Link to a page within PDFs?

I am a barrister (commercial litigation lawyer in the UK). I conduct almost all of my trials nowadays paperless from my MBP and iPad Pro. My court setup is usually to have the trial bundle/s in PDF on one side of the screen with my notes (Bear or Drafts) on the other. In advance, I will usually OCR and compile Table of Content in PdfPenPro (hate it can’t wait for PDF Expert to get OCR), then use preview during the case itself.

My question for the hive mind…is there any way I can insert a link in my notes to take me to a specific page in the pdf (normally 500+pages long). I am able to create a link to open the PDF file but not a specific page within it. URL callbacks or something? This would take my workflow (and cross examination in particular) to the next level.

Any ideas gratefully received.


I have a solution!

You can download Zotero (Reference Management Software) and download Zotfile plugin (which works to extract notes in the pdf documents) You can check a great a video series on Zotero in this channel of Nicholas Cifuentes.

After installation, you upload your pdf in Zotero, then you open the document in your favorite PDF viewer, mine is PDF Expert (Love it), then you can make annotations and highlight specific paragraphs in the document, you save it every time you make a change of course, and then Zotfile allows to extract those annotations


After the extraction, you obtain a simple text file note attached to your reference,

This “note” contains the highlighted text, as well as your annotations, PLUS a LINK with the reference of the exact page localization. This link will take you to the exact page on your pdf viewer.


Maybe not a perfect solution, but I hope it helps.

PS. Not sure how it works with other pdf viewers.


Wow, thank you for the comprehensive reply. I will dig into Zotero and see if it can work for me.

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DEVONthink To Go allows easy saving of links to a specific page in a PDF. Once you save the first link, it’s possible just to update the page number at the end of the URL as well.

The link is of the form



I did not realize I could do that with DEVONthink to Go and I have been using it for several years. I just tested it and it works flawlessly. Thanks for passing this along!

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Have a look at this ingenious post by Dan Scheffler where he’s implemented a little script app that publishes its own custom URL scheme. His URLs combine the citekey for the publication’s PDF (e.g. mccabe94) with the desired page number (e.g. 57). So his URLs are short & concise and would look e.g. like sk://mccabe94#57. He can then include these URLs in a Markdown link. When clicked, the script app uses BibDesk (where he stores his PDFs) to resolve the citekey to a PDF path, and then tells Skim to open the PDF at this path at the given page number. It’s also a beautiful example of the power of scripting & automation on the Mac.

Of course, Dan’s script app could be modified to use any other scriptable app (e.g., DEVONthink, Papers 3 or Bookends 13.2 and above).

Personally I’m also very much interested in this topic, since I’m also trying to develop an app ( that is meant to ease such a workflow. It’s kind of a cross between a note taking and PDF highlighting app where, while highlighting your PDF, the app extracts each highlight annotation as a self-standing plaintext/MultiMarkdown note. The note stays connected to the highlight annotation in the PDF. I.e., selecting a note will jump to its quoted text in the PDF, and clicking a highlight annotation in the PDF will select its note. You can then link notes together (e.g. via drag & drop) thus creating a network of inter-linked notes.

The app isn’t available yet, but the latest status report in the forums also contains a short screencast which shows the app in action.


You can also create links within the PDF pages using PDF Expert itself (requires the in-app purchase), but I found no way to assign those links within a PDF Annotation. You can also build a TOC/outline as needed. From an external file, it works as others have outlined above.

Also, regarding OCR, this is available in the wonderful and reasonably priced Readdle app “Scanner Pro” that could be an alternative to PDF Pen.

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This post in now a few years old. But just in case you’re still in need: the new app Hook does precisely this thing.

A fellow member of the Bar.

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