How to Look Up References in a PDF on Mac

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A lot of journal articles contain citations without web links. Highlights can lookup these citations and fetch the correct metadata right from the PDF.

1. Highlight, underline or strikethrough the citation in the PDF:

A citation underlined in purple

2. Click the annotation to bring up the annotation popover:

Annotation popover for underlined text

3. Select the Citation Lookup tool:

Highlights will lookup the citation and, if available, fetch the metadata:

Once complete, the marked up text in your notes will be replaced by a citation at the bottom of your notes:

Note with fetched citation link

Clicking the link will take you to the journals webpage for the article.

If you have previously opened a PDF with the cited metadata, there will also be a Highlights link to open the PDF directly:

Note with fetched citation link and Highlights link to open PDF directly

Furthermore, if you enable integration with Papers or Bookends you get links to that can take you to the PDFs in your reference manager.

4. (Optional) Copy the citation as BibTeX using Smart Copy:

Annotation popover with copy button highlighted

5. (Optional) Paste the full reference in your manuscript:

BibTeX reference pasted in a text editor