comment / description to appear in according column

Very simple question. There’s a comments column available, however, the comments I add in info panel – spotlight comments don’t appear there. Same goes for description. Not on info panel, clicking on the line in the column (as in mac finder) doesn’t work. DEVONTHINK PEOPLE: THIS IS SHITTY WORK. THOSE THINGS NEED BE TOTALLY INTUITIVE. INSTEAD THEY’RE NOWHERE TO BE FOUND, NOT EVEN IN THE MANUAL. That’s really the worst kind of interface design you can have. Fix that, right now.

And someone witty enough please tell me a way to get this working. Please. Thanks.

Umm… this is not helpful.

Comments and Spotlight Comments are two different things. If you look closely, you will see there are two entries for column headers.

No, it’s not. I apologise, but you may understand a moment of, well, frustration here. And you’re right, I did overlook the spotlight comment field. However, I’d really like to use comment and description. Could you tell me how to?


See the Metadata section in Help or the manual. “Comment” and “Description” are metadata associated with PDF or RTF documents. For only those types of document, Tools > Show Properties can be used to modify the metadata.

This topic is covered in the documentation, and a search of the forum will find discussions going back years of metadata, their meaning, how DEVONthink works with metadata, and how they are edited. Searching forums for prior discussion on a question is always a useful practice. (Before screaming at the members, which is unpleasant for all.)

No worries.

Comment and description are not universally available fields. Spotlight comments are. If you open Tools > Show Properties… and hover over the fields, you will see they apply to rich text and/or PDFs.

Yes, of course. I did that actually, but with little patience I found no remark that specified those metadata to be restricted to pdf and rtf. My impatience was due to my finding the requested function so basic a feature that, as I said (or screamed), I thought it need be intuitive, not keep me busy searching and reading.
And I still do. I really need them and never realised they are restricted the way they are. This way now I’m forced to use Bridge, which I really don’t like for many other reasons. So—extending this feature to all file type would be my urgent request and my ardent suggestion at this point.

Still, thanks for your patience and explanation.

If you’re trying to use DEVONthink as a digital asset management app, it’s not built for that. The fields we have supported are standard fields. If you are looking for EXIF / IPTC support (caption, description, etc.), that is outside the scope of the application.

ok, I’ll take your word for it. I realise EXIF / IPTC support is image specific and I’m not at all looking for that. I’m looking to attach descriptions and comments (tags are good, but don’t do the whole job) to images and other files. And as your application is made for journalists, e.g., and as some of them will, as I do right now, have need for a built-in layer of descriptions and comments for images, I thought that might be almost natural a feature.
But of course, I don’t know how the application is coded, so really I don’t know. It’s something I need, that’s basically it.

Yeah - people use Spotlight Comments for that.

There are some incredibly patient and polite folk on this forum who helped you against all odds.

Custom fields have been debated here a lot. Sometimes I really would like to have them. But then, nothing but Spotlight and tags is really universal in the sense that it can be exported from DT. There is a danger in locking yourself into a specific app system with custom information. In that sense I appreciate that DT keeps things general. If I understand correctly, the underlying principle here is to only use fields that apply to all possible file types.

Reminds me: I have never checked how universal Spotlight comments are in terms of switching operating systems. I wonder if there is a tool to transport them to some Windows equivalent.

An example of a custom field that I often would like to have: A date field that I populate with a “content creation date” that has nothing to do with the filesystem or DT. Those fields (added, created, modified) have their uses but fall short. The creation date used by DT is that of the file creation, not e.g. the date when a scanned original photo was taken. But again, the question arises: If I ever export from DT, where would this info go (other than some “append to spotlight comment” option?

One thing that is difficult about spotlight comments: They are hard to read. In column view, naturally only the shortest comment can be fully displayed, especially in 3 pane view. In icon view, there is a little bubble next to the title to indicate that there is a comment. In my view it could be useful to have an icon view where each icon has below the title, and then a box with the full spotlight comment. In that way one could scroll through a collection and browsing comments, while also seeing a representation of the document.
UPDATE: I just realized that there is the “show details” option in icon view. At first it appeared that the spotlight comment is not part of those “details”, but then I realized that you have to use the icon zoom slider on the upper left and move it to the right, then the spotlight comments will show up. Excellent!

The Show Info panel can be adjusted to accommodate a large amount of text in Spotlight Comment. Just remember, however, that stuffing a lot of text into Spotlight Comments causes it to be stored in the extended attributes of the file in the file system. Not bad, but other applications that also read Spotlight Comments might not be as flexible in displaying them.

Personally, I prefer short comments and then use annotation documents linked to the target file for longer text and comments.

For custom metadata, I prefer Tinderbox. A document copied from DEVONthink and pasted to Tinderbox contains a link back to the DEVONthink document in the URL attribute of the pasted note in Tinderbox. From there you can add an endless number of custom metadata / attributes to that note.

Yes, that’s how I’ve done it so far. But I sometimes prefer to look at a whole range of documents at the same time. So I think I’ll use the “icons with details” view at least every now and then.


And here an idea for a “IMPLEMENT IT NOW” :smiling_imp: discussion: From the days of OS X.1, I found the floating info panels odd. I felt somewhat validated, when more and more programs (Pages, Keynote) moved to side panels. In particular I like how one can arrange information in Pathfinder.
In that spirit, I would like a 3-pane view in wide-screen mode, where the lower bit of the preview pane is used to show some vital info: tags, spotlight comments, dates. In that way, I could make the DT window full width. Right now, when I do that, and I start using the info panel, it covers up part of the other information and I have to go back and forth.

Thanks for all your replies and patience. Let me apologise once more for my unpleasant demeanour. (Still hoping that maybe if one day we’ll see descriptions and comments added to all file types.)

Thanks again.

We can always hope :laughing:

No worries.

Note that what you’re asking for was part of the reasoning behind tagging and OpenMeta in specific. (I worked for Ironic Software and was there from the concept through birth and growth of OpenMeta.) It, like all Tagging methods, is not perfect and unfortunately not a cross-platform standard (though we did try to engage with someone Windows people to support it).

It’s not enough to create a solution if (1) the solution locks the User into having to use a particular piece of software (yes, even ours), and (2) it isn’t adopted for more widespread use.

Fortunately, this does mean there is always opportunity to innovate and work on something. :smiley: