Skip to content

Intended Features for Reader and Script

Intended Interactions for PDFs in Reader and Author described as the demo in March–using this as a very useful deadline to get Reader and Author up to speed for the Future of Text book. The expectation of the presentation is to show the following script in normal speed (with some typing sped up) with a voice over explanation (in italic, live).


My passion is for richly interactive text and therefore I host the annual Future of Text Symposium, the 10th annual which will be on the 20th of November in Southampton and I have edited the book ‘The Future of Text’. Today is about software however. I have three pieces of software, all for macOS: Author, a word processor, Reader, a PDF viewer and Liquid, a text utility which works pretty much anywhere. I’d like to primarily show you functionality based on Views and Connections. I will start with Reader and then move onto Author and use Liquid a little in both. I’ll open the book The Future of Text and I’ll go into full screen with the ESC key which is very useful since I can toggle in and out this way.

• Title on Screen: [Views in Reader]

Instant Find {major addition as part of view folding}

When I open a document I can just type what I would like to see, for example ‘hypertext’ and instantly I perform a search. You will notice that the search term is on top of the screen and any headings appear on top of any sentences which contain the text, in this case Dave Millard. I click on the sentence he wrote to move to that part of the document.

  • Type text (with no other interactions) to see all the occurrences of that text automatically (active Find view with the search term shown at the top of the screen, as normal Find but stays editable for the user to keep typing). This view will include the headings above them so that I can see who wrote the text, since the names of the authors are headings in this book. Click on an occurrence to jump to that page
  • Cmd-F Find {major addition as part of view folding}

    Here I can select text, such as ‘interactive’ and do cmd-f to see all the occurrences of that word–in other words perform the same search but instead of typing just select text and do the keyboard shortcut.

  • Select other text on the page and cmd-f to see the same Find view as above. Click on an occurrence to jump to it

Fold {major addition}

I can also pinch on my trackpad (might not be possible, I might have to use a keyboard shortcut) (or cmd-) to fold the document to only see headings, pinching further in or out to determine what I see. Any highlighted text will show up in this view BTW, when I am only folded in a little: I just select text and ‘h’ to highlight and fold and there it is. This view-folding is a core part of the Reader–contracting and expanding based on what I need to see. It also powers Author, as I will show you in a moment.

  • Fold into outline and jump to other author.
  • Highlight text and fold into outline again to show that the highlighted text appears in outline view (when fully open to show all levels only). This max-open view should also show any citations in the format (author, year)

• Title on Screen: [Connections in Reader]


Citations and Hyperlinks are what Doug Engelbart would call explicit links. With Liquid we can also exploit implicit links–such as a word and its entry in a dictionary. It’s very fast and simple: Select text, issue a custom keyboard shortcut–you choose–and very quickly getting what you want, such as a search or reference lookup. You can either click through the menu or use the keyboard shortcuts for a more liquid experience. For example, ‘r’ for references and then ‘w’ for wikipedia.

  • Look up text using Liquid (
  • etymology first, then

  • wikipedia when explaining keyboard use, then a few others in rapid succession to illustrate the speed of interaction, maybe ending on a conversion
  • )

    I can also use Liquid to lift heavy blocks of text to read in a more spacious environment.

  • Select a block of text and go focus mode in Liquid.

Citation Check {major addition}

Citations are crucial but they can be a chore to create and actually not very useful if they don’t simply point to something you already know. In Reader you can click on a citation to get a full overview of the document and you can choose to download it if you like. This is in collaboration with our friends at Scholarcy who analyse academic documents and make this magic possible.

  • Check citations in the document using Scholarcy. Interact if we are able to add interactive additions.
  • Copy As Citation

    Let’s also make a new citation by copying this piece of text from the PDF and switch over to Author…

  • Copy text from the document then switch to Author


• Title on Screen: [Connections in Author]


In Author I can simply paste the text and it will be pasted as a full citation. Just look at what happens when I click on it: I have all the relevant information and I can choose to have it appear in a different way of I prefer. The way this works is that the PDF had what I call ‘visual-meta’ attached. Let’s go back to Reader and have a look. It is basically the BibTeX export format, plus a little more information, digitally printed on the last page of the document, much the same as you have information about the printer and so on at the start of a book. When the user copies text from a document with visual-meta the visual-meta is appended to the copy along with the copied text so that when it’s pasted the word processor knows that this is a citation.

  • Paste as citation from previous step. Show citation dialog. Then go back to Reader and show the visual-meta page and explain this was appended to the copy so that Author knew it was a citation and had all the citation information, then return to Author
  • • Title on Screen: [Editing]


    There are many more general functions in Author, I’ll just mention two: First Cuttings. I can cut and cut and cut again, then cmd-shift-v to view the Cuttings dialog which has stored everything I have cut and not immediately pasted or copied.

  • Write text, then cut and cut again, then paste using Cuttings

Liquid Translate & Convert

Liquid can do more in Author since we can write in Author, so for example, I can take this text and translate it and just cmd-c, without specifying a selection since Author knows what I’d like to copy, I can copy the translated text and paste it into Author very quickly.

  • Select text and invoke Liquid, translate and paste into document
  • Select number (temperature) and invoke Liquid, convert and paste into document

    • Title on Screen: [Views in Author]

    Fold & Edit {major addition}

    Author features the same folding options as Reader, with the addition of being able to re-organize the document in the outline view. Any text I highlight will show up in the folded view, making it easy to get to what I consider important.

  • Fold into outline, then re-organize. Unfold.
  • Highlight text, then fold again. Any citations and highlighted text will appear in this view.

Magic Margins

I can also add notes to the margin like this. When the text in the notes is found in the body of the document the notes turn bold. I can then double click on the notes to do a search, same as doing cmd-f as we saw earlier. All the sentences which contain the text will appear so that I can see where I used the text.

  • Add notes to margin. Write longer document. Double click on note to see all occurrences in the document if note is bold. If not then note inserts at the end of the document or cursor position, if possible (note: this means we keep current behaviour in magic margins but change to not have automatic bold in dynamic view)
  • Dynamic View {significant update to add citations and cmd-d to copy into dv}

    The Dynamic View gives me a freeform thinking space to get to grips with what I am authoring. To enter the dynamic view click on the bottom of the screen or do cmd-d, then type or paste anything, move it around, connect it by option-dragging onto other text, make it bold, italic or all caps and so on. (Toggle back to word processing view). If I select text and then do cmd-d that text is copied across, making it quick and easy to add important text. (Toggle again). I can also copy citations, from the main document or from Reader and paste them straight in as well, giving me the option of a freeform literature review. To use the Dynamic View in the document I simply take a screenshot.

  • Select text and cmd-d to take that text into dynamic view. Double click to add more nodes and connections as well as bolding ad italicising text etc.
  • Toggle back to word processing view and copy a citation, return to Dynamic View and paste, then back to word processing view

• Title on Screen: [Export from Author]

Export as WordPress

Finally, it’s time to complete the document and that can be done by either posting to WordPress or exporting to Microsoft Word or PDF.

  • Export to WordPress with tags. (Uploaded quickly and without real commentary)
  • Export as PDF

    When exporting to PDF the document can be set to format the citations in the document and it can automatically create and append a References section at the end of the document. Furthermore, a visual-meta page can also be appended, to make the reading experience of the document more interactive, as shown above.

  • Export to PDF With References and visual-meta. Mention other export options. Open resulting document in Reader to show visual-meta.

End with slide or document showing link to where there will be a video of this demo posted.

Thank you for your time.

Published inAuthorDynamic ViewReaderScholarly CopyUpdatesVisual-Meta

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.