Using Skitch and Papers to Capture Figures and Tables

Few would argue that the most important point of a scholarly manuscript is made in its figures and tables. I am going to share with you how I capture figures while reading scholarly information on my Mac. This workflow uses:SkitchPapersInstall Skitch and make sure, in Skitch Preferences, to enable the “keep Skitch Helper running in background when I quit,” and “Start Skitch Helper when I log in to my computer.”Screen Shot 2016-05-28 at 9.12.13 AMAs I’m reading scholarly literature and come across a table or figure I want to save I do the following. I make the figure as big as possible on my screen. Then, from the Skitch menu in my menubar, I select the Crosshair Snapshot. I then select the figure (and sometimes the caption) trying to balance the white space surrounding the figure.Next, I go to Papers, select the reference in my Papers Library, and then from the Edit Menu:Copy As:Reference.I return to Skitch and double-click at the bottom of the figure then paste the reference text. I then balance the text. The height of the Skitch figure will expand to accomodate the new text.Screen Shot 2016-05-28 at 9.14.40 AMWhen I want to refer to or use the table or figure I view it directly in Skitch or find it in Evernote. Using this method, I can also search for words in the reference (e.g. the author’s name or the title of the manuscript) and sometimes even the words in the figure itself.If I want to use the figure in a presentation or to send it to a colleague or trainee I can export the figure from the Skitch File Menu.Using this method I’ve captured hundreds of figures. I hope this workflow helps you too.

Papers Links

In previous entries I've written about my love of Papers and how I use it for all my grants and scholarly writing.One of the features I use constantly is called Papers Links. This is a brief code (looks like a URL) that links back to a particular manuscript in your personal library. Here is an example:papers3://publication/doi/10.1097/AIA.0b013e3181eace73Papers Links are available in Papers by highlighting the manuscript, then using "Copy As" under the Edit Menu, right clicking on the paper of interest, or using the keys: Shift- Command-L.
Combining Papers Links with Launchbar is nothing short of awesome. I annotate everything I extract from a manuscript with a Papers Link and a Papers Citation. When writing, I can highlight any Papers Link, hit my Shift Key twice to invoke Launchbar Actions (as I discussed in this entry). The double shift copies the highlighted text to Launchbar--the orange tab shows that Launchbar is awaiting an Action Command.Screenshot 2015-12-19 16.54.54I hit Tab Key to bring up the context sensitive menu.Screenshot 2015-12-19 16.55.02I select Papers and hit return. Papers launches directly to the paper of interest.Screenshot 2015-12-19 16.55.25I use Paper Links in all my extracted annotations—it makes it lightning-fast to use a reference when writing, and to be able to dig deeper into the original reference as needed.Screenshot 2015-12-13 16.23.22I also use Papers Links when I copy figures or tables from a manuscript using Skitch / Evernote. The Papers Link allows me to quickly find the manuscript with the embedded media element when writing or preparing presentations.I use Papers Links constantly when writing. I hope you find them helpful too.