The digital drawbacks or "stuff that ticks me off"

Hi All

I’ve been using Devonthink for quite a while. I am most assuredly not an expert user and there some things in DT that is pretty much never use. Ofocurse thats true for most software I use. There are always functions that some find useful while others simply find them bothersome.

When it comes to the “paperless office” and digital storage much has happened. From a software viewpoint things are much better now than lets say four years ago.

There is however one small point that bothers me. It seems that pretty much all developers of archive/storage thingamajig-software ( such as DT) … yes i confess that “archive/storage thingamajig-software” is not an accepted terminology but you all know what i mean :stuck_out_tongue: , have missed one itsbitys teenyweeny little item.

If you have loads of pdf or other documents in a neat program like DT (pro or otherwise) and you need access to several documents quickly … ot ro put it another way, you need to quickly read or skim through a document, make notes or perhaps jump back and forth in the document, then the means to do so are very limited.

In most cases you need to open external third party software which usually has load up times etc and does not work with links in DT or works badly with links etc.

Getting information in is important, systemizing and structuring information is equally important, but lets not forget that ultimately every document has been created to be read not just stored.

As a lawyer i often need to access files during meetings and or trials and unfortunately i find DT Pro a bit lacking… heres hoping things get better on that front.

I would be happy to be a “test-pilot” :stuck_out_tongue:

Thanks for the feedback! What exactly do you want to do but isn’t possible yet?

Guess I wasnt being clear.

Getting info into DTPro is easy and great.
Using the info in DTPro is not so easy and great.

An example:
I spend several days getting let say 2000 pages into DTPro, i add links, i ocr stuff, i mark up pages.

All of this is done so that when I am in trial I can have my file electronically on my computer. However even such a simple thing as jumping from one oage to another cannot be done in DTPro (see this link viewtopic.php?f=3&t=11000)

Typically I will have to jump between pages and documents several times during the course of a trial or for that matter a meeting.

I also would like to be able to more mark up than just highlighting text without having to open another software.

I like DTPro and want my workflow to stay entirely in DTPro.

As things are now - just being able to jump between pages would be very beneficial - without having to open the document in preview.
Perhaps preview can display the document inline in DTPro?

Anyway, I’d be happy to give input etc to help with this.

I like this thread.

I use PDFs in DTPO for research, and liked consigliieri’s earlier “go-to” suggestion. In addiiton to that, it would be useful to have a sidebar, or drawer, or some such feature, so that we could see the list of annotations in a PDF document. In other words, what Skim does with the “Notes” sidebar or Acrobat with the Comments panel, and so forth. I would also like to restrict “Find” (in a single document) or “Search” (across one or more databases) to searching through PDF annotations.

Perhaps these are wish-list features that would meet consiglieri’s requirements?

At least multiple documents could be opened in multiple tabs. Tabs are independent and retain the last position/selection etc. But jumping between pages is a different story.

Additional annotations (note, text, link, etc.) are already available, see optional toolbar items.

I make a lot of annotations of the tens of thousands of references in my Main database. I want to be able to search those notes in DEVONthink Pro Office, and include ways to jump from a note to a particular page of a PDF (using a Page Link) or to a specific location in a document of a different filetype such as another RTF note (using the Lookup search, “Command-/” on a selected string of text that’s enclosed in quotation marks).

Suppose I want to make notes about a long PDF document, that will include the ability to jump from the note to designated pages in the PDF. I’ll select the PDF, press “Shift-Option-Command-A” and a new rich text note is created whose Name includes the Name of the PDF, and which already has a hyperlink to the PDF. I can open my note and the PDF as separate side-by-side windows (on my big monitor) or as tabs; either way will let me switch back and forth between them.

I start making notes in the RTF. Something especially important is in pages 13, 24, 58 and 129 in the PDF. I’d like to be able to immediately jump to those pages of the PDF from my notes. To do that, I can copy the Page Links from the sidebar of the PDF display that displays page icons, and paste them into my RTF notes. Or suppose I’ve made a note about someone named “Aldrich” and wish to look in the PDF for all references to that person. For this, I select the term “Aldrich” and press “Command-/” (the Lookup command). The Search window opens, and will display my PDF among the results. Select the correct PDF and it will scroll to the first occurrence of “Aldrich”, which is highlighted. In the menubar I can choose Go > Highlight > Previous/Next to move among these highlighted words (there’s a convenient keyboard shortcut for moving to the next or previous highlighted term).

The next day I open that PDF. Where is my notes document referring to it? In the navigation bar just above the text pane displaying the PDF there’s a navigation bar, and it has a link to my notes document. Click on it, and there is my notes RTF. (If I had Control-clicked on that link, I could choose to open the notes in a new tab in the window that displays the PDF).

Perhaps in my notes RTF I need to link to other notes or documents as well; it’s easy to set up links to them, e.g., to a similar Annotation note that I had created for another PDF, or to other RTFs that expand on some point I wish to cover in detail, and that could involve notes about multiple documents.

That’s how I do annotation. I’m not limited to the plain text of text notes in PDFs; I can add character formatting, tags, hyperlinks or even images in my rich text notes, and of course my notes are searchable. I’m not limited to PDFs, as I can create an Annotation note for any filetype, such as a Powerpoint or Excel, Pages or image document. I find this a very flexible, powerful way of pulling together information contained in my database and adding my own comments and summaries. I treat it as my “Memex” machine (See Vannevar Bush, “As We May Think”.)

Hi Bill

Thats an interesting method. However for me it would be impossible.
I generally receive either as a pdf or as paper dokument “the case” (in a criminal proceeding from the prosecutions office). During the course of the case the prosecution will draw the courts attention to page see and so and I will need to quickly go to that page. I on the other hand may have made notes where I find inconsistencies in a statement and need to be able to jump back and forth between the two… what it boils down to is a strong need to jump back and forth between pages… command shift G in preview is good example of what I need.

(Having already put in my request in for Evernote-style annotation), I’ve been giving your method a go, in the spirit of trying-something-new. For many cases it works okay - but I’ve run into a problem:

I found an article online, saved it as “Print pdf to Devonthink”, and it arrived in the Inbox fine. Cool. Then I annotate it. I create an annotation fine - but then how do I get to it later? Where the link to the annotation should be, there is a link to the web page instead. I’d be happy to cut that link and put it in the annotation (so that the annotation link could show up), but I can’t find a way to get rid of it - control clicking doesn’t help, and I can’t find any way to select it to cut/paste it elsewhere. Everything I try just ends up opening the web page in my browser.

So the annotation can be made, but it’s useless - there’s no way to see that the document has been annotated, and even if there were there’s no way to open the annotation (except to search for it separately).

I realise I could annotated the pdf directly, which would be a workaround in this particular case. But that doesn’t work if it’s a web archive, or any other document sourced from web content.

Here’s my suggestion: when an Annotation is created, and there is already a web URL populating that field, cut the web URL and paste it as the first entry in the Annotation. That way the annotation will show as intended, and the web link is preserved.

(…or introduce Evernote-style annotation… or a four pane view with annotations in another pane to the side… or perhaps an Annotation Tool window along the same lines as Show Info or Show Properties tool windows, perhaps with a small button next to where the current URL shows up that might turn green when there is anything populating that field, so you can easily see whenever there is an annotation and click on the button and the Annotation tool window appears (if it wasn’t already open)… actually I like that last one a lot! That way if you use annotations a lot, you could just leave the Annotations Tool window open and as you switch from document to document the linked annotations appear as appropriate…)

Further to the above, the same problem occurs with an email that has been added to DTPO - the mail URL takes up the spot the annotation link would occupy.

You can click on the title in the file list, then hit enter, which will make the title editable and select it. At that point hit cmd+/ to bring up the search window, hit return and you’ll see your annotation show up.

It’s roundabout, and I hope that DTP will have a “show all annotations” feature at some point in the future (because you can imagine that you’d want the reference to the original URL, and that there might be multiple annotations for a particular document).

Thanks for that. It’s certainly very roundabout! But it will have to do for now.

If/when a ‘show all annotations’ function is added, I’d hope it would be on by default - when you come back to a document a year or two later, you shouldn’t have to rely on your memory that there is an annotation already there. Even some sort of highlight colour or coloured status light would be okay, just something (anything!) to remind the user that there is an annotation attached to the file.

I agree, and would also love to see the conflict between web URLs and annotation links resolved.

I’d really like an icon for annotations (same sort of thing that lets you know a file is a duplicate, replicate, etc) so you can instantly see - without opening it - whether or not a document has annotations. It would be very useful if you could then click the icon to open the annotation.

Ideally I’d like something that combines Skim’s excellent note-taking (which automatically gives page and paragraph references, and quotes the passage you’re commenting on) with the existing Annotation template’s ability to automatically provide links back and forth between source document and annotations.

Also, the ‘type your note here’ text should be removed from the annotation template - or at least set so that it is selected on creation, such that any typing will wipe it out with the new text.

Finally, I’d like to use annotations to place short summaries at the very beginning of long pdfs, and then be able to view these summaries as I’m browsing through documents with DT’s preview pane. The current model for putting Annotations in a separate folder is no good for this - and putting them in the same folder as their source documents, but as separate files, wouldn’t be much good either. I haven’t been able to come up with a full solution, but perhaps an option to automatically display annotations along with their source in the preview pane or other window could be worked out?

Lots of good comments in this post. Is it really not possible for DTP to implement jumping between pages? I guess i will assume that DevonThink ToGo has the same disability.

Makes me depressed :confused: