PDF reading workflow

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Posts: 142
Joined: Sun Mar 27, 2016 5:30 am

PDF reading workflow

Post by Dellu » Sun May 13, 2018 12:16 pm

How do you guys read PDFs in BE?

I usually hit CMD+Shift+O just to open my pdf in PDFexpert (or, Skim). Experimenting with BE today, I found out the Full screen reading is pretty beautiful within BE. I am considering to reading directly in BE.

But, i am puzzled about the Notes.

Which of the notes do you often use when reading inside BE, and why?
If I am not mistaken there are about 3 or 4 of them.

a) pdf embedded Notes: these are readable in other pdf readers; embedded in the PDF itself
b) notestream: they look like the broken down streams of the text in the Note field.
c) the Note: this is internal to BE: cannot move this with the pdf. This seems the most convenient for summarizing the article; or to follow the arguments. But, I am a bit worried since it is internal to BE (is reference metadata).

Is there any other strategy use you to improve the reading experience?

It would be great if you guys can share your experience using BE as pdf reader (i didn't use this functionality of Be that much; that is why I am asking).

Posts: 292
Joined: Fri Jan 25, 2008 2:31 pm

Re: PDF reading workflow

Post by iandol » Mon May 14, 2018 10:37 am

Excellent question and I'm similar to you, I never really used Bookends PDF viewer as it used to be too klunky. But over the past few releases we've got tabs, better full-screen mode and IMO critically important back↔forward navigation (in the latest release), Bookends has really improved 8)

I used to highlight text in PDFKit compatible readers and manually move important selections to Scrivener (yeah, not very optimal, but I tend to make more abstract notes elsewhere). I kind of wished at that time Bookends could automagically copy selections into notecards stored in Bookends without requiring any intervention (I could then export OPML + notes of the references into Scrivener).

Now that I'm also thinking of starting to read PDFs more in Bookends, then I suppose I'm most interested in "Highlight Selection and Make Bookends Notecard" — but wish it added the page number and wish I could do it automatically when selecting with the "highlight toggle" enabled.

Posts: 12
Joined: Tue Jun 26, 2018 12:12 am

Re: PDF reading workflow

Post by edwinc » Thu Jun 13, 2019 2:53 pm

Hi Dellu,

Just ran into this post, after looking into new workflows for PDF Annotations. I was, actually, just re-reading your Skim vs. Highlights vs. PDF Expert post. Since I started with Bookends (coming from Sente), I worked with Preview. It's buggy, but it seemed pretty easy to highlight and then do notes anchored to the highlight. Plus, the highlights and notes stay within the PDF, making them very portable. That kind of solved my problem, until I had to export the notes to Scrivener. Bookends makes virtual notecards of the highlights which are exported separately from their commentaries. It's just a mess.

I'm now using Bookends to highlight and comment, through the action-menu feature "Make Quoted PDF Highlight from Selection". This creates a PDF-embedded notecard and a Highlight. The notecard includes the highlighted text and page number. Plus, you can edit it to add comments, titles, etc. Seems to be the right way to go. The three (very) little annoyances, that could be *feature requests*: 1. you have to use a shortcut combination (Cmd+Ctrl+Q) and not the mouse to regularly select text, which makes it a little inconvenient especially if you like to use different colors in your highlighting. 2. The notecard is not a beautifully displayed as a regular bookends notecard, which lowers readability a bit. 3. There is a standard coloring for PDF notecards, so you have to go and look for the highlight (PDF notes and highlights are not ordered one after the other, which could easily solve this nuisance) to remember the color. That's just for those of us that use color-coding.

Nevertheless, it allows modifiers, tags, title, page numbers, etc. as mentioned per the User Guide. It's not as automatic (it'd be great if this could be picked as the default highlighting method) and clean (bookends notecards and prettier), but it works just fine.


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