Summarzing comments, extracting highlighted text

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Peter28
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Summarzing comments, extracting highlighted text

Post by Peter28 » Sun Nov 23, 2014 9:23 pm

Dear PDF XChange-Editiors developers,

You did a great job the XChange Editors, but there are a few issues...

1) Grr....Why, why do have included default information (page, type, author, date, time) when summarzing the comments?! I really can't understand why. With this unnecessary 'feature' you make the whole summarzing feature nearly useless. The summarizing feature was actually the reason why I bought the PDF XChange Editior. Now I can't really use it - Very disappointing. There must be a reason why it's done this way. I would like to know the (real) reason.

2) The (highlighted) text is not summarized in the order as it is shown on the pdf page but in the order in which the text items were marked. Thus, when summarized the order of the text parts are messed up.

3) Export to a Word-File format would also a big advantage. If possible with connecting to formate templates (e.g. all red marked texts shall be formated, when exported to Word, with Word's Heading 1 format).
Possible workaround:
I know, I can summarize my highlighted text into a rtf-file, which I can edit and then save in Word-File (where I now have to delete dozens of time the default information (see 1)) :-((( ). If there is one (extra) information, beside the highlighted text itself, I would consider as useful then it would be the color code of the highlight color (which we unfortunately don't have). E.g. Color Code 1 for yellow, 2 for orange and 3 for green. If we had such an (optional) color code which we could export togehter with the highlighted text into the rtf-file (better directly in Word) and then to Word, we (better you) could write a VBA program in Word, which would format the entire text. Automatical delete all unnecessary default information and format the text, depending on their color codes. E.g yellow for normal text, orange for heading 1, green for title.

4) Also, very important. When generating the rtf-file, please make sure that the highlighted text of consecutive lines is together and not separated by a line breaks ("Shift-Enter" or "Enter" in Word). I lose hours just to delete these line breaks. (Have a look at sumnotes.net. They make it quite good in that regard).


In short, what I want is quite simple. I want to read a pdf, highlight the parts & pictures which are important for me and then press a button or have as little efforts as possible to get an editable and structured/formated summary in Word. I'm sure many, MANY people would love that feature.


Please advice and please let us know if, and if yes, by when we could expect an update with these features.

Thank you for listening

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Re: Summarzing comments, extracting highlighted text

Post by Patrick-Tracker Supp » Mon Nov 24, 2014 6:45 pm

Hello Peter,

Thank you for the post.

1. This is standard procedure, and will likely not be changed. I am not 100% sure, but I believe this is specified in the PDF specification set up by ISO.

2. It seems you might have the "sort by" options not set properly for your needs. Make sure you have chosen Sort by page:

Image

3. Currently, converting PDF to a Word document will likely result in formatting errors, depending upon the formatting of the source document - given that this is not headline functionality, there is little that we can do about this at this time, as it's not considered a priority. Though through the use of PDF-Tools, you can convert to multiple different types of file formats.

Image

The PDF to Word functionality of PDF-Tools is far from headline and, more often than not, the output will require reformatting. We generally don't suggest that clients purchase PDF-Tools if this is their sole reason for doing so. However, it should be noted that we are generally able to get the full document to convert and, generally keep the formatting to a pretty good level using this option:
Image

I recommend you test using the latest build by running the following installer: http://www.tracker-software.com/PDFT4.zip

4. Please note: PDF-Tools is going to be rebuild in a future build. We will be sure to take your above points into consideration.

I hope this helps!
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Re: Summarzing comments, extracting highlighted text

Post by Peter28 » Tue Nov 25, 2014 8:31 am

Hello

Thank you for the quick reply - very much appreciated!

I have some comments about your answers:

1) Well, then make the "standard procedure" at least optional. Why add additional, unwanted information to a summary?! If I hadn't had this additional "standard"/default information in the comment summary, it would save me hours, really hours.

2) Here the program has a bug. "Sorting by page" works, but this is not the problem. The problem is in the order of the individual page itself. I want the highlighted text summarized/extracted/exported in the order they are on the page and not in the order I mark the them on the page. This doesn't work properly on the current XChange Editior version.

3) The comment summarize export into a rtf-file works actually quite well. If Tracker-Software wants to keep its "standard procedure", as discussed in 1), and also don't want to make it optional, then, PLEASE, provide at least a VBA program for Word with which we could, after we copied the rtf-text into Word, automatically delete this unwanted "standard"/default information lines from the text and (re-)connect the line breaks of consecutive highlighted text.

What do you think, would that be possible? And if yes, by when? (I need soon a solid solution).

Looking forward to reading from you.

Peter


PS:
When you have time, you may want to goolge for 'extract text from pdf' (or similar). You'll see that many people are yearning (since years!) for a proper solution where they could mark text in a big pdf file and extract this text to make their own personal, editable summary of the pdf. Provide a proper solution to this problem and you'll make good money.

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Re: Summarzing comments, extracting highlighted text

Post by Patrick-Tracker Supp » Tue Nov 25, 2014 6:46 pm

Hello Peter,

Thank you for these good points. I have made a combined feature request after speaking to the development project manager. We are looking into adding a "sort by visual order" feature in the summarize comments section. We are also looking into the possibility of adding the ability to toggle certain content of the comments' summary.

Ticket number: RT-FR2826

We can make no guarantees about if or when we will be able to add these features. It is currently too early in the process to provide a timeline.

Thank you for your patience, and for your suggestions!
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Re: Summarzing comments, extracting highlighted text

Post by Peter28 » Tue Nov 25, 2014 6:53 pm

Thank you for your consideration... and once again for the quick reply.

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Re: Summarzing comments, extracting highlighted text

Post by Paul - Tracker Supp » Tue Nov 25, 2014 7:35 pm

:)
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Re: Summarzing comments, extracting highlighted text

Post by Peter28 » Tue Nov 25, 2014 7:38 pm

Hi

Me again... with an additional remark concerning default information and VBA program for word:

If the (optional) '(non-)default information' of the summarized (highlighted) text, exported to the rtf-file, would provide a number-code for the color with which the text in the pdf was marked (e.g. 1 for red, 2 for blue, 3 for green and 4 for yellow)(not like now where the default information is "TYPE: Highlight" for all colors), then this 'color indicator' could be used in the VBA program (which people could adjust to their needs) to format the plain text with the appropriate (Word-) format.

If Tracker-Software would provide that, I would do the following:

1) Highlight my pdf text with different colors (red for pdf title, blue for heading 1, green for heading 2 and yellow for other text)
2) Summarize the highlighted text, export to rtf-document (with clearly identifiable color code on a separate line e.g. "TYPE: Highlight ColorCode 2" for blue)
3) Copy all the text in the rtf-file into the Word-template (.dotm word template with macro)
4) Start macro in Word file, which goes line by line through the text and...
a) formats the text between line "TYPE: Highlight ColorCode 1" and the next "TYPE: ... "-line with word format "Title"
and deletes line breaks (to reconnect lines. In case of hyphenation remove the "-") of consecutive highlighted text
b) formats the text between line "TYPE: Highlight ColorCode 2" and the next "TYPE: ... "-line with word format "Heading 1"
and deletes line breaks (to reconnect lines. In case of hyphenation remove the "-") of consecutive highlighted text
c) formats the text between line "TYPE: Highlight ColorCode 3" and the next "TYPE: ... "-line with word format "Heading 2"
and deletes line breaks (to reconnect lines. In case of hyphenation remove the "-") of consecutive highlighted text
d) formats the text between line "TYPE: Highlight ColorCode 4" and the next "TYPE: ... "-line with word format
"Standard_BulletPoint_Listing" and delete line breaks (to reconnect lines. In case of hyphenation remove the "-") of
consecutive highlighted text
e) deletes all "TYPE: ... "-lines

And volià... I would have my properly formated summary of my pdf! :-))

Doesn't looks so difficult to realize in my opinion. Or am I wrong?

Regards,

Peter

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Re: Summarzing comments, extracting highlighted text

Post by Patrick-Tracker Supp » Tue Nov 25, 2014 10:40 pm

Thanks for the suggestions! We will pass this along as well.

:)
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Re: Summarzing comments, extracting highlighted text

Post by vee » Fri Dec 05, 2014 2:10 pm

Hi guys - an easy one-click way to extract/summarise highlighted text and comments would definately be extremely useful. I confirm, I've also seen many people asking for this around the web and spent a good deal of time on it myself with limited success.

There is another way to that just suggested, by using PDF X-Change in combination with Docear. (The key is to select 'copy selected text into highlight popup' in the 'commenting options' of PDF X-Change.)

PDF X-Change viewer (for some reason not yet editor), is the only pdf viewer working for that process with Docear but it still has a major flaw which is that, as just pointed out, highlights and comments in PDF X-Change, when ordered by page, are then rendered/ordered in the comments pane by date-made rather than by position on the page. Thus when summarised (by PDF X-Change) or extracted by Docear, the summary/extraction does not reflect the written flow of the document being sumarised. The only way round this is to manually redo all highlights chronologically. This is a real pain and doesn't allow for ongoing modification without repeating that whole laborious process.

Would the teams suggestion of a visual order in the comments pane actually solve this in terms of a Docear type export?

Perhaps a simpler option would be to have 2 types of panes for highlights/comments. One in which they can be ordered by the existing options of colour/type (useful in its own right) and another that operates like Bookmarks such that highlights/comments can be reordered by drag and drop. When read by Docear or another type of extraction process they would then work as for Bookmarks (which do work with Docear in this way) and be in the order required by the user for summarising the highlighted text of his document as it appears on the page rather than by date-made.

Hope that helps and I sincerely hope you can implement a simple, efficient way to extract highlighted text.

Many thanks
Vee

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Re: Summarzing comments, extracting highlighted text

Post by Tracker Supp-Stefan » Fri Dec 05, 2014 2:29 pm

Hello Vee,

Welcome to our forums and thanks for your post.

I will have your suggestions discussed with members of the team and we will have them in mind for future development!

Regards,
Stefan

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Re: Summarzing comments, extracting highlighted text

Post by vee » Thu Aug 06, 2015 10:32 am

Hi Stefan

Just giving this a bump and wondering if it has been taken any further? Being able to extract/export the highlights in this ordered way would be an exceptionally useful feature.

Many thanks!

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Re: Summarzing comments, extracting highlighted text

Post by Willy Van Nuffel » Thu Aug 06, 2015 5:34 pm

Hi all,

I just like to share an idea, but I don't know if it can help ???

In PDF-XChange Editor, you have Advanced > Bookmarks > Generate Bookmarks from Page Text.
This feature/addon can automatically create bookmarks based on the formatting of the text (Font Name / Font size / Text color). Once you have bookmarks, you can export them as a HTML or a TXT file (with that same feature).

The only inconvenient is that it actually only recognizes Text 'Color', but no Text 'Highlight'.

So, if you would consider to "color" your text (via "Edit Content") instead of "highlight" it ?
Even though, I must admit, coloring text requires a lot more clicks than highlighting it.

What do you think about this "workaround" ?

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Re: Summarzing comments, extracting highlighted text

Post by Will - Tracker Supp » Thu Aug 06, 2015 8:05 pm

Hi guys,

Thanks for the posts - the Editor has the ability to summarize comments and sort by visual order (build 313.1). Would this do as needed?

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Re: Summarzing comments, extracting highlighted text

Post by Peter28 » Mon Aug 10, 2015 7:58 pm

Hello

I started this thread more than a year ago. Is there meanwhile any progress to solve my problem? Please let me know.

Also, please also tell me how I can update my PDF-XChange Editor. Every time when I want to update my Version (5.5, build 309.0) with \Help\Check for Updates I receive the error message "Check for updates timeout. Please try again later...". Please advice.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards,

Peter

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Re: Summarzing comments, extracting highlighted text

Post by Patrick-Tracker Supp » Mon Aug 10, 2015 8:47 pm

Hello Peter,

For help with updating, please send your serial key via email to support@tracker-software.com.

Thanks for all your patience. There have been some changes made to the Editor since build 309. From your request specifically, Sort by visual order has been added to the Editor when summarizing comments. The author and other type options have not yet been implemented. You can however, Include/Exclude Replies, and invisible comments.

The PDF-Tools integration/rebuild is coming soon. With that will come some more advanced and intuitive ways to convert PDF to word.

What you are hoping for will still take some time, however we are making headway as proven by the implementation of Sort by Visual order.

Thank you for your continued patience!

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Re: Summarzing comments, extracting highlighted text

Post by Patrick-Tracker Supp » Fri Sep 11, 2015 10:27 pm

Hi Guys,

I am pleased to announce that the remaining features requested in this thread have been added!

Image

Do let me know if there are any in particular that you are missing or that you cannot find.

Cheers!
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Re: Summarzing comments, extracting highlighted text

Post by Peter28 » Fri Sep 18, 2015 9:47 pm

Hello

Thanks a lot for implementing the 'visual order' feature.

Is there any chance that the "default information (page, type, author, date, time) when summarzing the highlighted text" switched off feature will be implemented soon? It would be a pity, if we had to wait another 9 month for this feature.

When it's possible to avoid the adding of any additional information to the summary of the extracted highlighted text, beside having the summarized text in visual order, the extracting/summarizing feature would be MUCH more useful.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

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Re: Summarzing comments, extracting highlighted text

Post by Tracker Supp-Stefan » Mon Sep 21, 2015 9:29 am

Hi Peter,

I will ask our devs for the plans in that respect at our next meeting (on Wednesday).

Regards,
Stefan

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Re: Summarzing comments, extracting highlighted text

Post by Peter28 » Tue Sep 22, 2015 4:42 am

Hi Stefan

Thanks for the quick reply.
There is a big demand for a tool to create a personal summary out of a pdf (feel free to google for it) and there is nothing out in the market (appart from the iPad sumnotes app).
Hence, when you talk to your devs next Wednesday you could maybe keep this "personal summary vision" in your mind. In other words extracting highlighted text out of a pdf into an (editable Word-) format without adding additional information (author etc.) is only the first step. In order to get a nice personal summary of the pdf, people may also want, besides extracting pictures, creating a rough structure of the pdf-text in the (editable Word-)format. A way to get to this structure could be by providing 4(?) highlighting colours (for titles, subtiles, text and bullet points,...) and matching this with a Word template with VBA-script. People could then mark their pdf text with different colours (e.g. important titles with one colour, normal text with another) and press a butten... and voilà... they get a (formated Word?) text with a rough structure (e.g. text (in Word standard format) with corresponding titles (in Word title format). On this rough editable (Word-)draft, people could then do further improvements if needed.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Best regards,

Stefan

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Re: Summarzing comments, extracting highlighted text

Post by Michael_Swinton2 » Tue Sep 22, 2015 9:59 am

I just wanted to inform you about the option to extract text from annotated PDFs with the Zotfile plugin for Zotero. It is not particularly sophisticated but it works for me. I've successfully extracted text from highlighted and annotated PDFs modified with PDF-XChange Viewer and Adobe Acrobat. I have not noticed that the visual order was not followed. However, the extraction feature is not a feature rich as what Peter requests here. This, however, comes with the bonus that not unnecessary additional information is being added to the extracted text.

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Re: Summarzing comments, extracting highlighted text

Post by Tracker Supp-Stefan » Tue Sep 22, 2015 11:19 am

Hi Michael and Peter,

Thanks for your input. It is appreciated, and I will definitely have it in mind when discussing this feature with the devs tomorrow.

Regards,
Stefan

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Re: Summarzing comments, extracting highlighted text

Post by Peter28 » Wed Oct 14, 2015 4:41 am

Hi Stefan

And what came out in the discussion with the devs? Any intention to make progress in this matter?

Best regards,

Peter

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Re: Summarzing comments, extracting highlighted text

Post by Tracker Supp-Stefan » Wed Oct 14, 2015 1:28 pm

Hi Peter,

I am afraid that this is not a high priority feature for us at the moment - as we are working on a forms designer plug-in for the Editor, as well as the new PDF Tools, but in the future we might redesign the comments summary interface and provide further options.

Regards,
Stefan

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Re: Summarzing comments, extracting highlighted text

Post by vee » Thu May 18, 2017 1:21 pm

Hi Guys - Very disappointed to see you're still not getting Peter's point.

"Hell, each student on this planet would buy your product!" - he says. And he's spot on. How many more times do you need to be told that the bit that would make your product GREAT is the bit you're doing nothing about?

Like Peter I am very frustrated by the lack of progress here. (I presume to say this and no disrespect is intended, simply because you have said so many times that the Dev team will look at it.) I haven't purchased for exactly this reason and have continued to look elsewhere for solutions. Alas with limited success. But I too see the same need as Peter and don't get why nothing has been done to make it happen. You'd have the only proper solution out there! You're so close and yet so far. Just fix this issue with proper 1-click summarizing and you've nailed it. What's so hard about making an option to summarize without all the extra (and unnecessary) extra information?

Peter was, in Nov 2014, 100% right about the need for 1 click summarizing, hence I added my comments. He was still right in Oct 2015 when he followed up and you told him it's not a high priority. Thank you for adding the sort by visual order feature, however, he's still right when he makes essentially the same point in Dec 2016 in this thread:
https://www.tracker-software.com/forum3 ... ize#p89668

You keep saying the Dev team will look at it... what's so difficult??!! Come on guys, make a good product GREAT! ... please :-)

Vee

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Re: Summarzing comments, extracting highlighted text

Post by RoGraf » Tue Mar 20, 2018 2:04 pm

We need this features also very urgent. We actually use the (old/discontinued) PDFXChange viewer in our System.
With the old api it is possible to set e.g. "Operations.SummarizeAnnots.Output.ShowAuthor". The Reason wie need the toggeling of this Information:We use these summarized Annots/Comments in communication with our customers, but we dont want to export our internal usernames, which are shown as "AUTHOR". We also do not want to export internals like the Date, the annotation is done.
We actually do the decission what product to use in the future and this feature is one core features we need.
What about the ticket RT-FR2826?
So -Please bring this features back soon!!

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Re: Summarzing comments, extracting highlighted text

Post by Patrick-Tracker Supp » Wed Mar 21, 2018 12:14 am

Hello RoGraf,

Thank you for your post. FR2826 is for the addition of summarizing by visual order. I've created a further feature request today to fine-tune what is and is not included with the summary: RT#4304: FR: Summarize comments' content adjustment

Thank you for your suggestions!
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RT#4304

Post by standish-001 » Sun Apr 01, 2018 3:04 pm

Hi,

Any way we can follow information and development related to this ticket: RT#4304: FR: Summarize comments' content adjustment ?

Thanks

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Re: Summarzing comments, extracting highlighted text

Post by Dimitar - Tracker Supp » Mon Apr 02, 2018 8:37 am

Hello standish,

Welcome to our forum. I hope you enjoying your stay.

The quickest and most accurate way to get the information you need is to ask in the topic directly related to the issue.

That's why I allowed myself to move your post into this discussion.


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Re: Summarzing comments, extracting highlighted text

Post by standish-001 » Mon Apr 02, 2018 12:12 pm

Hi,

Thanks for putting me in the discussion.

I've got an idea. Tell me what you think: open a thread for ten formatting suggestions & 3 function suggestions for the new comments summary.

Seems like there is huge interest.

In a near ceaseless hunt for something that could help me tackle highlighting an 800 page book (political theory) I've looked at lots of options.

As you can see, from the many replies to this nearly half-decade old thread, others have the same hope.

The hunt has gone on around the internet vis-a-vis other products and in general forums like Quora:

https://drawboard.uservoice.com/forums/ ... l#comments

https://www.quora.com/Which-PDF-readers ... ghted-text

Each of these links go back years - researchers asking for the same thing.

Encourage you to take a week to collect some suggestions. No promises, and strict limits on suggestion size: suggestions must be single sentences?

According to one bit of research, around 300,000 students graduated in 2015 with degrees in Liberal Arts. Most of those had to highlight LONG PDF documents and...the highlights and comments are, for all intents and purposes, unmanageable. Seems like you've got a huge market. ( https://datausa.io/profile/cip/240101/ )

How does all that sound?

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Re: Summarzing comments, extracting highlighted text

Post by TrackerSupp-Daniel » Mon Apr 02, 2018 5:47 pm

That all sounds great Standish,
We do have feature requests for a handful of aspects regarding comments and summarizing, so I do not believe opening one master ticket would be a great idea though. as they are each individual systems, if they were all contained in one ticket, should a single feature be blacklisted, the whole ticket would be...
We've heard the cries for these features, it is why we have made requests for them :)


As for our request system, Our backend ticketing system functions essentially like Email, Each request has a Subject, Which should be a short description of the suggestion/problem. And then a discription, this can be a quick clarification. Just a few more sentences and a link to a forum post or two, like this one, so the devs can gather more information from users like yourself if need be.

Until then though, please stand by, hopefully it will come sooner than later :)
Daniel McIntyre
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Re: Summarzing comments, extracting highlighted text

Post by standish-001 » Tue Apr 03, 2018 7:42 am

Hi Daniel,

Got it. What link should I go to if I'd like to send feature requests relative to comments and summarizing?

Many thanks,

WS

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Re: Summarzing comments, extracting highlighted text

Post by Tracker Supp-Stefan » Tue Apr 03, 2018 10:16 am

Hello WS,

You can make new feature requests in the relevant forum, and those that are approved will get a ticket of the type Daniel explained above, and realized when time allows!

Regards,
Stefan

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Re: Summarzing comments, extracting highlighted text

Post by standish-001 » Thu Apr 05, 2018 2:47 pm

After collecting the annotations, they only become useful if I can judiciously read through them and detect a theme. How? If I can print out the annotations in notecard format.

It is doable. Please check these links:
https://www.studystack.com/flashcard-1229339
https://www.studystack.com/PrintPrompts ... +of+Law+-1
https://www.studystack.com/servlet/pdf8 ... 3%2CAnswer

Here's what I mean. I've been asked to read these three books for a doctoral degree:

An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, John Locke
719 pages
The Fedralist Papers, Hamilton et. al.
656 pages
Leviathan, Hobbes
445

1,820 pages

If I can print out the 1,000+ annotations as notecards, I can go through them and start to put them into piles. Themes emerge. A framework is built. This is easier than just scrolling through a long list. Think of it like a CSI case. I've got to collect the clues, and then tie the little red string between the relevant pieces of evidence. This is a lot easier to do if I can physically put aside the key points that jump out and start to reveal a pattern.

I've done this with Studystack and the links above. Load up the copy machine with cardstock, take them to the printer to cut. Stamp them with sequence numbers so you can bring the deck back into order if you need to start over.

Please consider this. You will be richly rewarded by every Liberal Arts major in the world, every year. That's a good market share.

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Re: Summarzing comments, extracting highlighted text

Post by Patrick-Tracker Supp » Fri Apr 06, 2018 12:27 am

Hello All,

Thank you for your post and suggestions. In this topic, there have be quite a few requests made such as summarizing comments by visual order, and configuring what information is and is not included (Author, date, time etc). These have been approved by the dev team. The later will be implemented as time allows and we have already included the first.

There also are requests that we create a VB script in word to auto generate a structured and formatted summary of highlights based on color. It seems like you are requesting that we make our PDF software, what is effectively an evolved version of what was originally designed as a standardized document viewing format to allow easy communication across industries, to act as a mind mapping tool. It seems to me like you are asking that we create a visual interface for you to manage and order and link your thoughts. I for one very much realize the necessity for such functionality, however it is beyond the scope of what we would consider appropriate for PDF. I am afraid that such requests cannot be fully realized as we must also consider that there are far more than highlighting comments at play.

I say all this in the hopes that you will understand our point of view. PDF caters to a huge market; students, engineers, real-estate, scientists, teachers to name a few. With the best will in the world, we simply cannot fill every niche.

Based on this discussion, I would hope to propose a compromise. Bearing in mind the coming ability to specify the exact information to be included with a comment summary, and the existing ability to summarize comments in their visual order on the page, as well as the the work we are currently doing to improve the use subjects/statuses within comments - I propose an expansion of the comments pane within the Editor's own interface.

Currently, you will find these options to work with comments within the PDF:

Image

These allow some ability to order and group comments. Perhaps this could be expanded to allow more flexibility and organization - something as simple as adding the ability to reorder these manually via drag-&-drop might add some much needed work-flow for academic users. One thing I noticed is that the color of the highlight is not represented in the comments pane:

Image

Additionally, if one could then export this custom "assembly" of comments in the comments pane to word, rtf, or the like with a preparation dialog to allow you to decide how that export is made then perhaps we can satisfy a larger majority.

In short, I am proposing a new feature that we can use to organize comments more easily, and then export only the needed data for any given niche purpose.

Without too much rebuttal, may I ask that you members the community consider this compromise, and offer some brief thoughts on the matter.

PS: Some of the more advanced functions requested may be more suited to a plug-in. The Editor is structured to accept plug-ins designed with our SDK products. If anybody wishes to develop a plug-in please contact sales@tracker-software.com for further information.

All the best,
If posting files to this forum, you must archive the files to a ZIP, RAR or 7z file or they will not be uploaded.
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Re: Summarzing comments, extracting highlighted text

Post by standish-001 » Fri Apr 06, 2018 8:55 am

Hi Patrick,

When I read your kind and detailed reply I felt impressed. Thank you, Patrick! : ) ) )

Sounds like you're thinking of a digital alternative to printing annotations out as notecards: a way of selecting the KEY ideas, as they develop or are spotted, and then moving them to different "piles".
Somehow, doing things like that digitally seems challenging, as the result can always seems to get tripped up on trying to replicate a IRL experience: think Outlook's Notes - little faux sticky notes.

At the same time, let's look at how this could work. To me, the key needs to be the interface. The highlighted text and the notes need to start always fully expanded to show the complete highlighted text and any notes. No need to click hundreds of little triangles.

Then, for the "piles" display. Wherever the selected annotations for follow up are organized, please make that display always expanded, too.

Some enhancement of the interfaces which carries the annotations, all and selected. Here' my thinking behind this suggestion: the annotations is where the hard work is really done for text-based research. I'll spend as much time reviewing my notes as the text itself once I've read the work in question. Currently, if you drag the annotations away from the edge, it behaves like torn-free component. Some way to enhance the rough edges of that display if it is pulled out on its own. Less like a broom closet of collected snippets, and more of a treasure trove of the key ideas for careful browsing that are going to (hopefully) put your research past the finish line.

A style sheet we could select for Annotation font sizes - seems like this is definable within the program, but some way to quickly click to select x font at y size for the annotations and notes.

How does all that look?

Sincerely,

WS

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Re: Summarzing comments, extracting highlighted text

Post by TrackerSupp-Daniel » Fri Apr 06, 2018 6:34 pm

Hello Standish, all,

I do like these ideas as well, but they also seems more like plugin features, making this more of a question of,
Do you know anyone who would like to try out our SDK for making these tools/plugins for the software.

The reason I see it as a Plugin feature and not a built in feature is that it is so specific, all the functions really gather in to one set area.

I would not be surprised to see some/many of these requested features eventually, but I would envision that as many years down the road unless an independent developer took this under their wing with the SDK.
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Re: Summarzing comments, extracting highlighted text

Post by standish-001 » Sun Apr 15, 2018 6:29 am

Hi Daniel,

Feel grateful for the careful attention you and your team give to the Forum and the the improvements you've made to these features over time. Your commitment to excellence shows in the popularity of the program.

I've downloaded the SDK and will be giving it a go.

I've got an idea. Tell me what you think. Take a look at this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r46uaho58DM

Seems like most of the things users are asking for in this thread could be achieved via Word Macros. I've tried creating my own "tag" system by highlighting text and then adding a Reply to the highlight that begins with :: So, I may have

::Natural Law - first mention
::Shay's Rebellion - as an event
::Natural Law - second mention
::Rousseau - parallel to treatise 2

My thinking here is that, once I've got everything collected, it will be easier to move things around if I can identify each piece.

Put another way, rather than having to build a front end feature that allows users to go through some variety of output designs, and then needing to write code to execute all those outputs, maybe it would be better to have the output as discrete chunks only, upon which Word Macros, CSS, or even Excel can be acted upon?

The software already does such an excellent job at highlighting & commenting on the text. You can put the burden of the arranging on other systems. As if to say, "Here is the output file. Utterly unformatted, though all set up for your own tweaking."

How does that sound?

Sincerely,

WS

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Re: Summarzing comments, extracting highlighted text

Post by TrackerSupp-Daniel » Mon Apr 16, 2018 6:04 pm

This sounds like an excellent idea to me, but in my mind I cant scratch that it is a bit out of the scope of what we are doing with PDF software.
Nonetheless, if any development does come out of this, I will be sure to let you know.

Until then, I am glad to hear you are trying the SDK, do keep us posted on your progress from that end.
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Re: Summarzing comments, extracting highlighted text

Post by RoGraf » Wed Sep 12, 2018 6:34 am

Hi,

may I ask if there is any progress in the mentioned "RT#4304: FR: Summarize comments' content adjustment"? Is it possible to get progress infomations on such requests or are they internal?

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Re: Summarzing comments, extracting highlighted text

Post by Tracker Supp-Stefan » Wed Sep 12, 2018 10:10 am

Hello RoGraf,

I see that a developer has been assigned to fixing this task and a work item has also been created. I can't see any further info in the ticket, but as soon as it is resolved we will post again here!

Regards,
Stefan

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Re: Summarzing comments, extracting highlighted text

Post by vee » Thu Jan 17, 2019 9:23 pm

Hi guys

Been a while, just dropped by to see if there was progress. Great to see the support team engaging with the forum like this - thank you.

Patrick - I think you just took a simple need and interpreted it into a much more complicated thing and thus talked yourself out of doing something really useful for Xchange Editor.

Daniel - this really is an essential part of summarizing and should be integral to the Editor. Someone has already had a shot at a plugin for the exact functionality we need. François wasn’t even a programmer, had to learn from scratch and made a pretty good stab at it. I can’t get it to work (not a programmer either) but his idea is right, he explained it very well and if he can get that far, surely you pros could pick the thing up, help make it work or incorporate such a feature properly? (will look for the link in a minute)

Patrick, I think you’re referring to the kind of (over)complicated functionality that reference managers such as Qiqqa, Citavi, Docear etc are aiming at. I agree with you - I’ve tried most of them and they are far too bloated. Taking a sledge hammer to crack a nut.

Their basic problem stems from the fact that they want to inter-link highlights (from inside and outside the document). They’re solving the problem by importing all pdf’s and having internal readers and methods for highlighting and linking. Some, as you say, are trying to incorporate mindmapping as well. But they haven’t stopped to ask why anyone really needs to do all that linking. The short answer is we don’t - because if we do try a lot of linking and mindmapping with a large number of pdf’s the resulting mess is epic and the actual information is lost. It works with a few pdf's not folders-full of pdf's.

You’ve so nearly cracked it with Xchange Editor because the summarized output for each pdf can be easily worked with. What you haven’t addressed properly is how we find and order the information we’ve extracted into highlights and annotations. You’ve kind of got it with order by color, date etc but the real need is tagging, so that each highlight or annotation can be assigned one or more topics. You’ve got ‘subject’, but as the plugin guy François tries to address, at the moment it’s all one string so you can’t have one highlight with multiple topics assigned.

In my humble opinion, if you could keep Subject as is - because it’s simplicity is useful as is - but also have a seperate tagging system in addition, with tag searches that could be saved and summarized (and ordered by date, color etc) ... that would be even better (so long as the tag stays with the pdf - as Francois explains why). As I say - infact as several others have said in this thread - noone else is doing this. You’d have the space all to yourselves!

The real work-flow of research is far better reflected by what Xchange Editor does than by what a reference manager tries to do. All that (supposedly useful) linking just interrupts the work-flow. We want to read a document, in the flow, once, extract the information (via highlight and annotate, click to assign subject, tag, color) and then be able to
a) find it again in an easily organised and usable way (subject, tag, color, date etc)
b) summarize and export - so that we can then assemble it elsewhere along with other source material.

Xchange Editor doesn’t need to do that final assembly. It just needs to make sure that what comes out of the pdf document is easily found, organised and exported. Francois has the excellent idea of collating all subject headings (which you should apply to all topics in a tag system as well) for all documents in one or more folders. [If you could make it so that exported highlights also have a clickable link that would open the pdf doc at that highlight then you've totally cracked it - but it's not fundamentally necessary because once the information is output it is with a view to final assembly anyway. It would just be handy for referencing and checking.]

So to resume - don’t over-complicate this. The simplicity and efficiency of the Xchange Editor work-flow is what makes Xchange Editor so good in the first place. Just add a simple drop-down way to assign a tag and a subject in the highlight properties pane (same as the drop down way to assign a color). Then make sure we can organise via color, date, subject (as at present) plus a tag search. Then if you can, make any exported highlights into links that open in the relevant place in the relevant pdf.

link to francois thread:
viewtopic.php?f=62&t=30582&p=122021&hil ... ag#p122021


Cheers and thanks for your time.
Last edited by vee on Thu Jan 17, 2019 9:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Summarzing comments, extracting highlighted text

Post by David.P » Thu Jan 17, 2019 9:42 pm

Very insightful post, vee. It's good for the forum (and for the ongoing development of PDF-XChange Editor) to have people at the forefront of knowledge management/information retrieval contributing to the forum.
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Re: Summarzing comments, extracting highlighted text

Post by TrackerSupp-Daniel » Thu Jan 17, 2019 11:51 pm

vee wrote:
Thu Jan 17, 2019 9:23 pm
So to resume - don’t over-complicate this. The simplicity and efficiency of the Xchange Editor work-flow is what makes Xchange Editor so good in the first place. Just add a simple drop-down way to assign a tag and a subject in the highlight properties pane (same as the drop down way to assign a color). Then make sure we can organise via color, date, subject (as at present) plus a tag search. Then if you can, make any exported highlights into links that open in the relevant place in the relevant pdf.
Hi again all,
Worry not, we would not overcomplicate it. We know that simplicity is one of our most appealing points, and weighs into many of our decisions, "Can we do it?", "How should we do it?", "Will this work well for all users?" are but a few of the questions we have to ask before implementing a feature. Currently, The largest stopping point is the overall usage. We understand your points earlier such as "Every student in the world would buy this", however currently we are more focused on improving other aspects of the Editor that more of our current users are demanding with each passing day.
Beyond that, the consideration of "where do we put this button" is important, adding functions to the search and find dialogs is problematic, as on smaller screens it is already difficult to see your results, Imagine adding another line with a radio button to this.
image.png
I am certain that we would find a better location for these, but instinctively this is the first place many people will look for this kind of function, right? And when anyone looks for something where they think it should be, and don't find it, we end up with unhappy users, which no one wants.

I mentioned before that we would consider it duly, and that still stands. The option has not been ruled out, however it is simply not something we are planning currently. In the future, we will reconsider, and like any feature request we receive, there is no distinct "Declined" unless it is completely impossible. If it does not make it in this cycle, we will reconsider again later, and so on.

Even now, we have some feature request from 2013 that we are finally able to fulfill, so those are planned for the next few builds. A great example of this is our OCR improvements, countless people have been asking for years to have something equivalent to Adobe's that allows you to edit text in a scanned document as if it was not an image. We are finally moving to a new OCR engine that hopefully will be capable of doing this at the same level after a fair amount of tuning.

Back to the topic at hand, Yes, we are considering improvements to the comments functionality, but no they will not be coming in the near future. This is a long term feature request, and as the Dev team see fit, functions from the list may be added in slowly over time.

Best regards,
Daniel McIntyre
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Re: Summarzing comments, extracting highlighted text

Post by vee » Fri Jan 18, 2019 1:17 am

Hi Daniel

Thanks for the quick reply - all understood, it’s your product, I’m just offering suggestions.

To answer your question of screen space and where to put stuff, it seems to me you have plenty of natural space available within exactly the same natural workflow as you already have.

You would need a subject drop-down list and a tag drop-down list. You already have drop-down for fill-color, opacity and blend mode in the right-side 'Highlight Properties' pane - just do the same for 'subject' and add in a 'tag' field, also with a drop-down list. Plenty of free space available there.

In the 'view-panes' drop-down menu add a 'tag pane' option. The tag pane then appears in the left side pane and it's display/search-options above. Exactly the same principle as for Comments, Thumbnails, Bookmarks etc.

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Re: Summarzing comments, extracting highlighted text

Post by TrackerSupp-Daniel » Fri Jan 18, 2019 5:14 pm

Thank you for understanding,

By all means, we appreciate the feedback and suggestions, brainstorming always helps to fine tune ideas like this. I was merely giving examples of the kinds of questions we need to ask ourselves for any request, but those are excellent answers. As usual, the final verdict is on the dev team, and they are very busy with our other new features and fixes at the moment. I have already made a note of this entire thread (and francois') for them, so whenever this comes back for further consideration, they will be able to look over both sides.

Kind regards,
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Re: Summarzing comments, extracting highlighted text

Post by francois maurice » Fri Jan 18, 2019 7:23 pm

Hi vee,

I'm not sur to understand the difference you make between 'subject' and 'tags'. From my point of view they are synonyms. As you saw ASuLiB extracts 'subjects', 'tags', 'keywords' from the Subject properties of each Annotation.

And, yes, the Subject properties is the right place to add a drop-down list with 'subjects' already in use.

I agree that most reference softwares try to do to much or features are badly implemented. For example, extracting annotations from Zotero is sluggish and messy. In fact, as you said, we are not interested to export Annotations and print it, we need a clickable subject-tag system which permits to open PDF at the right place, as it is already possible with the Search Pane.

Already with ASuLiB, I don't almost print anymore. I work with three screens. One screen for the Search Pane, one for the Editor and one for the Word document I'm working on. I need all this to do serious research and writing without printing anything.

François

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Re: Summarzing comments, extracting highlighted text

Post by vee » Wed Jan 23, 2019 9:55 am

Hi Francois

Why subject and tags? The thinking was in reference to Xchange Editor and because a global list of subject keywords would get big. The idea is to add tag functionality to Xchange Editor with a way to group things by subject so that, for instance, only tags associated with a particular subject appear in the drop down menu for assignment to an annotation... or, in 'summarize comments' mode (and/or display in left-pane mode), annotations could be grouped by subject and/or tag, page etc. Very similar to how the Editor works now, just with added tag functionality.
ASuLiB does what we need done now - ie, works with the only field we have available which is the subject field. If at a later date Xchange Editor were to implement a subject + tag system so as to be able to search, display, summarize by subject/tag/page etc then ASuLiB would remain a vital piece of the picture, being a batch process to produce a global list of subjects within all pdf documents, allowing us to go to the right document in the first place - after which we can then use tag functionality within the Editor to search, display, summarize.

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Re: Summarzing comments, extracting highlighted text

Post by Paul - Tracker Supp » Wed Jan 23, 2019 6:23 pm

Hi Vee, Francois et al,

what a very interesting discussion. I must confess to also having a need for tags in annotation subjects, as a way of organizing comments. I discussed this with the lead developer, in particular I was hoping the new PDF 2.0 specs might already have a mechanism for this and while the new spec does allow for XML defined meta-data that could be used to create tags, it is not a solution we are keen to use. This is mostly because every annotation that had a tag would add a minimum 2KB to the document size even for a single character in the tag, so this approach could quickly inflate file sizes. This is because an XML 'container' (for want of a better word) to define the tag would need to be added to each 'tagged' annotation.

We can see the value however in having tags in annotations to facilitate more control when grouping comments. Currently one can group annotations (I am using 'annotations' and 'comments' synonymously here) in the comment pane by subject, the issue, as discussed in this thread, is that the entire subject is used to 'define' the groups.

So what we have decided to do (not a super high priority at this point but in the works) is add an option to the Editor to "Allow/Enable tags in annotation subjects." RT#4632: Feature Request :: Editor :: Tags in Annotation Subjects which is in essence: "...when active this feature would take a "delimiting character" from the user and use that to split annotation subjects into discrete 'tags' which could then be used to group annotations in both the 'Comments Pane' as well as the 'Summarize Comments' feature."

I am not sure how it would/should work with respect to searching, we'll cross that bridge when we get to it. In the meanwhile there is ASuLiB which I will personally be using for my own research at home.

Note that if/when done, because this feature is outside of the PDF specification it would only be available to PDF-XChange users, others would just see a compliant PDF with semi-colons in the annotation subjects.

Great work Francios!
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Re: Summarzing comments, extracting highlighted text

Post by vee » Thu Jan 24, 2019 12:55 am

Nice response, Paul. Looking forward to the implementation!



Just in passing, would you know of a way to link directly to a particular annotation from outside the Editor? I know little of these technical matters but just tried something that works in one of the reference managers, using command line syntax
"<Program Path>" "<File Path>" <Highlight id>

for instance:
"C:\Program Files\Tracker Software\PDF Editor\PDFXEdit.exe" "C:\Users\blabla\document.pdf" 56b6ccbe-4fa7-4eeb-a7b8175cef53b

opens the correct pdf but alas, doesn't go to the highlight id (name).


That would be a fine feature to have - a right-click option to create a link to the annotation and copy it to the clipboard.

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Re: Summarzing comments, extracting highlighted text

Post by francois maurice » Thu Jan 24, 2019 11:18 am

What a good news !

From Paul:
Currently one can group annotations (I am using 'annotations' and 'comments' synonymously here) in the comment pane by subject, the issue, as discussed in this thread, is that the entire subject is used to 'define' the groups.
That's right, this is the issue.

From Paul:
In the meanwhile there is ASuLiB which I will personally be using for my own research at home.
Nice to hear that. We are now at least three to use ASuliB: vee, Paul and me. :D

From Paul:
Note that if/when done, because this feature is outside of the PDF specification it would only be available to PDF-XChange users, others would just see a compliant PDF with semi-colons in the annotation subjects.
This is the whole idea for Tracker to implement such a feature: give a competitive advantage to Editor. The PDF file remains fully compliant with standards but Editor offers functionality, possibly a Tag Pane in the future, to group annotiations more flexibly. This is the whole idea for Tracker to implement such a feature: give a competitive advantage to Editor. The PDF file remains fully compliant with standards but Editor offers functionality, possibly a Tag Pane in the future, to group annotiations more flexibly. The nerve of war on the competitive market of PDF editors is the interface and the features available. But you already know that. :)

From standish-001:
According to one bit of research, around 300,000 students graduated in 2015 with degrees in Liberal Arts. Most of those had to highlight LONG PDF documents and...the highlights and comments are, for all intents and purposes, unmanageable. Seems like you've got a huge market.
I think it's more than 300 00 and not just students. It is potentially millions of users who need such a feature. I am thinking in particular of academic market and research, but also any user who uses annotations, whether in business, government or any other organization. The Tag system proposed here is an example of a need that we have without knowing it. Which also means that once one becomes aware that such a feature exists, one can be tempted to use it even if before one did not see any utility.

From vee:
Why subject and tags? The thinking was in reference to Xchange Editor and because a global list of subject keywords would get big.
All subjects are in the Subject Property Field of each annotion and the tags are in a mini-database. From here, here is a way to implement the Tag Pane (and to do without ASuLiB). As I said, Tag Pane is a specialized search system. When you click on a tag, in the background, it is Editor's search system that searches for the subjects in the annations. Let's look at the picture below from Search Pane:

Image

The Find Text With option has three fields: all of these words, any of these words and none of these words (logical AND, OR and NOT). The Options Button allows you to restrict the search to Comments / Annotations. For Tag Pane, when we click on a tag, it's the same search engine that does a search. By default, the Tag Pane can be on "all of these words" mode. But there might be an option, when you right-click on a tag, to choose "AND this tag", "OR this tag" and "NOT this tag".

We can then do without ASuLiB since all topics are listed as tags and as the Tag Pane can search in complete folders, as is already the case with the Search Pane.

Again, we can see Tag Pane as a specialized Search Pane.

François

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