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Tom B.

Text selection when annotating a note

Idea

I would like to have a traditional text selection tool when annotating a note/pdf. The free-form highlighting tools are difficult to use on a laptop trackpad to be useful. I completely understand their utility in certain circumstances and do not want to see them go away, I would just like to be able to drag and select blocks of texts in a traditional manner. 

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On 2/16/2017 at 6:55 AM, DTLow said:

An error introduced with the Mac OS Sierra upgrade.  We expect this to be resolved some day

I agree with the sentiment - if you need a feature not offered by EN, use a different editor

Moved to the feature request forum.  User's can indicate their support using the voting buttons in the upper left corner of the discussion

I hope that "some day" is not too far away...

The build in pdf highlighting in Evernote is not usable at all; and the preview duplication bug in Sierra make annotating pdf stored in Evernote too much work.

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Um, which Evernote client are you referring to -- WIndows, Mac, Android, iOS, web? They're different.

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Opening the PDF in Preview is likely to offer you the best "traditional" annotating experience. Just double click the attachment icon and it should open in preview (or whatever you have set as your default PDF reader)

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Thanks, but doesn't that rather defeat the purpose? I would like to keep all my work within Evernote. Also, Evernote provides the nice annotation summary at the top of the document. This could be such an amazing feature if you could highlight text more efficiently and add text notes that didn't look like they were made for cartoons. 

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Yes, but that feature is not part of Evernote.  I found the whole handling of editing PDF's inside Notes awkward at first, but "round-tripping" through Preview is easy, and the annotating tools are good.

 

Preview maintains an excellent "Highlights & Notes" list that can be shown in the Preview Sidebar.

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I don't know if I see it defeating the purpose. I almost never annotate the PDFs I store in Evernote using Skitch, I open them in preview. It's pretty seamless and I personally find preview better for large multipage PDFs anyway. preview also offers an annotation summary (cmd-i or cmd-opt-i, I can't recall exactly).

While I wish that the built in PDF reading and annotation features were what I need, I find those features inadequate on both desktop and iOS. As a result I primarily use Preview on the Mac (mobile is a whole other story I've posted about elsewhere). Preview suits my needs better and PDFs can still be stored and synced via Evernote, so you can capitalize in the superior organization and storage, while getting the (IMO, and for my needs) superior annotating capacity of Preview.

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I think I just need to explore this better to find what works for me. My main thing is that I use Evernote to organize large numbers of research articles I use in my work. When I read through an article there are sometimes things that are useful in a number of different contexts (an article I'm currently writing, an article I want to write, grant applications, something that is useful for a colleague or student, etc). Ideally I would be able to markup, make notes, etc. on one article and tag those annotations and notes in those different contexts. Having a nice summary like in the current annotation summary that could be filtered by context would be fantastic. 

 

I know that's a lot to ask and much more difficult to actually implement. That would just be my dream system. 

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I think I just need to explore this better to find what works for me. My main thing is that I use Evernote to organize large numbers of research articles I use in my work. When I read through an article there are sometimes things that are useful in a number of different contexts (an article I'm currently writing, an article I want to write, grant applications, something that is useful for a colleague or student, etc). Ideally I would be able to markup, make notes, etc. on one article and tag those annotations and notes in those different contexts. Having a nice summary like in the current annotation summary that could be filtered by context would be fantastic. 

 

I know that's a lot to ask and much more difficult to actually implement. That would just be my dream system. 

 

An excellent idea.  I do think in the next five years we will have the kind of "academic" mark-up tools you mention readily available and easily integrated.  (May be already available in some software.)  You might search the Web for articles on academic workflows.  There are whole blogs devoted to the topic.  Of particular interest, take a look at that robust ugly duckling, DevonThink Pro.

 

As an aside, having multiple versions of a base file, and saving only the instructions on how to mark-up the file (rather than copying the whole file) is how all current photographer's RAW workflow tools work.  It's brilliant, efficient, and empoweringly useful.

 

In the meantime, Scott's advice is, IME, spot-on:  use Preview.  It works well, at the cost of not being "in" Evernote.  Note that you have a choice among five highlighter colors, and an underline.  I think the underline looks best, but it _is not_ included in the summary in the Sidebar (neither are callouts).  I color code my highlighting by use (e.g.: yellow — notes on the text; red — notes to the author; purple — notes to me).  Unfortunately, there is as yet no way to show/hide by color, and the colors are not shown in the Sidebar summary (on OS 10.8.5, afaict).  There is also no way to search just one's highlights, but the Sidebar contents are searched at the same time as the document (e.g.: search for "octopus" and the Sidebar will show only highlights and notes containing "octopus".

 

If that kind of work-around doesn't meet your needs, I suggest finding another base application (not Evernote) for document and information storage and retrieval.

 

HTH.

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I have the same problem and wish for EverNote.  It's fine to use Preview to add notes and highlighting, but the notes and highlights that I add in Preview are actually the most important things about that document. So it would be nice if EverNote would treat those notes and highlights with the priority warranted.  Maybe within the note container, EverNote could include a summary of the notes and highlighted passages that are found within the PDF file, with links that open the PDF to the spot where the note or highlight resides.  At the very least, annotations added in Preview should at least be searchable from within EverNote.  That doesn't seem to be the case at the moment.

 

In some respects, OneNote is better than EverNote for these needs.  OneNote doesn't let you highlight blocks of text, but you can directly annotate any document printed into a note form, add tags, bookmarks, highlight, etc.  It's a bit more cohesive approach that ensures your annotations are searchable and not 2nd class elements of the document.

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"So it would be nice if EverNote would treat those notes and highlights with the priority warranted.  Maybe within the note container, EverNote could include a summary of the notes and highlighted passages that are found within the PDF file, with links that open the PDF to the spot where the note or highlight resides.  "

 

It is worth noting that any marking up or annotating you do with skitch or with the built-in annotation features WILL do this. Anything you do with an external program is outside of the ambit of Evernote to try and interpret so I wouldn't hold my breath on this feature coming any time soon. The best we can do is hope for better "traditional" annotation tools in Evernote. 

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It is worth noting that any marking up or annotating you do with skitch or with the built-in annotation features WILL do this. 

 

Skitch just looks so cartoonish that it's basically not usable for me. 

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Yes, it does have a.... unique look. More traditional forms of annotation would certainly be welcomed by me too. 

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I think it's just a minimal look, not cartoonish, but that's just me. Usually my criterion is "does it work or does it not?" It's simple for what it does, and interestingly, I seem to see a fair bit of it popping up on the web -- those arrows are pretty distinctive, If I need more complex annotation, there are plenty of other more hard-core tools out there.

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I think it's just a minimal look, not cartoonish, but that's just me. Usually my criterion is "does it work or does it not?" It's simple for what it does, and interestingly, I seem to see a fair bit of it popping up on the web -- those arrows are pretty distinctive, If I need more complex annotation, there are plenty of other more hard-core tools out there.

 

I think we might be starting to conflate actions that are best, imho, considered separately.  The thread is about (afaict) using highlighting and underlining and other _text markup_ tools.  (The thread is titled "Text Selection".) It is not about what might be differentiated as _document_ or _page markup_ tools.

 

Skitch (and whatever the built-in tools in Evernote are called) is, IME, excellent for document mark-up, and, in it's current form, useless for text mark-up.  Preview, by way of example, does text markup quite well.

 

Aside: the old beloved Skitch — prior to being swallowed by Evernote — was one of the best-designed utilities ever.  It was common to see "Skitched" screen-grabs all over the Web — a stretch of growth that accelerated weekly until Evernote's unhelpful changes.

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I think I just need to explore this better to find what works for me. My main thing is that I use Evernote to organize large numbers of research articles I use in my work. When I read through an article there are sometimes things that are useful in a number of different contexts (an article I'm currently writing, an article I want to write, grant applications, something that is useful for a colleague or student, etc). Ideally I would be able to markup, make notes, etc. on one article and tag those annotations and notes in those different contexts. Having a nice summary like in the current annotation summary that could be filtered by context would be fantastic. 

 

I know that's a lot to ask and much more difficult to actually implement. That would just be my dream system. 

I tried Evernote for some time and kept checking back for a while to see if they had implemented these features. Have you tried Diigo recently? They have the features you are looking for.

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Somebody wrote: "Preview maintains an excellent 'Highlights & Notes' list that can be shown in the Preview Sidebar."

But this isn't true IMHO -- that is, it's not "excellent." The Preview "Highlights & Notes" only shows a limited excerpt of annotations, not the full annotations. If you highlight multiple lines of text, only a portion of it will appear in the summary. Plus, the annotation summary in Preview cannot be printed or exported, whereas the annotation summary in Evernote offers more flexibility. (But Evernote lacks the clean text-recognizing highlighting feature of Preview. So neither is nearly as good as it could be.)

And part of the point of Evernote for me is to be able to use the same app on my iPad and Mac. Preview doesn't exist on iPad.

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Yeah, this is frustrating for me. Another example of basic features missing from Evernote. 

For example, I store pdf books in Evernote, and want to read and highlight by being able to select the text (the free-form highlighting looks terrible and is not as fast). I just want to open the pdf, select the text, and highlight. It seems like that should be a basic annotation feature.

I read a couple suggestions like "Opening the PDF in Preview is likely to offer you the best "traditional" annotating experience. Just double click the attachment icon and it should open in preview (or whatever you have set as your default PDF reader)"

I double click and it opens in Preview, but when I make a highlight or change to the pdf in Preview, i get the message "The origin document can't be changed, so a duplicate with your changes has been created."

This isn't as seamless as suggested.

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38 minutes ago, sker said:

I double click and it opens in Preview, but when I make a highlight or change to the pdf in Preview, i get the message "The origin document can't be changed, so a duplicate with your changes has been created."

An error introduced with the Mac OS Sierra upgrade.  We expect this to be resolved some day

I agree with the sentiment - if you need a feature not offered by EN, use a different editor

Moved to the feature request forum.  User's can indicate their support using the voting buttons in the upper left corner of the discussion

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"some day" ... exactly :) 

"if there is some feature you need not offered by EN, use a different editor" ... If this sentiment is also shared by the Evernote team, that's part of the problem. I thought the purpose of Evernote was to increase productivity. "Use something else" doesn't seem like a good solution or the attitude of people that want to make great products/services. I know a product can't be everything to everybody, but if Evernote went to the trouble of implementing features annotating for PDF, clearly annotation was part of what they feel is important, so it seems strange they would leave this out. I doubt I'm in the minority of people who think this would be useful, but perhaps I'm wrong.

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