Show Skim annotations within Scrivener

It would be great if Scrivener could have the same ability as the new version of DevonThinkPro to show Skim annotations from within the program.

In DTP, you edit a PDF stored in DTP externally in Skim but when you save it back into DTP the annotations are visible in the DTP viewer (makes use of Apple’s QuickLook, I think?)

Would be fantastic to have this in Scrivener too - saves having to open a PDF in Skim just to check whether or not there are any annotations, e.g. to jump quickly to the highlighted sections

Try the following:

• In Scrivener, select the PDF file and choose to edit it externally (I assume you have set Skim as your default PDF editor so that this will open the PDF file in Skim).
• Add some annotations in Skim, and save.
• Back in Scrivener, switch to a different document and then return to the PDF file.

Do you see the annotations now? It should just be a matter of refreshing the file. The next version has a “refresh” button in the footer area to save you having to switch documents. I could probably make that a little more automatic, come to think of it…

All the best,

I can’t get this to work. I’ve tried changing documents, closing/reopening the file, rebooting my computer, making new projects from scratch and from templates, and I can’t get the Skim notes to show in Scrivener. I don’t know what else to try. :frowning:

If you annotate a PDF file in Skim and then open it in Preview, does it show there?

You are definitely editing the PDF contained inside the Scrivener project, and not the original in the Finder that you dragged into the project?

Scrivener just shows the PDF file as it is, so if the PDF file has annotations that can be seen in Preview, you should see them in Scrivener, given that they use the same frameworks to display PDF files.

All the best,

It’s definitely the right file, but it didn’t show up in Preview either. After some experimentation I figured out that it doesn’t work if I save, only if I export the file as “PDF with embedded notes”. Then I can’t edit the notes afterwards, of course, which is a bit of a turn-off. Notes I’ve made within Preview show up fine in all the applications.

I’m afraid that if it doesn’t show up in Preview either, then it’s the way Skim is doing things and nothing to do with Scrivener…
All the best,

Yeah, I was just about to post that I found it on the Skim FAQ. Apparently there’s no other way to do it. Thanks anyway :slight_smile:

Skim does not alter a PDF if you add highlighting or notes to it. The additions are kept in another file. Only if you use the “PDF with embedded notes” export you mentioned the files get merged. Then, of course, there is no undo for your additions. (Like when you have an image with different layers in a graphics program—inside of the program you have access to each layer, but when you export the images as, say, jpg, all layers are merged into one.)

Which is the same you would have got if you used Preview in the first place because Preview always alters the PDF.

A lot of people prefer Skim to Preview because of its feature to annotate a PDF while keeping it untouched at the same time, personally I went back to Preview because I want my data—and my annotations are data too!—readable for as long as possible and for many programs. And the Skim annotations are, sadly, propietary.

The Skim people should come up with a Quicklook plug-in, that would at least make the annotations visible for all Leopard-and-up users.

Oh! I didn’t know that. Then I just expected too much because I’m spoiled. :blush:

With a PDF file saved in Preview, you can edit the annotations after it has been saved and reopened, though… So Preview does not flatten the PDF, if I understand correctly.

Yes, I’m pretty sure Preview is just adding appropriate PDF codes into the document in order to create the annotation layouts the user wishes. It isn’t taking those edits and then turning them into overlapping images. That would bloat the PDF size unnecessarily, especially when writing PDF codes is such a trivial thing to do.

You’re right, Keith, annotations can be edited in Preview.

But you can not remove the annotation symbols in the PDF anymore—even if the annotation is empty—and neither the highlightings or ovals or squares you put into it. Or must I say: I can’t?
Literature and Latte - View topic - Show Skim annotations within Scrivener.pdf (68.7 KB)

I thought pressing the delete key while one was active did the trick (cannot test on this computer). If not, the silly way of getting rid of an annotation would be to change its colour to white. Ha.

Amber, highlighting with the delete key pressed did remove the highlighting! I didn’t know that, thank you very much!

The same trick with the annotation symbol though either created just another annotation symbol or a fast program exit.

But the neat thing about DTP 2.o is that it shows the Skim annotations within the DTP viewer (i.e. no need to open in external viewer) and without you having to do a “Save As” in Skim, i.e. it views the files natively.

I believe DTPro is using the private OS X QuickLook Preview view to display such files. It is currently a private framework, and although the DT guys have done a good job at getting it to work, my own tests with it have produced odd effects - as one would expect with a framework that Apple does not intend for other developers to use yet. Scrivener’s PDF viewer will remain as it is (though you will be able to highlight them from within Scrivener in 2.0).

I have no idea what DT uses to display Skim annotations, but there’s apparently something called the SkimNotes Framework, that seems to aim at this. I quoth:

Just wanted to throw another vote towards continuing to look at better integration of skim into scrivener. Skim is a fully open-source project so I would be surprised if any of the formats it is using are proprietary. I know Bibdesk currently has very good integration with Skim and Skim notes and could perhaps serve as something of a model.

If nothing else, a preference in Scrivener to set the external editor (overriding the system default) to a pdf-viewer of the user’s choice would be helpful.

EagleFiler is another application that can read Skim annotations.

As stated, not happening in the immediate future, may reconsider post-2.0.