PDF viewer/annotation recommendations?

The key feature I want: I need it accept file:///path/to/pdf.pdf?page=100 style links, or similar, and open the the page specified in that link if it’s the default program for that file (or all PDFs).

The only stand-alone readers I know of that fit the bill are Adobe Acrobat and the Devonthink pdf reader, neither of which is a good fit for me. The later because I hate their interface and creative suite spikes my CPU when my computer sleeps the screen (it’s the updater/license checker background process). Devonthink just doesn’t work for me, because I want a separate window/window tab to pop up for the PDF without the rest of its interface taking up valuable space.

I’ve tried Highlights, which doesn’t apparently respond to its own page links when the notes are loaded separately from the pdf file they annotate. I really like the interface otherwise, but the lack of page links from outside of the software is a deal-breaker for me.

If anyone can specifically note PDF reader software that responds to the page links, I’d appreciate it. There are so many, some that have no trial versions and are expensive to purchase.

DevonThink does allow you to open PDFs in a separate window, and most of the components of the main interface are hideable. Because that’s what I use, I’m afraid I don’t have other suggestions.


So, if you add a page link, copied from DT, and add it as a Scrivener bookmark, how do you get it to open the PDF in a separate window? I couldn’t find any setting that would prevent it from loading in the main interface, as if I’d done a document search and clicked on the results (so it’s only open in a pane, rather than a separate window).

I’ve searched all through the DT forums, and couldn’t find an answer. My post there didn’t seem to garner the attention of anyone who had an answer either.

The DT3 short cut for opening a document in a separate window editor is cmd-o, and in an external editor cmd-shift-o.

I use the latter all the time with PDF Expert, which I use in preference to DT3’s own PDF editor, which isn’t as good. Unfortunately, you can’t link to individual pages with PDF Expert (as far as I can tell), so the workflow would be:

  1. Drag the page from DT3 to Scrivener’s bookmark panel (or Copy Page Link and create the bookmark manually) to store it.

When you want to refer:

  1. Highlight and Enter (or double-click) to open the page in DT3
  2. Cmd-o / cmd-shift-o to open in its own window / external programme. [Sadly cmd-shift-o doesn’t respect the page number, so that’s probably not what you need.]

If you’ve got Keyboard Maestro (it’s highly recommended) you could chain the the last two steps into one macro.

Sorry if I’ve not understood what you’re after…

[EDIT: I’ve just tested this and it seems to open the PDF directly to the window without step 3 on the second and third times I ran it. Odd, but if that’s always the case, helpful…]

[MORE TESTING: If you move away from the PDF document in DT3 then reinvoke the Scrivener link, it opens in a new window, not in the main pane. You learn something new every day…]

Never mind… it’s behaving the way I want now. It didn’t before, months ago, where it would open the file in the main interface window, rather than a separate one.

Now when I use the copied file url (right-click, copy as page link), in another app, it opens in a separate window at the page I got the link for. I’m not sure if I changed a setting but never tested how it changed behavior, or maybe they changed it in an update some time ago.

Teaches me not to double-check my assumptions before posting a question. :unamused: