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Is it possible to swap the original PDF annotated by Skitch?

Joe Hasegawa


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Oh yeah Joe, you are right. I forgot that my project was not complete yet.  :lol:


I tried it and eventually it worked, so I can use Skitch for my purpose now. It was a bit tricky though.


I didn't know that Skitch can handle only a single document at a time. It couldn't open multiple document simultaneously. So I opened a PDF, annotated it with Skitch, selected all annotations, and copied them. And then dragged different version of the PDF  and dropped it to Skitch. (Because when I clicked "Close", Skitch itself closed instead of closing the opened PDF.) Now, I added any kind of annotation and deleted it. This is the tricky part I mentioned earlier.  It seems that this procedure makes the new PDF "active". I was able to paste the copied annotations only after this tricky procedure.


Well Joe, I'm gonna enjoy happy "Skitching" with your great help. Arigato!!


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Thank you very much for your quick reply Joe!!

I think you understood my query correctly except the PDF content. It's not a mere text but a classical guitar music with staves and notes. I attached the annotated PDF so that you'll have a clearer idea.


As you see, at first I added annotations directly to the score, but I realized it was getting messy. That's when the idea came up in my mind to separate all the annotations from the music so that I can keep my score clean.
The music score changes sometimes to improve fingerings, correcting wrong notes, adding articulations and expressions… etc. That's what I referred to by "the original PDF with different version", so the positions of the objects in the document are almost the same between different versions and there's no new pages.

I tried to follow your suggestion Joe, and it worked perfectly with annotated picture (png) file , but not with annotated PDF. Looks like the annotations are integrated into the PDF, so I was not able to even select the annotations. 
Is it possible to keep the annotated PDF editable by Skitch?

I think I encountered your discussion on this topic before in this forum, so I'm gonna look for it from now, but it would be a great help if you could give me some more advice Joe.
Thanks in advance.

Another Joe, Skitch newbie in Japan


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Please try the following after ensuring you have the latest Skitch and Evernote.


  1. Open a PDF by dragging an dropping into Skitch (on your Mac)
  2. Make a couple of annotations.
  3. Click the Save button (if it shows; depends upon your settings) or else click on the 4 Boxes & "Evernote" icon in the upper left
    1. If you are not Signed into your Evernote account in Skitch you'll be prompted to do so
  4. After the save completes, go to the library view in Skitch and try re-opening and annotating the PDF

If steps 1-4 worked for you then there is no bug interfering with your ability to re-annotate a PDF. 


You should also be able to go into Evernote and select the same PDF and select Markup in Skitch (use a right click or the icon up in the title bar). One thing to note about Evernote is there are 2 options displayed under the icon. The first will convert your entire note (any content + PDFs) into a new PDF and this will flatten your PDF. Selecting the second option (assuming just the PDF is in the note) will give you the option to only annotate the PDF. In that case the PDF should remain editable.


Right click should work the same way.


Skitch should not be flattening the PDF nor should Evernote unless you are reprinting the PDF to a new PDF.

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Very interesting use case. Yes it is possible to keep them editable. If you save the PDF to your Evernote account (via Skitch) then they should remain editable so you can continue to add/remove/move/etc any annotation. You may want to try and copy and past method again with a PDF that is just saved to your Evernote account.


If you drag the PDF to your desktop (at this time) they annotations become "flattened" and they are no longer editable. We're working on a fix for that issue.


This is a very interesting use case as we've not seen a musician using Skitch for markup. Can you explain a little more about why you are using Skitch?

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Glad that helped. You should now see if you can do a copy past and if you can copy the annotations in properly to your music score.


Not sure why the "Open with..." would result in the flattening of the PDF. Unfortunately when that method is used the file is first handed to OS X and then to Skitch so perhaps OS X is doing something to the file in the handoff. It might be related to another issue we're working on solving which will make the PDFs much more robust. 

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Please help me understand what you want to do. Are you suggesting the following:


  • Start with PDF A, annotate it, save it. Then open the annotated A and swap out the PDF content (assume just text) and swap in another PDF's content, but preserve the annotations in the process and now save a new A?

To be honest I've never tried this in any program. I know in some PDF editors you can append pages and delete pages, which is sorta what you want, but I don't think you can preserve annotations and then drop in a new page. As an experiment what you could try is opening up your original annotated PDF and do a CMD-A and copy in order to select and copy all of the annotations. Close that PDF and then open the updated PDF doc and do a Paste. I'm not sure if all of your annotations will go back to the right pages (assuming no new pages have been added) or if they will end up on the 1st page only.


The problem I see with this is: Let's say you start with a 4 page document and put 1 annotation on each page. Now you update the underlying PDF except it is not a 5 page document. There's no way for us to know that the annotation on page 4 in the original doc is now supposed to be on page 5 because your change was to insert a page between the original page 3 and 4 so that the original 4 is now the new 5. 

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Hi Joe,


Thanks for the very nice info. 

To tell the truth, while I was writing that Skitch couldn't open multiple document simultaneously, I myself was a bit puzzled, because I thought I had seen multiple Skitch windows while I had been experimenting various kinds of things to analyze  my problem, but I was not just confident.


I did a brief experiment a while ago. First I opened a document by Skitch, then opened another document and observed the Skitch behavior for the following 3 different methods.

  1. File -> Open...
  2. Dragging the second document to Skitch window
  3. File -> New Skitch Window

When launching Skitch (= opening the first document) by clicking the Skitch icon in Evernote, all three methods opened the second Skitch window so that I could handle multiple documents simultaneously.

When I opened the first document from Skitch by dragging a document to Skitch or clicking File -> Open, only the third method opened the second Skitch window. With method 1 and method 2, I had to close the first document to open the second document.


Well Joe, I hope I'm graduating the novice Skich user with your help now. :) 

I'm looking forward to testing a new version soon.




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One of the engineers just reminded me that you can open two windows at once for two separate files.


  1. Open Skitch
  2. Go to File->New Skitch Window


You should now have 2 windows open and can open PDF A in one and PDF B in two. Then you can do your copy & paste or review of the two PDFs side by side.

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A million thanks Joe!
I followed your instruction carefully. I tried the steps 1 to 4 and yes, it worked! The annotated PDFs are editable now.

The problem I had is because I was using right-click technic. 
Please take a look at this screenshot. 


What I did was "Right-click -> Open With -> Skitch", to open the PDF in Evernote. It definitely did not work Joe. The annotated PDF opened by Skitch was flattened already.


Since I've never used Skitch icon in the title bar, I tried it this time, and my observations are as follows.

By clicking this, the opened annotated PDF was editable, not flattened.

By clicking this, the opened annotated PDF was editable, not flattened.

I sometimes got 2 options like this when I click the Skitch icon. I guess this depends on the history of the document, and I presume this means the annotated PDF is already flattened. I tried both options, and the document opened by Skitch was not editable.


Well Joe, thank you very much again for your help.

I still have some confusion but now I can do what I wanted to do with my music score.




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Thanks for your interest but I'm afraid it didn't work Joe.

As I wrote in my previous post, annotations are editable with pictures but NOT with PDFs. After adding annotations to a PDF with Skitch, I save the annotated PDF to Evernote and quit Skitch. Then I open the annotated PDF with Skitch, but can't edit the annotations at all. The annotated PDF has been  already "flattened" without dragging it to my desktop. This is the problem I want to solve. 
The workaround would be converting the PDF to JPEG before adding annotations. But since you told me the annotated PDF should be editable, could you tell me what's wrong with me?

Incidentally, I tried several ways to edit the annotations. 

1) First, drag the PDF to EN and then;

       Right-click the annotated PDF note on EN and click "Mark up a Copy with Skitch"
       Right-click the annotated PDF note on EN and click "Open with"  -> "Skitch"
2) Launch Skitch and then open the PDF to add annotations and save it to EN

I tried to attach 2 screenshots to help your analysis, but I got a message, "You have exceeded your allotted disk space for attachments", and I don't know how to solve this. So I use the Google Drive and here are the links.
The context menus are different between PDF and JPEG as shown in these screenshots.

My main home-brew PC is a multi-boot system running Windows 8, VHD-boot Windows 7 and I recently added VHD-boot Windows 8.1. I also have a MacBook Pro, iPhone 5 and iPad 2. So cross-platform app like Evernote is very convenient for me. That's why I started using Skitch and I'm impressed with its beautiful annotations. It's ideal if I can edit annotations and PDF separately.


Joe, Skitch newbie in Japan

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