Merge Highlights

Could someone explain how the “merge highlights” add-on should work?

I’ve highlighted in a PDF, but when I go to merge them–I get a message saying that there are no highlights to merge.

Also: I would so appreciate any links to workflow tips with PDFs. I’m an academic historian who needs to excise content from PDF articles in order to tag it and to do AI on it. I also have a few monsters of PDFs that I need to be able to use landmark links (links to references to people mentioned in the text).

There are MANY MANY Pdf questions in the forum…but I can’t find a tutorial, video, blog post, or coherent something that will take me step-by-step through things.

This is the closest I can find, but man does it look like a cumbersome process: … -analysis/


There are two scripts: “Merge Highlights (Plain)” and “Merge Highlights (Rich)”. As the names suggest, the first merges highlights from a plain text file (“Text”), the second merges highlights from a rich text file (“RTF”). Neither merges highlights from PDFs. There is no script provided with DEVONthink to do that.

There are dozens of PDF workflows, scripts, techniques, etc., described in the forum and on sites such as A Digital Workflow for Academinic Research, in Joe Kissell’s Take Control of Getting Started with DEVONthink 2. You’re right, there is no single source or tutorial – but given the broad range of research problems and techniques, a single “this is how to do research in DEVONthink” might be too one-sized to be useful to you.

When faced with a PDF that requires significant culling, I open an ‘annotation’ page (Data⇒New from template⇒Annotations or ⌥⌘⇧A) and just copy and paste the important passages into it as I read along. I like this method, as 1) I usually end up referencing the page number of the passage I’ve just pasted; and 2) being kinda slow to begin with, it gives me a chance to digest what I’ve just read. However, you may prefer to use a clipboard utility such as PTHPasteboard (with whom I have no association, except as an enduser). Just make sure you clear the pasteboard history before beginning with a new PDF doc.

This is a very good suggestion for collecting clippings from a PDF or other document on the fly. PTH Pasteboard supports multiple customized pasteboards, which can be used to collect clippings apart from the main clipboard history, and even apply some filtering rules.