PDF Notetaking Workflow with PDFpenPro and Hook

A large part of my daily workflow involves reading and notetaking using PDF files. I use a variety of software to help. Devonthink is my mainstay for storing PDF files. It can link to a PDF page but cannot deep link to a particular location on the page. LiquidText is great to excerpt specific paragraphs or sections but there is no URL Scheme to link a note back to a particular excerpt.

Hook recently released scripts which allow deep linking to a specific paragraph or word within a PDF using PDFpenPro. For me - and I suspect for others who heavily use PDFs including expert consultants, attorneys, and academics - this is a gamechanger.

I need notetaking software to collect and further annotate or curate these deep links. Devonthink, Apple Notes, Osbsidian, or Notion would all work fine, among others - basically any software which has a canvas on which to paste a link. My plan is to master Tinderbox for this purpose since it is infinitely customizable to configure and search a notebook however I wish.

I need an efficient workflow to let me create these links and identify them in my notetaking app so I can distinguish among multiple links to the same document. So I created a set of Keyboard Maestro Macros for this purpose.

The macros are attached; feel free to tweak them and share suggestions. To use them:

(1) Highlight a word or section within your PDFpenPro PDF document

(2) Activate the Copy macro to copy your link to Hook and create a screenshot

(3) Click inside your notetaking app

(4) Activate the Paste macro to insert the screenshot and hyperlink at the location of your choice


Download the macros here:


I do like this. As I said elsewhere I wish PDFPenPro could do queries like “this text in this font/size” so I could drive your automation even more automatically.

(I also note that often our PDFs go through several versions, where the page numbers might alter. It’s worth noting that when I’ve played with Hook and PDFPenPro I’ve observed page number is part of the URI. So is location on the page but that is usually stable for us.)

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Any idea why it is that when I do a Copy/Paste without the macro, Hook resolves the link to display the name of the source file. But when I use the macro, the full hyperlink address is shown instead.

Hook’s built in script for PDFpenPro returns the filename at the moment. quite reasonable to include the selection or at least part of it.

Where in my process does that URL with the name in it get switched for the longer URL?