Still struggling with PDFs, Highlights, and Annotation for DT3

Can a few people chime in on how they are highlighting/annotating PDFs that are already in DT3? I am trying to streamline my workflow from “import to highlighter app/export to DT3” to “import to DT3, highlight and annotate” and then move on. The problem I am running into is the highlighting tools in DT3. Either I don’t understand how they work, or it doesn’t work the way other applications do. As far as I can tell, there is no “highlighter” tool - you have to select each chunk of text, and then hit the highlight button each time. Changing color requires a menu visit as far as I can tell.

Is this how folks are highlighting in DT3 currently, or putting docs in DT3 and then opening in another app and saving those highlights?

Would of course love to turn highlights into annotations at some point as well.

Thanks for any workflow examples. Maybe this is feature request, but am sure I am doing something wrong here…

Would of course love to turn highlights into annotations at some point as well.

Highlights *are *annotations. Can you clarify this?

Sure. Right now when I highlight lines they are not added to the annotations pane. In addition, when I summarize the highlights, they are created in a separate doc that is also not an annotation doc.

Can you clarify for me that I have understood the current use of highlights in the editing bar? Are changes to this in the works to make highlighting less painful if so? Thanks for your help.

If I open a PDF to which I’ve added highlights, I can then open the Inspector, select the Document View, then click on the Annotations tab, and there are my highlights. Clicking on any one of them brings me to that page.

What I don’t know how to do - or if it’s even possible (Jim?) - is to do a search for highlights without first being in the specific PDF. In other words, if I were in my Global Inbox, is there a way for me to do a Highlight search which will find all the documents in which I’ve highlighted text?


Right now when I highlight lines they are not added to the annotations pane.

You’re either missing something or reporting abnormal behavior.

Annotations with text are indexed, so they are searchable as content.

Regarding the second question, you can’t find documents with only highlights, but you can search for PDF Annotations. For example…

Thanks - turns out there are two annotation panes - one underneath “Finder Comments”, and another with highlights in them.

I apologize for my lack of clarity, but I have inadvertently derailed my own post! Let me try again, although it may be time to start over.

1). I enjoy using DT2G’s highlighting tools - you select them, and they function as expected. The behavior on DT3 is different, and unexpected. Unless I am missing some mode switch, you have to highlight the text, then go and press the “highlight” button, and then go to another menu to change the color. Is there something I am missing, or is their any plan to standardize this across platforms in the future?

  1. Has anyone solved this problem in another way, such as using an external PDF viewer/highlighter that gives more of the DT2G feel on the desktop platform?

Thank for any answers - still struggling with a system that is cross-platform and functional for reading/annotating and collecting notes after.

I think this is because this is similar to how Preview highlights PDFs on MacOS. A highlight ‘mode’ would be a good idea though where text selected is automatically ‘highlighted’.

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My question relates to this thread:

In the past I would open pdf’s from DT3 in Highlights and annotate them there. I would rather annotate pdf’s in the DT3 preview pane – but I can’t make it work. The edit bar opens but seems to have no functionality. I can’t (for example) highlight a portion of the text. Perhaps there is something wrong in my setup, but looking at DT preferences I don’t see anything to change that would possibly fix my problem.

Searching for “highlight PDF” reveals as the third hit

Does that help?

Does this mean the function just doesn’t work in some instances? For me, it appears to be all instances.

I have just tried to annotate other pdf’s I have downloaded within the DT3 preview pane – it t worked perfectly with a couple of then, but with the great majority it does not. Most of my pdf’s are downloaded from JSTOR but the source of the download doesn’t seem to make any difference. This is discouraging; I was really hoping to make this work.

Are you referring to PDFs you can highlight in but not DEVONthink? The same PDFs?

PS: We can’t account for the various ways PDFs are made (and there are many) and from what source.

Yes. Annotation tools work fine in Highlights but not in DT3 for the same pdf

Please ZIP and post the PDF you’re testing.

Beck, Moment of Rupture (547.8 KB)
This is a typical pdf of the one’s I have tried to annotate within DT that I am able to annotate in Highlights.

Thanks. We’ll have to look and see if Highlights is doing something under-the-hood.

Thank you so much.

No problem. Hopefully we can uncover something useful.