Save PDF annotations to a notes file

If you are a researcher then you probably annotate PDFs of papers and other stuff. If, like me, you work in the Apple/OSX environment you may be using Skim to read and annotate. Skim allows you to save the annotations in their own ‘sidecar’ file format and to copy/paste the text of the annotations.

But you may want to save the annotations as a more useful record of your research e.g. in DevonThink or EagleFiler or — where I now prefer to keep my text records — in nvAlt. In any of these programs you can easily search in serendipitous ways through your annotations, making and re-discovering connections as well as finding that elusive quote.

It helps a lot, too, if the annotations include a link back to the page of the PDF file where you first made them (assuming that page/file is still where it was when you made the annotation).

This really simple script — derived shamelessly on the work of others — is a way to do that. Minimal instructions for the set-up are included. Just open the link below, select and copy the text to the AppleScript editor (in ~/Applications/Utilities).

You’ll find there are three items: a main script; plus a “helper” script that you will need to save separately as a small AppleScript application; plus an insert for the “info.plist” file that AppleScript makes, automatically, for the application.


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