Highlighted Search in PDFs

When I search from the toolbar, Scrivener finds all documents and PDF research items containing the text and modifies the binder accordingly (wonderfully elegant, great UI!).

For text documents, Scrivener highlights those occurrences within the document, but for PDFs there are no highlights for the searched words. PDFKit, as I understand it allows for all search occurrences to be returned and also allows selections to be set, thus this seems to be feasible (and hopefully easy).

developer.apple.com/documentatio … ementID_17

I would love to see Scrivener enable this PDFKit functionality.

Here is an example, in which I did a spotlight search on “spinoza” and opened a PDF in Skim (which uses PDFKit as Scriv does), just to show this all works as expected.

Yes, I think that would be great. And how about creating a link to a certain part of a PDF-File?

No plans for this. Sorry. There were technical reasons for the highlight thing, because I did look into it, but I can’t remember what they were now. :slight_smile:

I bet this also covers an analogous Wish I thought about posting: A method within Scriv to highlight parts of pdfs the way I can highlight bits of text files.

Workaround: I’ve occasionally used a nice free app called Skim to highlight and annotate a pdf, and then imported that marked version into Scriv. It works well enough and FWIW the two-step process helps to ensure that the pdfs in the Scrivener binder are really related to the work at hand.


Keith, would me mailing the Skim developers and asking politely how they do it help?

They do it by selecting the found words. The annoying thing would be that it would wipe any selection you had made in the PDF document you were currently viewing.

Personally, I find the lack of search highlighting much more frustrating than removing any selections I may have made. My research folder is vital for writing, and being able to pinpoint where things have been mentioned in a PDF really helps drill down to details. Otherwise manually scrolling through endless PDF files hoping to find the phrase is really distractive and not optimal workflow. Selections are trivial. If it was just such a simple trade-off, I know where my vote would go :wink:

Hmm, I’m not sure why you feel you have to scroll down manually looking for the phrase… Just hit cmd-F. The search phrase will automatically be pasted to the Find panel. Then you can just use the regular find panel to search within the individual document. I would use that even if there were highlighting, as it gets you there quicker.

Just for the record, though, there will be no PDF search highlighting in 1.1, and after 1.1 there will be few updates for some time. PDF search highlighting is on my list for 2.0; it may get moved forward, it may not, but I don’t want anybody to hold out for it as you may be holding out a long time. :slight_smile:

All the best,

I had tried that but saw no dialog. Just trying it again I realise this is a dual-monitor issue. The dialog was appearing on my primary screen when Scrivener was on the secondary and I wasn’t seeing it! OS X has some other funky multi-monitor issues (try using the ctrl+cmd+d dictionary in Scrivener on a second display!)

OK, that alleviates things somewhat, thanks Keith!

I summon this old hoary demon from the deep. I see that the super-duper new all powerful Scrivener Next Generation Mk II will allow highlighting of PDFs, so I scratch this old itch of mine (which is still itchy today) to see if Keith’s ToDo list from 2007 is still valid :slight_smile:

Any chance for the all-new floor-buffing & dust-busting Scrivener 2 to get project search highlighting for PDFs?