Copying Deep PDF Links and Quotes

Hookmark not only lets you quickly find and open PDF files, but it also lets you create links to specific locations in PDFs. You can paste these links wherever you need them. This feature enables you to immediately return to the specific location in the particular PDF to which you need to attend. No searching for the file.

You can even copy linked quotes and share these links with others.

Deep-linking PDF apps

Hookmark’s deep linking works with PDF apps that have the required automation, and for which we have added deep-linking integration. Currently this includes:

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

To create a deep PDF link, simply select some text in the PDF and use Hookmark’s Copy Link. Hookmark will append the coordinates of the selection to the hook://file/ URL.

The format of the URL varies a bit between PDF apps. But the links can be opened in different apps. Here are two example links to the same selection in the same file. The first is from Adobe Reader, the second is from Skim:

  • [bernstein Farkas-HypertextHypermedia-WGraphics.pdf](hook://file/6RAUoBNgn?p=bHVjYi9EZXNrdG9w&n=bernstein%20Farkas%2DHypertextHypermedia%2DWGraphics%2Epdf#src=AR&p=2&x=456.14&y=334.88)
  • [bernstein Farkas-HypertextHypermedia-WGraphics.pdf](hook://file/6RAUoBNgn?p=bHVjYi9EZXNrdG9w&n=bernstein%20Farkas%2DHypertextHypermedia%2DWGraphics%2Epdf#p=2&x=0&y=0&s=756&e=990)

If you’re using Skim, check out this document for two types of selections (text and objects).

Pasting links

Once you have copied a deep link, you can paste the link anywhere, such as:

  • A “to-do” app (such as OmniFocus, Things or TaskPaper).
  • Any document (for instance, in Pages, Nisus Writer, or Microsoft Word); even in another PDF!
  • An email.
  • Any editable field (e.g., items in DEVONthink).
  • And just about anywhere else

When you click on that link, you’ll enjoy getting right where you need to focus.

Copy Selection and Link

Sometimes you want not merely to copy a deep PDF link but copy the text of the selection at the same time. You’re in luck, because Hookmark’s Copy Selection and Link command does exactly that.

  1. Select text in a compatible PDF app.
  2. Click the Action ☰ button, and
  3. select Copy Selection and Link (⌘Q)

Here’s the text that was generated by the Copy Selection and Link command:

Web designers and others who are interested in hypertext often use the term “node” to refer to chunks of content. Much of the time a “node” is simply a Web page. But there are times when we want to envision a cluster of closely related Web pages as a single unit.

bernstein Farkas-HypertextHypermedia-WGraphics.pdf

Switching between PDF readers, and compatibility of deep PDF links

We designed Hookmark’s deep PDF linking with the same standards-compliant principles and philosophy we used for Hookmark’s email links. (See Openness).

Hookmark’s deep PDF URLs (hook://file//<...>p=<page-number>&s<starting-point>&e=<end-point>) use coordinate information defined in the PDF specifications.

This means you can switch from one PDF app to another if the other app supports automated deep linking with the hook://file URL scheme, as opposed to a third-party custom URL scheme. You can copy a deep PDF link in one app (e.g. Skim) and open said deep links in another app (e.g. PDFpenPro).

If you want your PDF links (whether deep or not) to open in a different app, then the next section is for you.

Default app for opening PDFs

In order to use Hookmark’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. See Choose an app to open a file on Mac.

Using an alternative integration, Hookmark also supports deep PDF links with Curio. In Curio, PDFs are not stand-alone files you directly access with Finder. They are embedded in Curio documents. So we don’t use hook://file/ links for them.

Share deep links to PDFs with others!

Hookmark’s deep links can be used collaboratively, meaning you can share deep PDF links with others. If they have a compatible PDF app, access to the same file, and the file has the same name, the link will open.

If you want people to act on your request to review specific text in a PDF, this is the way to do it.

Try it; you and your recipients will be amazed at the time and communication savings!

Why this matters

The highest caliber and most useful information is in PDF files. But we’re overloaded with information. Searching for files, and information within PDF files, is very time-consuming. Deep PDF links take you exactly where you need to be.

If you do a lot of deep work with PDFs, you need this feature.