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Pages inside a Document

Posted: 2019-05-24 08:25:18
by levelbest
I have an idea that I want to try, but I can't see a way to make it happen with Nisus. I am posting this to understand if it is possible and if it is, how to do it. Or, perhaps this is more of a page layout situation?

I want to use a Nisus document to assemble several files and leave space to comment on any file I want to. That is, I have a large number of documents, mostly PDF files, that I am trying to collect and to show a narrative as to why each document is important. Think of this as building a legal argument and showing all the corroborating information.

When I drag a PDF onto a Nisus document it breaks down into text formatting, and not very well. I wanted to show each document and leave space above or below to make comments as to why I am including the file.

Perhaps I am looking at this the wrong way around? It is important that the PDF documents are not translated into text and out of their original format as each PDF is a piece of evidence in my case and needs to be shown as it is.

Can Nisus do this? Or, am I barking up the wrong tree here?


Re: Pages inside a Document

Posted: 2019-05-24 23:45:06
by phspaelti
Do you want to be able to see inside the pdf while viewing the Nisus document?

Otherwise you could just put links to the pdfs into the file. Clicking on them will open them in the pdf viewer (e.g. Preview).

If you really need the first option you could put images of pdf pages into the Nisus document (the images could still be links to the original pdfs). But I am assuming that your pdfs are multi-page documents, and that you want to be able to page through them. In that case you would need to use something else, not Nisus.

Re: Pages inside a Document

Posted: 2019-05-25 01:01:32
by adryan
G’day, levelbest et al

As you have discovered, drag-and-drop does not work, at least when you drag a PDF document directly into the usual workspace of a Nisus Writer document.

However, if you first insert a Text Box (eg, from the Shapes Palette) into your Nisus Writer document, it is possible to drag and drop a PDF document into the Text Box and get what you want, albeit with a few caveats:–.

(1) Dragging a PDF file from the Finder does not work in this situation either.
(2) You need to open the PDF document in Preview, View Thumbnails, and then drag and drop a Thumbnail into the Text Box of the Nisus Writer document.
(3) You can only do this for one Thumbnail at a time: you need to insert a new Text Box each time you add a Thumbnail.

Another approach would be to employ screenshots or exported image files.

Of course, this is tedious if you wish to insert every page of multiple lengthy PDF documents into a Nisus Writer document. It may be that showing only the first page of each PDF document would be sufficient for your purpose. If you need everything, it may be possible to use a combination of Nisus Macros and AppleScript to automate the process.


Re: Pages inside a Document

Posted: 2019-05-25 07:59:31
by Þorvarður
Trying to ram multiple PDFs into one Nisus document isn't a good idea. If it were possible, it would just make your Nisus document unnecessarily bloated. No need to duplicate the PDFs after you have already created direct links to them in Nisus.

I would create a link to the document (PDF) in Nisus, press the Return key and then type a glossary abbreviation to insert a pre-configured list of elements I consider important for the project.

An example:
1. Select the PDF "Richard Dawkins – The God delusion" in the Finder and press Command+ c
2. Paste into Nisus. This will give you a clickable link to the original file.
3. Hit Return and type a glossary abbreviation to get, for example:

•Author: …

•Subject: …

•Why this book is important: …

4. Enter all the information you find relevant
5. You can also paste a screenshot of the book's TOC.

Let's now see how this works in detail:
1) A simple click on the link will open the original PDF in your default PDF reader.
2) With a right-click or control-click you can show the linked file in Finder
1.png (47.23 KiB) Viewed 4600 times

At this stage, in order to be able to see the content of the PDF, make sure the "Show Preview" in Finder is enabled! To do that, open some folder in Finder and pull down the View menu… View –> "Show Preview"
22.jpg (258.86 KiB) Viewed 4600 times

Once "Show Preview" is enabled, you can quickly skim through the whole PDF by using one of the following three methods:
1. Place the cursor in the right part of the window and scroll with the mouse wheel (very fast) or
2. click on the arrows. The arrows fade away when the insertion point is outside the right window-part.
3. Swipe up or down if you have a trackpad.

In the meantime, the Nisus document itself could look something like this:
3.png (136.21 KiB) Viewed 4600 times
As you can see on the screenshot, the names of the PDFs are shown in blue and underlined. If you don't like that, you can easily change it by clicking after the name (but be still on the same line), then go to the Style Sheet View. The Hyperlink character style will be already selected there for you to make any formatting changes you may wish to perform.

Re: Pages inside a Document

Posted: 2019-05-25 13:00:27
by levelbest
Thanks all for replying to this. The solution is to use Swift Publisher 5, a simple page layout program. This is not about links. This is about showing the areas on several documents that I wish to contest. Therefore I have to layout a page using the page I am referencing, show boxes and errors and numbers to reference what I am pointing out, then then provide a follow on narrative using the reference numbers as to the errors I am pointing out.

Unless Nisus can do this using its layout or graphics section, Nisus really isn't the right tool for this job. I think I have everything that I need now using Swift to do this. I love using Nisus but, this isn't a use for Nisus in the way I was trying to use it. Thanks again for the help.

Re: Pages inside a Document

Posted: 2019-05-27 15:38:17
by Þorvarður
Sorry if I misunderstood your idea.
This is about showing the areas on several documents that I wish to contest. Therefore I have to layout a page using the page I am referencing, show boxes and errors and numbers to reference what I am pointing out, then then provide a follow on narrative using the reference numbers as to the errors I am pointing out.
The description you give here above still doesn't give me a clear picture of how you want the whole thing to look like.

I'm sure I'm not the only one here who would also like to "build a legal argument and show all the corroborating information." Please therefore be so kind and share with us your solution and upload a screenshot.

If the page in Swift Publisher is not finished yet, then just upload a meaningful handwritten drawing with all the relevant elements.


Re: Pages inside a Document

Posted: 2019-05-27 17:07:46
by levelbest
I have redacted my personal details in the example page. This is a letter from USAFE JAG (legal) saying that my unit (including myself) could not be found. This was when I was stationed on a remote USAF unit after a very serious pedestrian accident. I recently discovered my lost German hospital records. Now I am fighting the VA and the USAF to correct my military records and to recognize the injuries that I suffered in service. This piece of evidence is meant to show that the letter was sent, the date that it was received, who it was for (myself), and who sent the letter (USAFE JAG). I am also putting a short narrative on a separate sheet next to each piece of evidence to state clearly why I am including it. The reason for this piece of evidence is to show that I had no access to USAF legal services to correct my records at that time (among other problems).

The actual letter is underneath the two lines of text I have put in for each piece of evidence. I wanted to keep it exactly the same as the actual letter.

This is what I have done for each piece of evidence. Just because something seems obvious to me does not mean that the reader or arbiter of the case has the capacity to think in the abstract. My case involves evidence from German records, Army records, USAF records, and VA records. My case is very complex. My aim is to not make it complicated. Therefore, I am laying this out as clearly as I can, piece by piece.

I have it highlighted in the online example. My B&W printer ignores the fill and just shows a black line as the outline of each highlighted area box.

PS: This is a relatively straight forward example that I was comfortable sharing on a public forum. Many examples involve a page containing a great deal of medical record information that I will want to show only a line or two or a paragraph that illustrates my point in using it as evidence. In such cases, I place a slight grey transparency over the previous and later text so that the section I am highlighting will be clear and will stand out. Then I do as before, put a highlight box around the text with a number to reference it.

Re: Pages inside a Document

Posted: 2019-05-28 15:57:19
by Þorvarður

Re: Pages inside a Document

Posted: 2019-05-28 17:48:54
by levelbest
I made it simple. I didn’t plan on searching within the document. The document is something I am creating to state my case. It is the document that I am going to tag and search. Although it is a fair question if spotlight will recognize the inserted PDFs in the document. I just took a blank page in Swift, put in the header text boxes, and filled in my name and contact information. Then I dragged in the PDF, and it displayed as you see it in the uploaded example. I just put a box around the letter so that you can now tell what part of the page is the letter. It is displayed as it looks as a PDF so it is not breaking it apart as it would if I had just dragged a PDF into Nisus.

After doing this I created some transparent yellow boxes to highlight the parts of the document I am calling attention to. Then I numbered the highlighted areas so that I can reference them as I also put in text to explain what this pice of evidence is for.

That was why I wanted to do this in Nisus. In Nisus I know how to use styles and create a Table of Contents, use page numbering, etc. I was hoping to be able to insert this into a Nisus document as a graphic and then to continue writing.

On a side note, I just discovered that the very nice Affinity Photo program, which also makes Affinity Design, now as a free beta to download of their upcoming DTP program, Affinity Publisher. This is going to do a much better job than Swift could do. Although Swift seems to be allowing me to grind out this result and others that are acceptable so far.

With Affinity publisher I should be able to use my Nisus documents as it allows for external document links. But, it is still in beta and I am still to new to it to really understand if this is possible. Affinity Publisher is more of a high end DTP program - albeit with one not all of the pieces in place yet as it is still in beta. Ideally in such a program I could drag in a multi page PDF and create a spread of the document that automatically adds pages so that the PDF is spread out for as many pages as it needs to appear in the document.

I would say this is still a work in progress but, hopefully you get the idea?

Re: Pages inside a Document

Posted: 2019-05-29 20:07:40
by Þorvarður
OK, I got it. Less complicated than I thought. You obviously just dragged a PDF into the foreground of SP, not into the background as I first assumed, and what you got is an image of the *first* page, which may be OK if the PDF has only one page. If you have a PDF with many pages, it seems you need to drag each page separately into SP.

Doesn't this all boil down to just editing PDFs? It's more convenient to do this in PDFpenPro or PDF Expert. Both are good professional annotation tools. If the project is as complex as you say and you have a large number of documents to work on, DEVONthink Pro Office would probably be my first choice for this kind of job. It allows you to read and edit the PDFs, tag them, build smart groups based on your own criteria, link documents, write your own comments, and much more.

Good luck.

Re: Pages inside a Document

Posted: 2019-05-31 03:13:36
by levelbest
Doesn't this all boil down to just editing PDFs? It's more convenient to do this in PDFpenPro or PDF Expert. Both are good professional annotation tools.
Yes I suppose I could do it that way too. I am more familiar with using an app to add to a new page than I am with editing the document directly. I am also loathe to start changing an existing PDF in case I accidentally edit the only copy I have. More phobic than a practical concern perhaps as all you need to do is make certain you have backed up your drive first but, it's happened at least once in the past, and, once you do something like that it is hard to forget.

As Nisus will take graphics I am also considering creating this and outputting it as a PNG to place in a Nisus document. The problem with that, is that a PNG is going to be degraded quite a bit in the clarity of the type. At the end of the day I was going to include the originals in the traditional way at the end of my Nisus document as attachments and reference them accordingly. But also use the method I am describing to show exactly why I am using each piece of evidence, highlighting key points in each page where this is important. Then allow the reader to view the untouched document in the attachment as their reference.

As I was saying, this is still a work in progress.

As far as Devon goes, I have never been comfortable in that app. I have had a pro license for some years now and I doubt I will update it ever again as I still don't make much use of it. I know some love DTP and I think that’s great, it is just not for me.

I use HoudahSpot quite a lot. I have saved searches and I use tags in HoudahSpot. Some like a database approach to organization of their files and use apps like DTP or NeoFinder. NeoFinder BTW is not very good with text and with PDFs as its preview is very small and won't blow up full screen very well. At least DTP does this well. With Houdahspot and its excellent search characteristics that are far beyond what Spotlight can do, and with its ability to build a menu of saved searches (templates) I have created a search directory of most anything that I want, files specific to a project, PDFs created in the last day, week, etc., movies by genre on an external drive - although that drive has to be mounted first or the search will bear no results as HS is not a database.

Any more on this and I would need to start a new thread so, I had better stop there.

ADDED: After experimenting I now understand that, when I open a PDF page in Acorn, my graphics program, I was using the default setting of 72 dpi. This was giving me the less than sharp text I did not like. I now see that I can also choose 300 dpi, 600 dpi, when I open a PDF using Acorn. Doing this makes it possible to create the results I want to see in Acorn and then exporting it as a PNG file. This will allow me to insert the graphic in Nisus and then put a caption underneath it with a style. Doing it this way will allow me to add it to my TOC. At the end I will still include the original as an attachment for reference. Problem solved.