Annotating PDFs

One of the most useful things for me in zotero is the ability to highlight text in snapshots of web pages. It would be tremendously useful to be able to do the same thing in pdfs which are open in Firefox. I guess pdf is some kind of image and not text, but would it still be possible to mark the image/text in some way?
  • please search the forums before posting - there are many threads on this.
    Short answer is no, but obviously annotations you make in your pdf files with your pdf reader (e.g. acrobat professional or foxit) will work for files stored with Zotero.
  • Hi adam, I did in fact do a search for 'pdf' but failed to find anything on annotating text in them. For anyone else I have found a useful program called Skim for Mac OSX which is very flexible in annotating and highlighting text - it would have been good to be able to do all this inside zotero and firefox, but I will carry on going outside firefox, then saving and importing.
  • edited July 20, 2009
    just do a search for "Annotating PDFs" - i.e. the subject of your post -
    and you get links to
    among other things this:
    which in turn has a bunch of other links to relevant threads.

    also, you can configure Zotero/Firefox to open pdfs right in skim (or any other pdf viewer) you do not need to import and export pdfs - you just open them, annotate them, save them to the same location (and with the same filename!) and you have yourself an annotated file in Zotero.
    If you don't want to configure FF/Zotero to open pdfs in skim by default, you can also select the pdf attachment, chose the "show file" option and open the file from the folder that opens using whichever program you desire.

    EDIT: In order to this all inside Firefox you would have to find a program that has a FF plugin _and_ annotation features - there aren't many of those and they are different for any platform.
  • edited July 20, 2009
    Edit: Apologies, most of what I have said has been covered above - the first link should still be relevant though. I left this thread open in firefox for a few hours and neglected to refresh the page before posting (just shows what an impressively active forum Zotero has).

    This is not currently possible using the zotero annotation toolbar (and judging by the thread above it is such a large and difficult undertaking that it probably won't be possible until a. an open source pdf annotator comes along which zotero can incorporate or b. Firefox gets native PDF support).

    However there are several third party pdf annotators around, the one I use is PDF X-change viewer (thread on this below), which has a very usable free version, including a Firefox plugin (if all you want to do is read and annotate PDFs the free version is almost as good as the pro).
  • Thanks very much for this info. Sorry if I didn't find it before, but could I suggest that,instead of it hidden in the depths of the forums, it could be put in the manual or somewhere easily findable. The demonstration of highlighting web pages is good, so I expect many people would like to know how to do the same for pdfs, on Mac and Windows. We are not all as techie as the people on the forums.
  • CB
    edited July 21, 2009
    There seem to be a lot of these kind of exchanges, where a newcomer asks something previously addressed in the forums, and gets an irritated response. Does vanilla have available a plugin that searches for related posts before a new one is submitted? It might save some time and annoyance.
    [Edit: oops. Sorry Dan, didn't remember I had already asked this rather than just thought it]
  • edited July 21, 2009
    CB: Let's discuss that in a separate thread. [Edit: Ah, right. Like your existing one.]
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