PDF download with DT3


Often when I try to download a PDF from online using Clip to DevonThink the PDF appears in DT as a white and grey blank document. Why is this? Why doesn’t it download and save the PDF (every time)?

This is what appears in DT…

Screenshot 2020-06-15 at 11.38.14 AM


A URL would be helpful for us to investigate.

sure - happens all the time…

Which format did you use for clipping?

these are the options when I click the shortcut - I clip as PDF…

no one has ever raised this issue?

This works fine over here. Which version of macOS, does it work in light mode or after rebooting the computer?

I notice this happening when the web site has open pop-ups or windows asking reader to confirm this or that, or respond to an advert, etc. Or the web page is trying to prevent exactly what we are trying to do. How? dunno. I can’t keep up with this sort of web site technology anymore.

When it happens I open the web page in a real browser and get everthing cleared away, then print to PDF and save into DEVONthink.

Adding a bookmark to DEVONthink and capturing the PDF works fine.

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what do you mean “capturing the PDF”?

this happens every time I try to Clip a PDF to DT. Just happened again with this file

The same black and grey 1 page pdf comes up in DT.

Does it work after rebooting? Which macOS version do you use?

I clicked on your link and was able to easily get the PDF into DEVONthink.

It would be useful if you could state the exact steps you go through to bring up the PDF (in what tool, e.g. a browers, DEVONthink, etc.), and then get to the last “capture PDF”.

I am unable to figure out what you are doing; so it’s probable I’m doing it another way which you may find useful to see. But first, exactly what are you doing?

p.s. Happily I’m interested in the topic discussed in the PDF so not so much a waste of my time!!

Note: this is meant to be a shortcut offered by DT (“Clip to DT”). So the steps are just… using the shortcut! I have the “Clip to DT” shortcut on Chrome. If I want to save a PDF to DT that’s open in the Chrome browser I click the shortcut and follow the prompts… See screengrabs of that below.

Otherwise macOS and DT versions are all the latest and greatest. And yes, I’ve restarted/shutdown/rebooted a number of times. This has been ongoing in DT2 and DT3. Some PDFs download properly and others don’t. Most don’t.

What am I missing? Thanks!!!

Screenshot 2020-06-28 at 3.14.22 PM

With the new information you provided, I confirm I see the same thing you see.

The new information is that you are using Google Chrome as browser to view the
PDF file. I use (mostly) Apple Safari and don’t see this issue.

For you, digging further, to start fresh

  1. I reset all Chrome Settings to “their original default”.
  2. In site settings, I changed how PDF documents are handled by turning “OFF” automatically download.
  3. To make sure I have latest, I reinstalled the “clip to DT” extension version 1.5 into Chrome.

Result: Same as you see.

I then tried:

  1. go to a non-pdf web page and display in Chrome.
  2. run the Clip tool.

Result: Works perfectly .

FYI, using the clip tool to save the PDF from Safari works as expected also.

I think there is some (perhaps a security?) setting under your control in Chrome which is preventing the extension from working when a PDF is in view. I haven’t a clue what it is and I did not do any more experimenting. I’ll leave that to you.

I didn’t more take time with this because I use work process in Chrome (and Safari) which works for me when saving PDF files. You may wish to consider trying this to see if this works and then move on with your real work.

What I do (routinely) with PDF files displayed in the browser.

  1. Menu: File/Save as.
  2. Pick the DEVONthink “input folder” (see page 123 of DEVONthink 3.5 manual)
    Result: then DEVONthink imports the file into the Global Inbox. Then you can change
    the meta data and move to whatever folder in DEVONthink that you want. (or save to
    Desktop and drag and drop into DEVONthink target folder, or set Chrome to display
    the PDF in Preview, then use Preview’s “move” command to move the file into
    DEVONthink’s Input folder.)

Meantime the folks at DEVONthink can maybe look into this. Somewhere they may have already documented this behaviour. I do not know.

URLs of those PDF documents which don’t work in Chrome would be great, thanks.

In my trials, I used the URLs (two of 'em) above).

I can reproduce the issue in Chrome and it’s definitely a Chrome issue, likely due to their custom PDF viewer.

Capturing the page as a webarchive shows Chrome is returning web content, not the PDF…


Capture the page as HTML instead of PDF and DEVONthink should have the PDF as expected.

And you could always stop using Chome. (I would.) :wink: :slight_smile:

The issue is caused by Google Chrome’s dummy HTML code used to display the document, the next release will include a workaround.

Thanks a lot for this!
I see the recent update resolved this issue also.
Thank you, all!

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Sorry to bring this back up, but I’m having this problem on:

Mojave 10.14.6
Brave Version 1.18.70 Chromium: 87.0.4280.101 (Official Build) (x86_64)
Clip to Devonthink 1.5 Extension
Devonthink 3.6.1

Here’s the pdf

It does not work if I clip to pdf (one page) or (paginated)

You can always download the file to the Global Inbox.