Notes exported as to import??

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by jasonfodor, Mar 23, 2018.

  1. jasonfodor macrumors newbie

    Oct 8, 2012
    so i had to reboot from time machine (2 weeks ago) and went toe export notes as pdf...but you can't import pdf notes? wtf?

    why would apple export as pdf if you can't import as pdf?

    what should i do?
  2. Toutou macrumors 6502a


    Jan 6, 2015
    Prague, Czech Republic
    PDF is a write-only format, it's only readable by a human. Like the electronic equivalent of print.
    Parsing PDF (importing it back into an app) is extremely inconvenient and most of the time yields subpar results.

    There are services that can extract the text for you, like, but not the formatting.
  3. Longkeg macrumors regular

    Jul 18, 2014
    S. Florida
    Have you tried copying and pasting? Some PDFs will let you highlight and copy text to be pasted into other documents. It depends on how the PDF has been formatted. If you can do that you can just paste the contents into a blank note.
  4. jamietshaw macrumors member

    Sep 25, 2009
    As already said, getting stuff out of a PDF is never easy and if Apple had decided to offer an “import” function, it would never take a PDF as an input.

    They probably assume that if your notes are stored in your iCloud you will always have them wherever you go, so why would you ever need to export them and reimport them somewhere else?

    Might be too late for your needs now, but those notes are probably stored somewhere on your system in some sort of database format. Had you taken a copy of that file you could probably have restored them.
  5. MacBH928 macrumors 68030


    May 17, 2008
    There are apps out there that will let you edit PDF files, how does that work?
  6. vkd macrumors 6502a


    Sep 10, 2012
    Just open the pdf in Preview and you can block select stuff, copy and paste it into a new document. Then just sort out the layout and save it as you like. This way you have the text treated as text and not an image of some text which is non-editable.
  7. Toutou macrumors 6502a


    Jan 6, 2015
    Prague, Czech Republic
    It works by being a total pain to program.
    Trust me, I wrote a simple PDF parser.

    A PDF loses all the semantics (meaning) of the underlying document. Inside, the PDF literally says things like:
    there is a sequence "the" on coordinates X,Y
    there is a sequence "b" on coordinates A, B
    there is a sequence "opportuni" on coordinates U, I
    so, for example, to be sure that the PDF contains a sentence "There is a nice dog." you have to sort all sequences on the page by their height coordinate into batches. You get a batch of ["there" "nice" "dog" "is" "a" "."] of sequences that are on the same or roughly the same height coordinate. That would translate into "the same line", right?
    Then you sort them by the other coordinate, from left to right. Your thought-to-be-a-line batch looks like ["There" "is" "a" "nice" "dog" "."], but you still don't know for sure whether it's the same literal line inside the same paragraph. Imagine if the page was the two-column type where you first read the left column top-down, then the right column. So you have to do another check.
    Get every sequence and from its length and the properties of the font compute its width, then add that to the left-right coordinate. What you get is the end of the sequence.
    If the very next sequence after this one starts a single space (+-) to the right, they must be from the same paragraph, but there is a space. If it starts immediately, well, it probably is even the same word. If the next sequence starts way further right, it must be the two-column type or maybe something else and good luck parsing that.
    You get the idea, right?

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