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How to Extract Comments from PDF File in EN Mac

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How to Extract Annotation Comments from PDF File in EN Mac

Over the years, there have been requests for a feature/tool to extract annotation comments from a PDF file that is attached to an Evernote Mac Note.  In fact, I too have been looking/searching for such a tool to use with PDFs in general.  But I found no good solution.

Turns out the solution has been right here under my nose all the time:  Mac Automator

So I am posting link to the Automator workflow (saved as a "service") that I have created that all can use:
[PDF] Extract PDF Comments.workflow.zip

I use Adobe Acrobat Pro to view/annotate my PDF files.  
If you use another app to EDIT/annotate your PDF files, you will probably need to change:

  1. the Automator workflow to use that app.
  2. the AppleScript in the workflow to use that app, as in:
    tell application "<YourPDFAppName>"

Save this file to your Services folder:   ~/Library/Services
and then unzip the file by double-clicking on it.  You may then delete the zip file if you wish.

If you wish to set a keyboard shortcut for this service, goto Mac > System Preferences > Keyboard > Shortcuts > Services

How to Use:

  1. Double-click on the PDF file header in your EN Mac Note
  2. This opens the PDF in your default app
  3. Press the shortcut you set above, or goto [AppName] > Services > [PDF] Extract PDF Comments in the Apple menu bar.
  4. The PDF Comments will be extracted and put on the Clipboard
  5. Paste into your EN Mac Note, or wherever you'd like.

BTW, this will work with any PDF file you have open, even if it does NOT come from Evernote.

Disclaimer:  This Automator workflow should work on any PDF that has annotation comments created according to the Adobe specification.  I have tested ONLY with Adobe Acrobat.  I do not know if it will work with PDF annotations created by the EN Mac annotation tool.

Here's what it looks like:


The AppleScript script simply gets the file alias of the frontmost, active document open in Adobe Acrobat Pro.

on run {input, parameters}
	tell application "Adobe Acrobat Pro"
		tell its active doc
			set fileAlias to file alias
		end tell
	end tell
	return fileAlias
end run


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