The pre-reading stage. How to apply Photo Reading in Linux

The pre-reading stage. Using PhotoReading on Linux

The pre-reading stage is the one in which we make contact with the learning material. This is what we might call a "first date" in which we fwe get an idea of ​​its content and decide if we go ahead with the application of the method of Photoreading.

This is the third in a series of articles; on first we explain the method and in second we describe the preparation.

Parts of the pre-reading stage

The objective of this stage is to eFind patterns that allow us to more easily understand the content of the material. For example, a book on Mathematical Analysis applied to economics can be divided as follows:

  • By parts: Mathematical theory, application to economics and exercises.
  • By operation: Whole numbers, functions, sequences. And for each of them a theory part, an application part and exercises
  • By topic: Supply and demand, breakeven point. And for each of them the mathematical theory, the use of it and exercises.

In this part of the method we must do 3 things

  • Examine the study material.
  • Find the keywords.
  • Check.

Browse study material

As we said above, what it is about is to find patterns to understand how the study material is organized. For this we must pay attention to the following things:

The index: This allows us to discover how the different themes are linked and what is the hierarchy of each one.

The word index: This is very useful to find the keywords, the ones that appear on the most pages are surely the ones that we should pay attention to.

The layout: Titles, subtitles, paragraphs in bold, text highlighted in boxes, etc.

One of the advantages of using documents in electronic format is that we can eliminate the pages that do not contribute anything. Covers, copyright pages, author ramblings, and data that does not serve our purpose.

If we work with files in PDF format, some programs that we can use are:

OK: It is the document viewer of the KDE project and includes some interesting editing functions such as the ability to copy text and tables, insert sticky notes or mark parts of the text using freehand lines, straight lines, ellipses and rectangles. Okular is in the repository of most distributions, but if you don't use the KDE desktop it is best to install it from the stores. Snap o Flat pack.

PDF Slicer: The sole purpose of this program is to remove the pages that do not interest you. It is available in the store Flat pack.

Master PDF Editor: It is a true Swiss army knife for working with pdf documents, with features similar to Adobe Reader. The bad news is that it is proprietary software, and if you don't buy a license, the resulting document will have a watermark on it. The program allows you to combine files, delete pages, copy various document objects to the clipboard, mark up text and add sticky notes to it. Master PDF Editor available in DEB and RPM formats. There is also an unofficial version in the shop by Flatpak.

Working with images

Another way to delete parts of the document that do not interest us is to convert the pages of the document to images for editing with The Gimp. From the terminal we can do it with a tool called pdftoppm. We install it by doing

sudo apt install poppler-utils (Debian / Ubuntu and derivatives)
sudo dnf install poppler-utils (fedoras)
sudo zypper install poppler-tools (openSUSE)
sudo pacman -S poppler (Arch Linux)

To convert a PDF document into JPG images we do:

pdftoppm -jpg documento_origen.pdf archivo_destino

Instead of –jpg you can use png or ttf. Source_document and destination_file are changed to the document name and file name of your choice

To know more options of the program you can use the command

pdftoppm –help

Once the images are edited you can convert them back into a PDF document using Gscan2PDF. This program is in the repositories of most distributions.

Find the keywords

The pre-reading stage means look through the book and take notes of the important things that we mentioned above. In that quick glance we will notice that there are words that are repeated. They are the keywords. For example, in our book on Mathematical Analysis we find words like functions, sequences, limits, derivatives or integrals.

A good way to detect keywords is underline them as we find them using Okular or Master PDF Edit.


In this stage we reviewed the notes that we were takingEither using the self-adhesive labels or the underlined parts of the text.

In the next article we will deal with the most controversial but fun part of the method; Photoreading.

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