Note taking in the era of PDFs has clearly become an issue for most people working with electronic documents on a daily basis. As far as I know most reference managers now implement some form of a note taking/highlighting feature. However, we may not necessarily be happy with those built-in capabilities as they may not be well aligned with our own flavour of note taking. In this constant and incremental “apps vs. user needs” matching exercise it is nice to see new offerings with a slightly different approach.
Just very recently, I came across this light-weight app aptly called Highlights. For those people keen on using Markdown in their writing process, this may be of interest as the distinctive feature of this little program is that it formats notes in Markdown.
When you open a PDF, Highlights asks whether to fetch metadata for the document. In my example below, it successfully grabbed the metadata and automatically added to the notes, which are displayed in the right pane. Highlights also supports integration with Papers (currently only Papers and nothing else) by adding a link (in blue) to the document in the Papers library. (The right pane is in ‘View’ mode, showing rendered Markdown text.)
Highlighted text is extracted on the fly and is automatically added to your notes in Markdown syntax. (One cool feature I noticed during my test run is that hyphenated words are re-joined, unlike in Sente for instance.) The picture below shows the notes pane switched to ‘Edit’ mode revealing the Markdown syntax. Once you are done with note taking, the notes can be exported to HTML, PDF, Markdown, TextBundle formats or passed on to Mail, Evernote, DevonThink or Ulysses.
I must admit I have not subjected Highlights to thorough testing (I am reasonably happy with my current apps), I just wanted to raise a little bit of awareness. If you are currently in the market for a PDF reader with note taking capabilities, you might want to give Highlights a try, it has a free trial version: http://highlightsapp.net/faq/.