Observations about Hook with PDFpenPro

I have been working with the new PDFpenPRO integration with Hook in order to determine why it sometimes works and sometimes not. These are my observations:

(1) I do not seem to be able to create two different Hooks for the same document, each linking to a different page in the document. It seems to have one Hook per document in the Hook database and the selected deep link item appears to be part of the Hook database rather than encoded in the link. Is this correct?

(2) I can successfully use Hook to go to a PDFpenPRO deep link if the link is pinned in Hook. However if I take that same PDFpenPRO link and copy it / paste it elsewhere i.e. Notes or Word, then clicking on the link simply finds the underlying PDF file in the Finder but does not open PDFpenPRO and does not go to the associated deep link location.

Are these observations correct?

Yes, only one hook per target document. This is the same as with web pages as targets. We implemented what we consider to be the main use case, which is rapidly getting a deep link. In order to have “manifold deep links” (many hooks between the same pair of documents) would also require a big redesign. The typical context for deep linking is to include the links in documents with some comments. Could be an email, a memo, or a review of a PDF. The Hook window itself would not provide that text content to make the deep links relevant. (It would be a different UI from what Hook has).

Another use case is a task (say in OmniFocus), like:

  • improve Section <link>
  • email John about Paragraph link
  • Section <link> is full of typos !

as you can see: the text makes the deep link meaningful.

We acknowledge that having manifold deep links in Hook window has some uses, but they are not the main uses we have identified (for lawyers, academics, writers)

I’ll create a screencast and blog post to explain.

If the default PDF app is PDFpenPro, then it should open and scroll. The auto-scroll is not instantaneous. Hook calls the PDFpenPro AppleScript function to go deep.

so we’re talking about “deep links” at this point, not deep hooks.

I don’t know if this makes it easier, but I do not need bidirectional manifold deep links. I am rather seeking to be able to enter many bookmarks for the same source PDF document and collect those bookmarks with annotation all in the same notetaking document.

My classic use case would be to read through a large PDF document, identify relevant areas of content within the document, and then copy/paste links back to those specific locations. I would paste those links into Apple Notes and add some text annotation about the links.

Then ideally I could go through the Apple Note at some later time and be able to click on each of the links to take me back to the relevant source page in the PDF.

I think this is a classic use case for academics, law, or medicine for deep PDF links. If you are saying that cannot be done because I can only create one deep link into the PDF, then that is a huge disappointment and I suspect most other users of deep linking will feel the same way.

That said - if it cannot be revised for multiple links, may I suggest that a problem with the current design is that if you create a 2nd deep link to a document that already has a deep link, then the act of creating the 2nd deep link replaces the first one. But there is no alert given. That could lead to some major confusion if notes or communication to a peer wind up referring to the wrong target paragraph.

1 Like

You can create as many deep links and bookmarks as you like. Just one hook. I.e., you can paste hundreds of deep links to the same PDF document anywhere you want, just not in the Hook window.

However, you can use Hook’s search tool to find/see all your deep links/ bookmarks to the same document in the Hook window, just not contextually.

You can navigate them from there too. We could provide an extra command that flips you into that mode.

To show manifold deep hooks contextually would warp the design of the Hook window. (We have to think of all the implications, which are not necessarily evident to those not privy to the product road map.) We do have this on the map, but first things first.

We do plan to let users flip quickly into the search mode related to the current item, so adding the ability to show manifold deep hooks is the way to go in the UI short run. (Hook also has automation, so anyone who is into automation can build tools to see bookmarks. That is a small minority of users, but third party tools integrated with Hook is something that is happening /will increasingly happen .)

In any event, I appreciate the feedback and we will definitely take it all into consideration as we prioritize features.

I am not sure that is correct because I noticed yesterday that when I have several deep bookmarks for the same documents pinned and then I Rename one of them, the name simultaneously changes on all of them.

In any event, Devonthink handles the multiple links (with active hyperlinks) much more gracefully than using the search in Hook. I was hoping this would help for use in situations where I do not have the PDF in Devonthink or prefer a regular PDF viewer. But it would not be practical for an attorney or legal expert etc to go back to the search every time for multiple links in a document.

This feature has so much potential if the multiple hooks could be made usable. But I doubt it will be of much practical use unfortunately as it is now - sorry.

Also you might have missed my late edit in the prior message:

That said - if it cannot be revised for multiple links, may I suggest that a problem with the current design is that if you create a 2nd deep link to a document that already has a deep link, then the act of creating the 2nd deep link replaces the first one. But there is no alert given. That could lead to some major confusion if notes or communication to a peer wind up referring to the wrong target paragraph.

1 Like

Just to clarify - I don’t need the Hook window at all for this purpose. I just want to be able to create active Hyperlinks to multiple destinations in the same PDF. I want to put those Hyperlinks in Apple Notes or similar and jump to the destination page when I click. I don’t need these links to be bidirectional and I don’t need the Hook Window at all to activate the links.


thanks for clarifying. That’s the deep PDF-linking use case Hook is designed to support. If it is not working well to do that , then there is a bug somewhere. If the autoscroll is not working, it’s either a bug with Hook or with PDFpenPro.

We will have a look.

1 Like

Thank you - much appreciated

I think it’s a bug because when I click the link from the “Pinned” section it goes to the PDF and scrolls almost instantaneously. When I try to do it instead from Apple Notes or somewhere else I have pasted it, it does not respond at all.

And there is a bug also because if I create two links to the same document (different pages) and Rename one of them in the pinned section, the name of the second one also changes.

1 Like

I’ll just observe that my use case - external pointers to individual chapters - is the equivalent of more than 1 finger in the book. Probably a dozen or so. (I don’t scale that far myself.) :slight_smile:

For my use case I think I’ll see what the new PDFPenPro AppleScript support gives me, given I know the page number - from some VERY ugly :slight_smile: Python code against the PDF file.

1 Like

Thank you. I had failed to connect the dots that we have a related internal issue raised. It will all be addressed asap (xmas may slow things down a bit). And the scrolling will be faster ( @jacob has kindly sent us an optimization which we will review asap).

Excellent- much appreciated

Merry Xmas

1 Like

The new AppleScript for PDFpenPro integration that I’ve sent to @LucB today should allow for precise scrolling in PDFpen Pro to the position of the selected text or PDFpen imprint when the deep link is initiated. Here’s a quick screencast I’ve just recorded: http://dr.apparentsoft.com/dSLi60


That looks perfect and apparently works with multiple links to the same PDF - thank you


That is a feature, not a bug. The name of a bookmark in Hook is always associated with the entire document. So if you change the name of a bookmark in one place, that change is reflected everywhere. In the future , Hook will support displaying many bookmarks to the same PDF as such. But in this round, the display is more global.

With respect to Copy Link, Hook supports manifold bookmarks to the same PDF document (so you can get multiple links to different parts of the same document.

Apart from any bug fixes, our priority on deep PDF linking front will be to support more PDF readers (as long as they have the requisite API).

But might a user likely want to distinguish among multiple bookmarks to the same document, i.e. “My Book- Chapter 1”, “My Book - Chapter 2”, and “My Book - References” ??


Most definitely.

BTW I tried the AppleScript support in PDFPenPro yesterday. While it can’t inject bookmarks it definitely can enable me to simulate them - as you can turn to a specific page in Applescript, having loaded a PDF.

I don’t know if anyone here can help me pursue conversations with Smile to extend the capabilities of PDFPenPro (and I realise I’m way off topic).

1 Like

the issue referenced is not with respect to Hook. I.e., I don’t think there is a bug in Hook with respect to deep PDF handling (neither in the script or the underlying code). Our script and Jacob’s script have the same effect, but solve the problem in a slightly different way – Jacob’s seems more efficient. We’ll release an update based on it.

We do acknowledge that providing additional support for deep linking in the Hook window would be helpful. Our first priority with respect to deep linking, based partly on requests we have received from customers, will likely be to add support for additional PDF apps rather than expanding the deep linking UI. However we do also plan to expand the deep linking UI. Having said that, the main use case is still pasting deep links outside of Hook in contexts that make them meaningful and significant.

Hi - I see you sent out an email to users today discussing the Deep PDF linking with PDFpenPRO.

At least on my Big Sur computer, it still does not work. I can only create one PDF link per PDF. Has anyone else been able to get it working with mutiple deep links to the same PDF?

I got the impression that was what was on offer - a single link into the PDF. Hence my ‘I’ll simulate bookmarks/hooks (“hookmarks”?) :slight_smile: ) a different way’ response.