Using Hook with PDFPenPro

Hook enables you to link PDF files to and from anything that is also linkable. Hook supports many PDF readers including PDFpenPro. PDFpenPro is an All-Purpose PDF Editing Tool developed by Smile.

Hook treats PDFs similarly to any other files, except you can create “deep links” that point to specific locations in a document.

Click on the link and Hook will open the PDF and scroll to the specific page and location to which it points!

Copy Link, Copy Markdown Link and Hook to Copied Link

If no text is selected in a PDF, then Copy Link and Copy Markdown Link have the same effect as most files: they return a link to the entire file (using the hook://file/ scheme), not a deep link.

Creating Deep Links (to specific locations in a PDF file)

If you have selected something in the PDF when you invoke Copy Link or Copy Markdown Link, then Hook will return a “deep link” to the specific location of the selection! This is super handy for anyone who is working intensely with PDFs.

  1. In PDFPenPro (or Skim), select the text or image to which you want to create a link.
  2. Bring up Hook using a keyboard shortcut (⇧⌘SPACE by default) or the Hook menu bar icon.
  3. Click Hook’s Copy Link button (or use ⌘C, or use Copy Markdown Link).
  4. Paste the link wherever you want to directly link to the selection.

When you click the link, Hook opens the file and jumps to the specific section of the PDF, provided your default PDF reader supports PDF deep linking. (As of 2021-01-07 this includes PDFpenPro and Skim. Additional apps may be added).

You can paste the link in:

  • any document (for instance in Pages, Nisus Writer, or Microsoft Word), even in another PDF !
  • a “to-do” app (such as OmniFocus, Things or TaskPaper),
  • an email
  • in any editable field (even Items in DEVONthink )
  • and just about anywhere else

Share deep links to PDFs with others!

Before Hook, there was no easy way to refer to shared PDFs in Dropbox or iCloud. Hook solves this problem. Use the Copy Link (or Copy Markdown Link) command on a PDF or a selection of the PDF, then paste the link into a document or email. Send it to anyone with access to the PDF: If they have Hook (even if they use its free Lite mode), the deep links will open at the exact location in the PDF.

That way, instead of manually scrolling to the location in a (potentially very long) PDF, all they need to do is click on the link.

Hook links to specific locations in PDF files that are shared with others will normally work as long as the recipient has Hook and PDFpenPro or the free Skim app installed and a copy of the file that has the same unique name on the recipient’s Mac (if two files have the same name, Hook will try to disambiguate them based on its meta-information [not its content]).

Try it, you and your recipients will be amazed at the time (and communication) savings!

Default app for opening PDFs

In order to use Hook’s deep links to PDFs you currently need to ensure that the default app you have configured in macOS Finder to open “.pdf” files supports deep PDF links. (As of 2021-01-07 this includes PDFpenPro and Skim. Additional apps may be added). See Choose an app to open a file on Mac – Apple Support.

Even today, however, Hook also supports deep PDF links with Curio using an alternative integration. In Curio, PDFs are not stand-alone files that you directly access with Finder. They are embedded in Curio documents.

Hook also supports deep PDF links with Curio using an alternative integration. In Curio, PDFs are not stand-alone files that you directly access with Finder. They are embedded in Curio documents.

No “Hook to New > PDFpenPro” option

Hook does not currently support the creation of new PDFs. So there’s no “PDFpenPro” in the Hook to New menu.

Adding a “Hook” tag to PDFs

Using Hook > Preferences > General tab, you can configure Hook to apply a Finder tag to any PDF file you hook. Later you can search for it with Finder. But keep in mind that Hook has a great search engine of its own!

Searching for PDFs that you’ve bookmarked with Hook

To find PDF files you’ve linked with Hook, simply

  1. invoke Hook,
  2. enter search mode (with ⌘F or a click of Hook’s search toolbar-button),
  3. type ".pdf" and hit the return key

Your PDF bookmarks will show up in the search results. This is a very handy trick, so it’s a good idea of getting into the habit of using Hook’s search feature.

Think of it this way: if something is important you’ve likely bookmarked it with Hook (e.g., by copying a link to it). So use Hook to search for relevant information.

See also…

PDFpenPro is discussed and illustrated elsewhere on this website. To find out more: