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Organize PDF files in iTunes Apps
Drag any PDF file into your iTunes Library window, or into a playlist; you'll see that it gets added to the library or playlist. All the fields in iTunes are empty, except for the song name (which is the filename without the .pdf extension), but you can enter information in the others.

For example, I just added a CD insert for a live moe. show to the playlist for the music. I added "moe." as the artist, and added the name of the album so it shows up with the rest of the music. iTunes won't try to play it, nor will it copy the PDF file to your iPod when you sync. But if you ever want to read those liner notes or view the insert, just double-click the file entry in your iTunes library.

I discuss the possible ramifications of this feature in this article on my site...
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Organize PDF files in iTunes | 37 comments | Create New Account
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Organize PDF files in iTunes
Authored by: mankoff on Dec 15, '04 10:22:34AM
We're using iTunes to organize, navigate, and select datasets for earth science:

see: http://spacebit.dyndns.org/twiki/bin/view/Comp/DataProcessingWithiTunes

Basically, if you edit the XML database of iTunes, you can get it to operate on anything you want. I'm working on trapping/catching a click on the play button and having it do something other than try to play the file.

-k.

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Organize PDF files in iTunes
Authored by: pavao on Dec 15, '04 10:53:16AM

I don't get the point of this... What's wrong with the Finder and good old folders?



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Organize PDF files in iTunes
Authored by: mankoff on Dec 15, '04 11:20:26AM

Why do you use iTunes for your music? Why don't you just navigate with Finder and folders to your mp3s and then play them?

Anyway, with mp3, each line is a seperate file. With our data, the files exist at the "Artist" level. Each file contains multiple times (Album level), and each time contains many variables (Song level).



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Organize PDF files in iTunes
Authored by: kirkmc on Dec 15, '04 11:43:05AM

Well, as said in the hint, you can easily store the PDFs with playlists - or even create a playlist of PDFs if you want. Nothing wrong with the Finder; in fact, you still have to have the PDFs in folders in the Finder. This is just another way to access them. For PDFs that correspond to music, it is simpler than using the Finder - you can search by artist, album, title, etc.

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Read my blog: Kirkville -- http://www.mcelhearn.com
Musings, Opinion and Miscellanea, on Macs, iPods and more



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Organize PDF files in iTunes
Authored by: sabilrd on Dec 15, '04 11:30:23AM

Where is this XML file located?



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Organize PDF files in iTunes
Authored by: Tom Robinson on Dec 16, '04 01:43:03AM

Not hard to find. ~/Music/iTunes/iTunes Music Library.xml



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Organize PDF files in iTunes
Authored by: valx on Dec 15, '04 11:25:51AM

Great hint and great article! I was keeping my liner notes in the cover art field, but using this tip I don't have to add them to each track on an album . . . definitely a space saver. Thanks.



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Organize PDF files in iTunes
Authored by: DougAdams on Dec 15, '04 12:08:44PM

Neat idea. PDFs as tracks are also accessible by AppleScript. "name" , "size", and "kind" (PDF document) are available, the rest of the tags are either blank or unavailable or missing value. You can add your own tag info, though.

Of course, iTunes commands are ineffective -- can't tell a PDF to "play" or "rewind" -- but it seems when you double click a PDF, it will open in Preview.

Hey, like I always say, iTunes is just a dandy database with an audio player nailed on!



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Organize PDF files in iTunes
Authored by: DougAdams on Dec 15, '04 12:21:48PM

Hey: Smart Playlist selected by kind contains PDF.



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Organize PDF files in iTunes
Authored by: kirkmc on Dec 15, '04 12:37:09PM

Neat indeed! I wonder what else it can do... To your playlists, everyone. :-)

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Read my blog: Kirkville -- http://www.mcelhearn.com
Musings, Opinion and Miscellanea, on Macs, iPods and more



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Organize PDF files in iTunes
Authored by: kirkmc on Dec 15, '04 12:41:16PM

Other interesting tidbits: since iTunes can't "play" a PDF, its play count will always be 0. Its time will always be empty, and its bit rate and sample rate unknown. Last played will also be empty, and BPM as well.

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Read my blog: Kirkville -- http://www.mcelhearn.com
Musings, Opinion and Miscellanea, on Macs, iPods and more



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Organize PDF files in iTunes
Authored by: DougAdams on Dec 15, '04 02:26:14PM
You can get a PDF track's location (filepath as alias) using AppleScript, and therefore manipulate it on your system...move it copy it, etc. Move to iPod?

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Organize PDF files in iTunes
Authored by: gdsimms on Dec 15, '04 02:45:56PM

No playlist sharing of PDFs either. That would be awesome for collaborative sharing of scientific papers grouped into playlists....



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Organize PDF files in iTunes
Authored by: DougAdams on Dec 15, '04 03:29:50PM

I agree. Maybe this is because the PDF usage has not been fully thought out or implemented yet. Would be a bonus on the sharing, tho. But afterall, iTunes is a music database, not a catch-all database :)



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Organize PDF files in iTunes
Authored by: kirkmc on Dec 15, '04 05:21:59PM

Hmm... Your comment made me wonder if you could share PDFs from one copy of iTunes to another across a network. Well, no. Rats!

Kirk

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Read my blog: Kirkville -- http://www.mcelhearn.com
Musings, Opinion and Miscellanea, on Macs, iPods and more



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Organize PDF files in iTunes
Authored by: starwxrwx on Dec 19, '04 10:36:24PM

oh, how good would sharing of pdfs be!!! i'm going to submit to apple feedback right now



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Organize PDF files in iTunes
Authored by: hypert on Dec 15, '04 01:02:06PM

I had heard that if you buy the new U2 album from iTMS that it comes with liner notes. I wondered how they did that, until I read this article. Seems pretty straight-forward! :-)



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Organize PDF files in iTunes
Authored by: dfbills on Dec 15, '04 01:08:08PM

That's wacked.

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-d



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Organize PDF files in iTunes
Authored by: kuginomura on Dec 15, '04 01:19:45PM

this is a really cool hint, especially for academics who have a lot of PDF journal papers. i've put some of my PDFs in itunes and can now see all of my PDFs, make smartlists with whatever criteria i choose, organize by journal, author, keyword, etc. the genre is useful for keywords...excellent hint!



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Organize PDF files in iTunes
Authored by: timrand on Dec 15, '04 01:41:46PM

For your use in storing journal articles and such, why not use iPhoto. Then you can even get a preview of the first page.



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Organize PDF files in iTunes
Authored by: kuginomura on Dec 15, '04 01:55:19PM

i'm going to try this!

also, using itunes (and maybe iphoto) to organize your pdf library automatically makes a backup of the files...this is especially handy on my desktop, where my home documents folder and the itunes library folder are on different hard drives...



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Organize PDF files in iTunes
Authored by: timrand on Dec 15, '04 05:35:08PM

OOPS. I remember doing this in an old version of iPhoto, but it doesn't work with current software.

Sorry for the confusion.



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Organize PDF files in iTunes
Authored by: valx on Dec 15, '04 01:21:50PM
Here's a good article regarding the way Apple using this feature. There's even some speculation that iTunes will be capable of displaying PDFs in the future: http://www.planetpdf.com/creative/article.asp?ContentID=6867&updf

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Organize PDF files in iTunes
Authored by: englabenny on Dec 15, '04 04:45:13PM

I might not use this, but it made me think:

What if Apple does like microsoft, and makes finder not a web browser but a music database? Thinking about it, they're already doing that, with me using iTunes-like searching to search in folders (in 10.3, let's see what .4 brings)



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Organize PDF files in iTunes
Authored by: MacMuse26 on Dec 15, '04 04:59:42PM
Not that anyone asked, but Windows' iTunes supports this as well. Including, as mentioned just before I hit reply, showing up as Kind = 'PDF document' - very useful for smart playlists. What others are realizing and is very likely - the basic file system for a computer is evolving into a "meta data" based environment. Simply put, the file system will work off of "tags" to help you organize and access your files. Yes, just like iTunes and even iPhoto. Longhorn, the "next" OS from M$, was supposed to use a database driven file system at its core - but it was recently shelved. It was likely the same thing as iTunes, files will have many key attributes built in to the OS and will be readily available at the Finder/Explorer level. No doubt in my mind that this will evolve out of the iApps and into the OS in the near future. Windows has some of that built-in to XP already, but it's very slow as it relies on reading each file rather than the iTunes model of storing the attributes in a local database for fast retrieval. And please Apple - keep doing the PDF liner notes for new albums (as an album only purchase no doubt, but I can live with that)

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Organize PDF files in iTunes
Authored by: flangust on Dec 15, '04 07:04:21PM

You know what I am curious about. Since iTunes is just a databse, wouldn't it be nice to be able to organize movies on it as well? I mean I've tried it before and you can import them, and sometimes even hear the audio but it'd be cool to be able to open them from iTunes. Or it'd be even nicer if Apple took the route of Windows Media Player and made iTunes able to play videos. i think that'd be something interesting for Apple to work on.



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PDFs are also QT movies
Authored by: derrickbass on Dec 16, '04 01:07:35AM
I suspect that's the reason iTunes accepts PDFs so readily. It has special handling for MP3 files, but for everything else it just uses Quicktime. So it accepts anything that QT thinks is a movie. As it turns out, QT thinks that PDFs are movies! Although you can't drag a PDF to QT Player's icon, you can open it from the file menu. (Ahhh, of course, we've covered this before, as it turns out: Open PDFs in Quicktime Player for Faster Viewing)

Still, the fact that double clicking opens Preview suggests that they added some specific PDF handling code in there.

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PDFs are also QT movies
Authored by: DougAdams on Dec 16, '04 10:48:42AM

I suspect Bono had something to do with this ;) The PDF "Digital Booklet" available with the U2 box set at iTMS is the first of its type. Brilliant work by the iTunes Guys. Accommodating PDFs is quite a boon with considerable ramifications. Now, get iPod to display PDFs! I also suspect that iTunes as a (limited) movie player is not far off.



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Organize PDF files in iTunes
Authored by: sparkleytone on Dec 16, '04 03:16:06AM

Using PDFKit in Tiger, iTunes should be able to display the contents inside the app with no problems. Think of PDFKit like WebKit for PDF ;)

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o'doyle rules.



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Organize PDF files in iTunes
Authored by: DougAdams on Dec 16, '04 10:08:36AM
Not for nothin', but I wrote an AppleScript, PDF Adder, that let's you use a selected track's Artist and Album tags to likewise tag a chosen PDF when adding to iTunes. This way the PDF will be associated with the particular Artist and Album. Saves a bit of time and work doing the tagging yourself.

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Organize PDF files in iTunes
Authored by: mark hunte on Dec 16, '04 10:36:09PM

Itunes does indeed play the sound of .mov Qt files,

but what I just found out it shows a preview frame in the Now Playing window.

And also shows the same preview in the Selected song view.

This is cool ,

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mh



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Organize PDF files in iTunes
Authored by: mark hunte on Dec 16, '04 10:40:25PM

Sorry forgot to add, it also shows duration

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mh



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Organize PDF files in iTunes
Authored by: serizawa on Dec 17, '04 06:08:53AM

It's interesting, but we already have BibDesk.
http://bibdesk.sourceforge.net



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Organize PDF files in iTunes
Authored by: starwxrwx on Dec 19, '04 10:33:57PM

bibdesk is the most horrible application i have ever used! it mutilates your bibtex file and doesnt even support "month" for journal articles!

i use bibtex in a text editor for all my references (even though i have free access to endnote due to a site-wide license) and just use "find"

its nicer than bibdesk, and i think that says alot.



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Organize PDF files in iTunes
Authored by: bilalb on Dec 20, '04 06:56:50AM

When did you last look at BibDesk? I've just checked, and the current version 0.97 definitely does offer a 'month' entry for articles.



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Organize PDF files in iTunes
Authored by: mark hunte on Dec 17, '04 12:21:12PM

I Like this tip very much. I use pdf's a lot at home instead of printing, I save to pdf.

This tip make for an easy way to store and find them when I need to look them up.

The one thing I have done is create a password protected diskimage.
and save sensitive pdfs into it. Then add them to iTunes (not 'copy to library' is set).
Now when I need to find and access one, I can use iTunes to find the one I need using my comments et. and do apple-I to prompt for the password for the diskimage, which then mounts. then I can look at the pdf if i want to.

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mh



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Sorting PDFs by Publication Date or Download Date
Authored by: alys on Dec 18, '04 04:31:42AM

For a catalogue of research papers you can record the publication date and sort by it. For other PDF documents you can store the date you created the PDF, or the date you downloaded it (so you can track down a PDF that you know you found a couple of months ago). Here's how:

Put the year, month and day in the Year, Disk Number and Track Number fields respectively and sort the playlist by Year (Track and Disk sorting will happen automatically). All PDF files with the same "Artist" will then be sorted by date. (I.e., if the Artist field is left blank, then all PDFs will be sorted by date; if you store the PDF authors in the Artist field, then papers will be sorted first by author then by date.)

It might be possible to create an AppleScript that will cause PDF files to be sorted by Year - Disk Number - Track Number regardless of Artist so that you could see a chronological list of all PDFs even if you use the Artist field to store authors. Anyone?

It might also be possible to use an AppleScript to set the PDF's "Date Added" field to be the publication/download date, which would be even better.

You could also put the date in the Comments field in yyyymmdd format (20041231 for 31st December) and sort by the Comments field (which would always give you a chronological list regardless of Artist), but that would reduce the amount of space left in the comments field for other notes. (Be careful when adding text to the Comments field - if you add too much, it will be truncated when you leave the Info screen, with no warning!)



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