Is it easier/better to convert .htm software documentation to .md or save PDFs and link manually?

What I’m trying to do

If, for example, I have documentation like the .htm help system downloaded locally for 3ds Max, and I want to network the pages similarly to the help but within Obsidian, what is the best way to go about this? I have looked into pandoc and experimented with linking to embedded pdf pages. Unfortunately, I have not had too much luck getting a system I can comment on the documentation in the context and pointing to the specific parts.

I know I probably should have done a little more legwork, but if anyone can point me in the right direction, it would be much appreciated.

Not sure this helps at all, but here is a picture of a page of the documentation with the page source shown below.

Thanks very much.

1 Like

You can try with pandoc, using a command like:

pandoc -f html -t markdown file.htm > file.md

Alternatively you can copy the content from the browser and convert it to MD using a site like Paste to Markdown

If you do the latter frequently this Chrome extension may be useful:

2 Likes

@andrezgz : Thanks so much. Without even looking into how to use it, Markdownload is already working for me. And the fact that it works with gifs was a very pleasant surprise. I may have to look into how to get it to download the attachment images right with the file, but even the default behavior for me, with it having the images as external links to the files on on my drive, definitely does the trick.

Very cool!

1 Like

Someone else suggested that addon… I installed it, but in the options, it is obsessed with downloading all files to the system Downloads folder, which, if I can’t change, I guess it’s better than nothing, but… surely there is a way to change the folder into which the .md files are downloaded to?

Thank you.

Edit:
Ok, sorry, as I was writing this and taking screenshots, I thought, what if I change the default download location within the browser, and see if it will change within the addon.

I tried this, changed the folder to download to in Firefox settings, then went back to the addons settings and, no joy, Markdownload settings still pointing to Downloads: http://postimg.cc/fkGYZGsR

I forget what I was doing, but later I tried downloading a HTML file again, and when I used Everything to find out where that .md file had downloaded to, lo-and-behold, it had downloaded to the folder I wanted to download to, even though the Markdownload settings appears to still show downloading to the Downloads folder (but not so, it actually downloads to whatever folder you’ve set in Firefox).

Solved!

2 Likes

Just as a reminder: The only notable problem I found using the MarkDownload browser plugin for many months now is that is uses the browser’s built-in “Reader View”. So what “Reader View” decides you shouldn’t see, MarkDownload won’t be able to convert to Markdown!

To be fair, “reader view” is usually quite good at its job, but especially short texts on web sites, like poems or short software instructions and samples, tend to get suppressed (not enough to “read”) and other stuff on the page loaded instead.

A good example is from one of my sites:

  • Take a text that’s a little longer — perfect clipping, only the real story is taken.
  • Take a shorter writing — in this case it takes the text (sometimes doesn’t) but also all the “legalese” from the footer, presumably to “fill it up”.

But if you’re aware of the browser reading view’s shortcomings (usually detectable, at least on Firefox, by the absence of the “reader view” icon in the address bar), MarkDownload can be a real good tool.

2 Likes

Thank you @N1755L and @Moonbase59 for the insight. Very helpful.

Much appreciated. It’s a good day!

2 Likes

I noticed that already Matthias, but I don’t mind, because virtually every time the website content that I wanted to save to Obsidian is picked up and placed in the .md file… I do check the contents of the note in Obsidian (I have two beautiful 27" screens, so I’ll have Obsidian note on the right screen, and the original .html on my main screen) and if there is a wee chunk or two of text on the original that I want to save, I’ll just copy/paste it into my Obsidian note. Most of the time I don’t even need to.

Thanks for the MarkDownload suggestion, it’s not as good as if I could just drag the browser tab to Obsidian and the contents would automatically get copied to the Obsidian note… but, it’s close enough, just about 3 extra clicks.

OMG! I just finished typing that last sentence and I thought… wait… why don’t I try that, click and drag a tab from my browser to an open Obsidian note on the second screen… and you know what???

It doesn’t work, BUT… if I highlight any text, and then drag that highlight onto the open Obsidian note, it copies that text into that note… no need to Ctrl-C/Ctrl-V. Now that is handy! And fast! Whoohoo!

Maybe someone might want to try that, someone who doesn’t have Markdownload installed… I wonder if it would work? Even if you don’t have 2 screens, you could have the left part of the screen as a browser window, and the other half of the screen a window with an open Obsidian note… and see if you highlighted text and dragged it to the Obsidian note, if it would automatically paste the text to the note.

Ah, likely that won’t work, no… I just tried highlighting text here and dragging it to an open notepad.exe window, and it didn’t work, so looks like highlighting text and dragging it to an Obsidian note is a feature of Markdownload.

So now you know a shortcut to using Markdownload. :slight_smile: Much faster!

Use a symlinked folder inside of Downloads that actually lives in your vault.

3 Likes

This topic was automatically closed 24 hours after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.