Questions about Comments and PDFs....


I am about to begin a long editing process, and am trying to customize a work-flow for commenting/revising my manuscript. My current idea is to compile the draft as a pdf, mark it up in my tablet, and bring it back into Scriver where I will copy my notes into the scrivener file. Others have described similar processes, and I think it would work well for me. In the process, I’m bumping into some challenges/questions:

It appears that one cannot view the contents of “sticky notes” or “comments” on a PDF in Scrivener Windows. Although I can view those comments in my Mac version of Scrivener, I can’t copy or paste the comments anywhere else. Further, it seems that there is no way in either version to view a complete list of all the comments/sticky notes for navigation purposes, the way you can in a pdf viewer/editor. Could somebody confirm for me that all of these discoveries are correct? No problem, really, if it’s true, I can just work in an outside editor, but I might just use a link to the pdf rather than importing the whole thing into Scrivener.

If I import the pdf, then open it in an outside editor and make changes to the pdf, does my imported Scrivener file update with those changes?

Is it possible to search an imported pdf for formatting, like underlines or highlighting? (I’m guessing the answer is no, same as commenting, since I haven’t found a way to do it, but…)

That’s all for now, I’m sure there’s more coming. :confused:

This is all correct. PDFKit on Mac allows the comments to display, they’re basically flat images rather than selectable text. The PDF tool used on Windows doesn’t have a way to show the comments, so you’d need to use an external program there. Similarly, there’s no way on either to search the PDF text for specific formatting, since all Scrivener is aware of is the plain text of the document.

If you import a PDF (or any external file) and then open it in the external editor and make changes, the changes will save back into that copy, so they’ll be visible when the item is reloaded in the editor. There’s a quirk currently in the Windows version where you’ll need to make sure the PDF isn’t loaded in the editor when you try to save it (although that might depend on the PDF program you’re using for editing)–it will tell you the file is already open or read-only and try to prompt you to do a Save As, which you don’t want. Switching to a different document in the editor will let you save in the external program, and then the changes will be visible when you re-load the PDF in Scrivener.

Thank you for clarification! I am just getting starting on the second half of the writing process with scrivener, so it helps to have the fine points explained. :slight_smile:

Still wrestling with the finer points of Scrivener compile, comments and PDF, here.

Here is my hoped for workflow:

I compile my document to pdf. I send to reviewers, who annotate the PDF, using a pdf editor. I import that commented PDF file back into scrivener, to have a historical record of the feedback. Then I selectively transpose the comments into my actual scrivener project as inspector comments. What I would now like to do is compile the project to PDF, along with those edited/consolidated inspector comments, so I can do one final review. I had hoped that the compiled inspector comments would be dynamic, meaning I could show or hide them the way I can in a normal pdf, it seems they compile as inline annotations.

As a workaround, I tried compiling to word and rtf, which gives me dynamic comments, meaning they are in the margin, and I can show/hide and navigate them. But when I printed the word/rtf document to PDF, the comments were flattened, which meant that I couldn’t navigate them, and the page itself was unworkably small.

If I’m correct, it seems that my best strategy for final review will be to compile to pdf and have the comments be inline annotations-- not ideal but okay. But the inline annotations are easy to miss in the compiled pdf, because the font settings are the same as the main document text.

Am I missing something? Is this the only/best way for me to view inspector comments in a compiled document? If so, is there any way to format those inline annotations so they stand out from the regular text, either by underlining, or italicizing, or something?

It strikes me that I am engaged in a somewhat tortured attempt to streamline editing and reviewing on different and fundamentally incompatible platforms. Perhaps you would have a better suggestion?

Thanks in advance.