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Before I go down the path of the solution I am thinking of, I thought I should solicit feedback/suggestions as others must have come across this situation before.


I have hundreds of separate PDF files (all generated by LaTeX) over various levels of hierarchy that are cross linked via \href. I would like to come up with a system that I can give a hierarchical directory structure containing the PDF files and collect feedback from reviewers on the content of the files.


  • Assume that reviewers do NOT have s/w installed to process the source .tex files.
  • Need to know that every file was actually looked at.
  • Manage feedback from several users.
  • A Unix (MacOS) only solution is acceptable but would prefer one that could also work on Windows.


  • I proposed a similar process for creating/managing numerous external files in Automating error message references, so this solution for collecting feedback would be usable in a situation such as that.

Solution being Considered:

  • As part of the build process that generates the PDFs, I would copy the PDFs into a separate directory tree, and also create a parallel directory structure that contains empty .txt (not .tex) files with the same file name as the corresponding .pdf file.

    Reason for a separate directory for the feedback is so that I just need to get the feedback directory from the reviewers. The links in the PDFs are all relative so as long as the hierarchy is maintained the links will still work.

  • Provide a click able link in each file (REVIEW button) that will open the corresponding .txt with Edit on the Mac, and perhaps WordPad on a PC. Reviewers enter their comments and Save the file.

    On the Mac I would touch the file before opening it to ensure that the time stamp was updated, and the user would only be required to close the file. Am assuming that there is something similar on Windows. This would handle the case of where the file was reviewed but no comments were necessary.

  • Once I get the review directories back, I iterate through my .tex file hierarchy and produce an output file that contains a link to the source .tex file and a link to each reviewer's .txt file. I would color code this so that I could distinguish between the cases of:

    1. File not reviewed: The time stamp of .txt file has not changed since the build time.
    2. File approved (i.e, was looked at but no comments made on it): The time stamp of the .txt file has changed, but the file is empty.
    3. Comments were made on this file: The time stamp of the .txt file has changed, and the file is not empty.

Would be interested in any alternate suggestions, or how to improve this process.

share|improve this question

closed as off topic by Tom Bombadil, clemens, Martin Schröder, Paul Gaborit, egreg Sep 15 '12 at 22:56

Questions on TeX - LaTeX Stack Exchange are expected to relate to TeX, LaTeX or related typesetting systems within the scope defined by the community. Consider editing the question or leaving comments for improvement if you believe the question can be reworded to fit within the scope. Read more about reopening questions here.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Use Moodle. Treat each file as a short answer quiz question. Moodle will collect all the answers (feedback) for each question (pdf file) and link them with the individual students (reviewers). Date stamps etc. automatically. Essentially using Moodle as a CVS for reviewer comments. It is also possible to write you own processing routines for the data or to format it convenient for LateX later. – R. Schumacher Jul 10 '12 at 3:01

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