michael-mccracken.net

A Weblog

Announcing Skim: Stop Printing - Start Skimming.

| Comments

If you spend a lot of time reading articles and research papers that you get in PDF form, then you might be interested in the latest app from the folks who brought you BibDesk. If you already use BibDesk, then you certainly want to take a look.

Even though we keep our research papers stored on disk as PDF, all too often we print them out to read and write notes on. There’s something missing in the experience of reading papers on a computer, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

Announcing Skim. Skim is a PDF reading and note-taking app for Mac OS X that is designed to make reading research papers and manuals better. Just like in Preview, you can search, scan, and zoom through PDFs, but you also get some custom features for your workflow:

  • Snapshots: if there’s a graph on page two and the description continues to page three, just draw a box around the graph with the command key down and a snapshot window pops up with the graph, and you can keep on reading with the graph in view. For more fun, minimize that snapshot window – they stick around in their own dock in the document window.

  • Tooltips: If a PDF has links, such as for citation references or indexes and section headings, you can click on them as usual to go to the destination, but there’s more – hover the mouse over those links and Skim will show you a tooltip with the target of the link. No more losing your place to peek at a citation! For more fun, command-click on a link to pop up a snapshot window showing the link’s destination.

  • Presentation and Full-screen Modes: Full-screen reading is handy. So is showing a PDF as a presentation. But they’re a little different. For instance, you might not want to show the table of contents in a presentation, but it’s nice to see it when you’re just reading by yourself. So Full-screen and Presentation are separate modes in Skim.

There’s plenty more – download it and take a look, and join the mailing list to discuss it. There’s even a full help book in the first public beta release!

Many thanks to everyone who has worked on this app, and especially to Christiaan Hofman, who moved the app from a prototype to something really useful faster than I would have thought possible.

Comments