Changing a Title

Done a forum search and can’t find the answer. I want to retitle a PDF. However, all of the titles of my documents are grey. I cannot slow double left click to change this field. In the info panel the title is listed in the “additional information” section, but it is not editable. There is no option when right clicking either.


How do I change a title?

Why are all the titles grey. Everything is grey actually (modified, kind, size etc.), except for the file names.

Is there a way to add a field in the info panel to edit a file title?


My first guess would be, that you do not have appropriate rights to manipulate the PDF files or maybe the storage is read only. Were the files indexed or were they copied into the database ?

Depending on how the PDF was created (the software used, the owner, etc.) the title property and other properties in Tools > Show Properties can be uneditable in DEVONthink. If you have rights to modify the document, you should be able to change the properties in Acrobat Pro or PDF Pen Pro. Preview is not very useful for this purpose.

I should have mentioned, the file was originally scanned into paperless, and titled in paperless.

I am evaluating DEVONthink and Eaglefiler side by side. I have imported a copy of the paperless library into both. So they are not sharing the same files.

I am able to edit the title in Eaglefiler using the before mentioned techniques ie slow double left click of the title, using the info pane, right clicking etc. In DEVONthink, everything is grey except the file name, which I can change.

If Eaglefiler has permission to edit the title, why wouldn’t DEVONthink?

If you are evaluating DEVONthink Pro Office, you can add metadata including Title, Subject, Keywords & c as the image sent from a scanner is subjected to OCR. That option is provided by checking “Enter metadata after text recognition” in Preferences > OCR. Such metadata added to PDFs is searchable in DEVONthink.

My workflow involves leaving that option unchecked, as I don’t want to be bothered with the queue stopping, waiting for me to enter the title of a document during a typical session of scanning a stack of documents. Instead, I Name the document after capturing the searchable PDF into DEVONthink. Often, there’s a selectable text string that would be appropriate for all or part of the document Name. Select it, then press Control-Command-I to make the string the Name; saves typing time.

Only a few document filetypes I have in my databases include editable Document Properties metadata fields like those of PDFs. For that reason, I almost never bother to input data to the Document Properties fields of PDFs. It’s not uncommon that a document that would be a very useful one in a search result could not be found by a search of that metadata, simply because the metadata isn’t enterable for its filetype. I prefer search approaches that are universal, covering any filetype.

Rather than Title, I can search all document filetypes by Name, Content, URL, and/or Comment (Spotlight Comments) and these choices cover all filetypes, from PDFs to JPEGs. I can also include attributes including Label and/or Flag, if I wish. Using the Advanced button I can include other search filters including tags, dates (including ranges), Kind, instance, word count & c. Given these, I can set up very powerful search procedures that don’t discriminate against filetypes. That’s important to me.

True, I haven’t answered your question as to whether or not DEVONthink might add the feature of editing all Document Fields of PDFs. I’m not a developer. My suspicion is, that feature isn’t directly available in Apple’s PDFKit code in OS X, which is used by DEVONthink–and so would involve additional coding. However, as my databases contain filetypes for which the Document Properties fields are not editable, I would avoid time spent to enter data into those fields in any case. That’s just me, of course. :slight_smile:

In comparing DEVONthink to other document/information management databases, you may want to consider scalability. While document mangers typically require additional computer memory as they grow in size, DEVONthink scales up very well compared to others on Macs. The database in which I do most of my work holds some 30,000 documents and more than 40,000,000 total words (comparable to the Encyclopedia Britannica in word count). It runs at full speed on my MacBook Pro.

Another strong point of DEVONthink is inclusion of artificial intelligence assistants such as Classify, See Also and See Selected Text. As my databases have grown over the years, I’ve found them to be extremely useful.

Hi. I would recommend starting a support ticket. Do it quickly, though, as the staff will be on break soon.

I have tons of PDFs and have no problems changing the titles on any of them. I wonder which version of DEVONthink you are running. If you are running DEVONthink Pro Office, it should not be an issue. Eaglefiler is a great product, but I think you’ll find DEVONthink to be a more powerful and flexible long-term option. It really depends on how much data you are working with and how much control you want to have over it.

At any rate, PDF re-naming should not be holding you back. If you send me a PDF (maybe message me a link to it in Dropbox), I’ll take a look on my system.

It appears the OP is writing about changing the “Title” property in Tools > Show Properties, rather than the Name. (The OP said they could change the name, in a reply above.)

As mentioned, DEVONthink’s implementation with PDFKit does not work as effectively for PDF metadata property editing as some other products. It’s not a bug. It is a shortcoming.

Thanks for catching that korm. Indeed, my dialogue window is a little wonky. I could type the title in at first, but now nothing. The cursor doesn’t show up. Sometimes characters appear. Sometimes they don’t. This does seem like a bug. I’ve somehow managed to put a keyword “ccc” onto a PDF, but now I can’t get rid of it. This is obviously not something I have done very much. I’m not terribly keen on messing around with metadata. With tens of thousands of PDFs, I suppose I could automate the process (Hazel, maybe), but I don’t know what I would get out of it for my particular workflow.

I think that korm’s observation is correct, that DEVONthink’s PDF environment for entering Title, Author, Subject & c metadata is a “shortcoming” compared to some other applications such as PDFPenPro or Adobe Acrobat Pro.

And so is Preview’s environment for entering such metadata a shortcoming, compared to some other applications such as PDFPenPro or Adobe Acrobat Pro.

Here’s the rub. DEVONthink’s focus is to assist the user to work with document collections that often contain a variety of filetypes, many of them proprietary. But the focus of development is on database features that facilitate document capture, organization, indexing, searching, tagging and similar activities of the information worker. The focus of development is not on developing viewing/editing applications within the DEVONthink environment for a great many kinds of documents, each of which might compete with applications created by other developers–that would be an impossible task and would increase the cost of DEVONthink enormously. Instead, to index and display documents of various filetypes DEVONthink relies on code in the operating system that is available for some, and on Spotlight plugins for others to display them using Quick Look.

So, for PDFs, DEVONthink uses Apple’s PDFKit in OS X, which is also the foundation of Preview’s code (although Preview does add some features). Apple provides a number of annotation and editing tools for PDFs in OS X that are available to DEVONthink. But as for the Document Properties metadata fields, I think it’s fair to say that here, OS X has shortcomings.

Criss Gruenberg, DEVONtechnologies’ CTO, is a genius programmer. I have no doubt that he could revise the PDF code to make it do marvelous things not yet envisioned by Adobe. But that would take him away from concentration on DEVONthink and other applications he develops. I, for one, don’t want him to do that. :slight_smile:

DEVONthink allows the user to open and edit documents under other applications, external to the DEVONthink environment. I have several applications that I’ve bought that allow me to do things with PDFs that I cannot do in DEVONthink or Preview. Acrobat Pro, PDFPenPro and PDF Shrink, for example. I bought PDFPenPro primarily because I can use its form fields to type in data, as on IRS tax forms. That application would also do a good job for the Document Properties metadata fields in PDFs (and is much cheaper than Acrobat Pro).

At least for me, today, the dialogue comes up, but I cannot reliably modify the fields. Sometimes characters appear and sometimes they don’t. As I indicated above, I have little interest in seeing this capability come to DT, and I’ll happily use something else to mess around with PDF metadata if I find it necessary. I’d rather see limited manpower applied to other database stuff along the lines that Bill suggested for the focus of development.

I think that the dialogue should not appear if it doesn’t work. If Christian is going to fiddle around with this, I’d say get rid of the dialogue entirely, or display the metadata with no possibility of actually modifying the content.

By the way, for the OP, I’d suggest considering the possibility of using beth EF and DT. The beauty of DT (from my perspective) is that it plays friendly with everyone else. You can just index stuff and use it as another way to interact with data. Or, you can dive deep into it and live almost exclusively inside of it. This flexibility and power is what makes it appealing to me, and as much as I found EF an interesting app, I didn’t feel like it was expansive enough for my needs.

Tools > Show/Hide Properties is a modeless dialog similar to Tools > Show Info. In some cases the properties can be edited. It is not just for PDF. Documents that can have metadata “properties” displayed in the dialog include .doc, .docx, .xls, .xlsx, .ppt, .pptx, .numbers, .keynote, .pages, .rtf, .rtfd. The list goes on. In very few of these document types can DEVONthink change the metadata shown in Properties. Is that a failure, and should the dialog be eliminated? No on both counts – Properties is not broken, it’s just a helpful feature. Metadata is best managed by the application that created the file, in my opinion. By intention, DEVONthink has limited or no features for editing the document types mentioned above – it is not an editor, it is an information manager.

I disagree. Something is broken.

For one of my PDFs (as I mentioned above), it originally let me start to modify stuff, but there was no cursor, and then it stopped letting me modify stuff. I now have a keyword “ccc” (entered while I was testing) that I can no longer modify. In other words, we can sometimes modify the properties of a PDF, but not all the time. Who knows why? As I don’t use the feature, I am not affected, but if a dialog pops up and only kind of allows you to enter stuff, and kind of doesn’t, that seems like a problem.

If it did behave as you said, and did not let us edit the properties at all, I’d be fine with that. However, that isn’t the case right now.

Thanks for the many replies. I am indeed using Office Pro.

I may not be wrapping my head around your arguments that this feature is not necessary or is counter to what DEVONthink is about. I’m not sure what you use it for, but for me I would like to use it to scan all of the paperwork that makes it into my home office. Examples of this would be things like:
1)Medical records
2)Medical Bills
4)My personal military files ie. DD214/retirement documents, enlistment contract, commissioning contract, awards, old pay stubs, and OERs.
5)My son’s school records

In the past I have not used OCR for these as I did not think it important. I did not feel I needed to be able to find words within my DD214 for example. I just need my DD214. I did not need to find words within an EOB, I just needed the EOB.

I can do this simply by searching for the title, and narrow it down by adding tags to the files.
With Paperless I would do this, and would be able to add a dollar amount. I see these showing up as keywords in DEVONthink. With that I could find what I needed.

If I was still doing research. If I still had mountains of studies to wade through, I would have used OCR.

But right now, I get something in the mail, I scan it using a ScanSnap S1500M, change the title, add a few tags and call it a day.

If I need my sons latest OT report, I just search OT, with tag of my sons name, look at the one with the latest date and there it is.

Perhaps I am adding steps that are not necessary. Perhaps I would get the same results making everything searchable. Maybe I should just rename the file name instead of the title.
It may make things easier if I ever have to migrate. As it is now, my old computer took a dump on me, I tried opening a backup on a new computer, and it says it can’t read the file. Mariner has been slow to help. I’m told they never seen my error, and in the past 2 weeks I’ve had 2 suggestions of fixing it. Neither have worked.

Lucky for me, even though my library was supposedly encrypted, I can still see all of my files in finder. I’m not sure how that is supposed to be considered encrypted, but I’m glad it is not. Now I have about 6 years of the before mentioned documents, all with file names that have random letters and numbers, and a date, in a crazy tree of folders.

But issues aside, regardless of whether I’m making more work for myself, it seems to me that overlooking being able to edit metadata of a PDF seems strange to me. It’s like not being able to create/edit groups in iOS contacts, and then never fixing it.

As for using both, I can’t really afford that. I still may not use DEVONthink because of the high price tag. I wouldn’t be able to tack another $50 to that.

Not sure. Set me straight!

I’d suggest the “normal” usage of DEVONthink is to use Name to identify documents and not Title. I’m guessing from the description that when you’ve been scanning documents you keep the Name as the string that ScanSnap Manager assigns, and putting the plain-lanaguage idenfiying information into the Title. You might want to consider revising your technique. (See Bill DeVille’s post, above.)

For now, forgetting why DEVONthink does or does not let you edit metadata, and whether it should or should not (red herring) – I have a script (below) that will inspect a document, PDF or not and prompt you for a new Name for the document based on the Title. If there is no Title, then you’ll be asked to change the name.

	korm 20121010
	utility to set name to [metadata] title
	internal //20141220
	set theMetadata to {}
	set theTitle to ""
	tell application id "DNtp"
		if the kind of the content record is in {"PDF", "PDF+Text"} then
			set theMetadata to the meta data of the content record
			set theTitle to the kMDItemTitle of theMetadata
			if theTitle is not "" then
				set newName to display name editor "Renane?" default answer theTitle info "Change hame and press OK"
				set the name of content record to newName
				display dialog "No title in the metadata"
			end if
			display dialog "This script is for PDFs only.  Please choose a PDF and try again."
		end if
	end tell
end try

Perhaps you’re right. I am leaving it up to the scanner at the moment. I suppose there is no reason why I shouldn’t just rename the file name. I may have 50 EOB files but by just putting the date on the end they would all be unique…

Looking more closely it appears that any time I updated the Title in Paperless, it changed the file name to: Title-Date Scanned.

One thing that I’d like to understand better is whether DEVONthink updates the files OSX tags. A past response to this question sounded like it would only update the tags if I were to use an Export option to export the files.

This concerns me as if a similar situation was to occur where I was to abandon ship, without using an Export function, then I would have to go through everything again to re-add the tags.

As far fetched as it may be, it’s the situation I’m in now. Paperless is supposed to work on Yosemite. It doesn’t work for me. They cannot reproduce my issue. So for me, Paperless doesn’t work. Same thing could happen with DEVONthink.

I believe EagleFiler updates OSX tags whenever tags are updated on EagleFiler. If it was to crap out on me some day, I would have less work switching to something else.

Think I’ve answered my own question on that one. On the left side of the finder window, if I click on “all tags,” all of the tags I’ve added to EF are there. If I get info on a file I’ve tagged in EF the tags are listed with the info.

Doing the same in DVt does not net the same result.

I posted the script, above. I wrote it just for a small internal job I had – there’s no error checking and it’s pretty mindless. If you have 50GB of documents to rename, forget this script - it is too manual.

Items created in DEVONthink and then tagged, or items imported and tagged sometime after the import, do not have their tags written to Yosemite tags until the document is exported. Overhead processing reasons, I believe. If you are really concerned about your tags, then don’t import the documents. Index them. Or, as you said, buy something else that you’re comfortable with.

Thanks form

I’ve played around a bit with indexing. It appears that the Yosemite tags are imported into DVt. Adding one of those tags to an indexed file will add the Yosemite tag. I’m assuming if I created any tags in DVt that they would not. I’ll read up more on indexing. Not sure what the disadvantage is to doing this.

There are dozens of good thread about indexing on the forum, so if you read up and do some experimenting your needs can probably be met.