Annotations - simple and obvious thing I should have been doing for years

This is simple. I overlooked it for as long as I’ve been using Devonthink, so I thought I would post here in case this might spark any ideas.

I’ve generally ignored annotations. I use them very sparingly - or at least I have up until now.

Imagine you’re envious of any of several applications that provide links of different types. One app might have links for parents, children, siblings, and jump or cross references.

Parents are covered by group or tag membership. Siblings are other members of the group or tag. Children are a little tougher. You could make a group for a document requiring a child relationship. Put the document there along with a subgroup for the kids. I’ve done that a time or two. It’s not as bad as it sounds.

You can add links in a document, but that can clutter things up - assuming you can add your reference links to the document. That’s not practical for photos, for example.

Today I discovered how nice it works to put links in annotations.

You may want to create your own template for reference annotations, perhaps with a bulleted list for different kinds of links, make sure to include a link to the document itself. If a search finds an annotation, you’ll want an easy way to click back to the document it annotates.

Control-option-command-O is your friend, too. If the annotation pane is open in the Inspector, that will open the annotation in a window, making editing nicer.

I use a Keyboard Maestro macro to create new Markdown files. That gives me an automatic title line in the document with a link to itself. The reason for that is if I open the document in an external editor, I like a way to get back to it in DT.

Once you’ve got links in an annotation, the See Also window becomes more useful because it will find associations by links in annotations. The famously wonderful Graph View script by Benoît Pointet catches the links, too.

Anyway, it’s simple and obvious. Wish I’d noticed a long time ago.


I don’t recall being in that situation. :thinking: :wink:

Can you post a screencap of an example?

Imagine you’re envious of any of several applications that provide links of different types.

I don’t recall being in that situation. :thinking: :wink:

Can you post a screencap of an example?

Sure - but only since you asked. I’m not eager to mention other products.

My corkboard app of choice is Curio. Here’s a screenshot pulled from a project that lives in Devonthink. The project as a whole has to be in Devonthink. It’s too big for Curio.

Note there are links from this image of types Battles in progress, Evidence, and Strategy. Evidence was an existing reference type. I defined Battles in progress and Strategy because I’m a tilt-at-windmills kind of guy.

Fun fact - property appraisals went crazy in my Texas county this year. The home pictured, unoccupied for a decade or so, increased in value (according to the tax people) by 99.26% this year. The lot it’s on is unchanged in value. But that’s neither here nor there.

TheBrain lets the user link other nodes as “jump thoughts” and that suggests to me something that would be cool in Devonthink.

Imagine you’re looking at this Munster house in Devonthink. I could add a tag to it. Then I could add the same tag to the markdown note about the axe murderer, a police report about rescuing a kitten, and whatever else relates to this old haunted house.

In a huge database that could lead to tag clutter. My tax protest database goes back a number of years and contains 24,687 items.

What if every item, group, tag, etc., had an automatic tag something like “this” in Java, a self-referencing and hidden tag? Even better, what if there were as many “this” tags as you needed per item? This/legal, this/undead, whatever.

In other words, not just groups as tags, but documents as tags. No tag clutter, just an automatic local dynamic group for each document that needed one.

When viewing a document, I could see what belongs to its “this” tag and also what other documents’ “this” tags are set.

TheBrain is cool. It was my rod and staff before I discovered Devonthink.

However, you can’t sync via USB device, you can’t copy a Brain file to another machine without exporting to archive and re-importing, and it is very tied to their sync services. It looks nice, the jump links are powerful, but it comes with some usage limitations I don’t want to live with.


Try HOOKMARK from CogSci. It links everything to anything and is quite reliable. Works well with Devonthink.


It sounds like Hookmark is quite useful. I’ve been curious about it for a while.

Are there any special considerations for syncing? For instance, if the path is different on a second machine, does Hookmark have a way to figure out where the file is?

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@LucB is the brain behind the app :slight_smile:

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Here’s a little wild-eyed dreaming.

It would be very cool to have a link to a search without having to create a separate smart group.

Imagine a smart link that, when clicked, does the same thing as clicking on a smart group. The link would contain the search criteria. Editing the link would bring up the same dialog as editing a smart group.

Currently, a document that links to a smart group does not seem to pick up the See Also implications of the results of the search. It would be awesome if See Also treated the results of a smart link search as if they were direct links.

Oh, and while we’re at it, the link from my Chores document to Trash Day isn’t working like it should.

I still have to get up and take out the trash. Just sayin’…


Looks like you’d like Live Queries, in Tana.


You already can create a link to search in DEVONthink. It’s a URL command, e.g., x-devonthink://search?query=name:devonthink. This is covered in the Automation chapter of the built-in Help and manual.


WOW! That is so cool.

If I wanted to search for files containing two strings, TEXAS UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION ACT and 209.001, would this be correct?

[search link](x-devonthink://search?query=content:"TEXAS%20UNEMPLOYMENT%20COMPENSATION%20ACT"%20AND%20"209.001")

I want to find the files that contain both strings.

This seems to work, just curious about use of quotes in the URL.

Look good?

The query needs to be URL encoded, e.g.…

name:"devonthink manual" AND tag:support
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Yes it does. Hookmark links contain path information that is used to heuristically ensure hook://file/ links adapt on different Macs. Eg if the files are in Dropbox or iCloud, the same hook link should normally work. Hookmark also has iCloud syncing.