Trouble highlighting / annotating PDF


I’m using 2.9.8.
Lately I was not able to highlight or annotate pdf files in DTPO?
Opening the same file from within DTPO but using Skim, I could highlight and annotate without problem.

I’ve read there was a problem, but that was back in February 2016.

  • How can I check read/write permission from within DTPO?
  • what am I missing? The annotation icons are all transparent, so not selectable.

Annotating PDFs works absolutely perfectly and as expected for me. DEVONthink Pro Office 2.9.8.

It’s not possible to diagnose problems with particular PDFs or other documents on this forum. I suggest you open a ticket directly with Support (here or here or support_at_devontechnologies_dot_com), where you can get faster personalized attention than the forum. Please attach sample(s) of the documents you are having problems with when you submit your support request.

By the way, your screen shot shows the Format menu. That not how PDFs are annotated or highlighted. You need to be using the Annotation toolbar. Double click your PDF to open it in a DEVONthink window and use this toolbar.

It’s important to use the right commands for the job we want to do.

Korm, thanks for checking.
Just did some random tests and it seems problematic just with this single file (for now).
I’ll keep an eye on it and file with support if it continues to happen.
I just downloaded the latest version of the DTPO manual, imported it into DTPO and was perfectly able to edit it…

As an aside:
What is your workflow to keep annotations and highlights current with different document versions? Is there an ‘easy’ way?

Do you still use MarginNote?
I also stumbeled across and it seems quite interesting, but I find little shared user experience on the subject?


I’m looking how to highlight a PDF file in much the same fashion as I can in Preview (yellow background after selecting some text). I’m trying to use the Annotation toolbaar for PDF files in DTPO 2.9.11 but it seems to only selecting ‘blocks’ (and not lines of text). Also it puts the block over everything I selected.

Am I missing something? Also: the buttons in the toolbar of the screenshot above that seem to indicate highlighting are not present in 2.9.11 anymore?

You can’t go by a single screenshot where someone could have customized their toolbar. Highlighting is definitely available in DEVONthink.

How highlighting behaves depends a great deal on the PDF, specifically how accurate the text layer is relative to the image of text (Most PDFs, especially old ones, what we are actually seeing is an image of text, and what we select when we “select” that text is an invisible layer of actual selectable text data). Sometimes the OCR/Text layer is WAY off from the image of the text we see. When this happens the selection and highlighting behaviour can be really strange. This can also happen when the text layer gets corrupted, and PDFKit, a part of macOS that handles PDF viewing and editing Preview and many other applications, has, in some versions, had a bad habit of doing that from time to time (and sometimes it just happens for seemingly no reason at all).

Do you see the same poor selection behaviour using a very modern PDF that is not scanned text, such as the DEVONthink manual?