit the ability to only those files that are contained within the DT3 system?

This would mean that external editing would have to be disabled for imported documents, something most users wouldn’t like.

What about a separate repository of ‘linked’ comments.

So that, when you right click on some text, there is an option similar to the “Link To”, but in this case an option to “Make Comment”, which would create a link to a new comment which you edit straight away (and later, when the text is clicked, go to).

The link could be marked slightly differently to ‘normal’ links, to announce it as a ‘comment’ link.

If the text is deleted then the comment is deleted (this is the way Scrivener handles it).

Opening in an external editor shouldn’t affect this, as normal links are usually preserved when I open an .rtf in, say, Nisus.

This wouldn’t work with plain text, of course, but then links don’t really work with plain text right now.

Thanks, we’ll consider this for future releases.

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For this purposes of professional commenting it would worth for DT to suggest a proprietary format, which would allow intense dedicated commenting, connecting and annotating, and from the other hand, would be easily converted to some popular formats (like rtf or so) and back without losses. I think such a solution would suit many users.

Yes, but if the text highlighted was copied to the annotations, then any external changes would still retain what the text that was originally annotated. I’m sure there are many that edit files externally, but for those (like me) who don’t, this would be great to have.

Or, can you lock the file in the OS with a Finder Comment saying “File locked due to annotations in DEVONthink”?

This sounds very similar to an extensive script package that has been made available in this thread:

I’ve been using it pretty effectively recently, and suggest anyone brave enough to experiment with some advanced functionality try it out on a test database. Though I would love to have a native feature that does this, I’m happy for the flexibility of scripting and the willingness of users to share their ideas.

On the principle that a comment is simply manually-typed text, why not using custom meta create a field type multi-line text?

As for finding all comments quickly that could be done using a combination of a tag ‘comment’ and/or a smart folder for tag ‘comment’. And for isolating comments on a particular subject a smart folder with the talent parameters.

Position the comment relative to the position in the text could done by highlighting the position in the text.

This seems similar to annotations. It might be a beautiful way to extend existing functionality by allowing this right-click to create multiple linked annotation files (especially with the possibility of auto-inserting back links as is currently the case). This would solve a lot of the knowledge management workflow questions & problems I’ve been thinking and posting about!

But having this single annotation you can insert there all the links to any DB items or items outside DB, links to Omni Outliner topics and so on. And all them in one place, like all connections of this file in a single annotation. It maybe that having multiple annotation files will create a mess.

And if you need separate dedicated links, you may use custom meta data for it.