Count frequency of phrases in DTPro?


I’m using DT to help code transcripts for my dissertation research project. While there are tools out there for qualitative coding I’d like to see how well DT could replace some of these functions (applying codes, tabulating code frequencies, etc.).

At the moment, I’m trying to tabulate the frequency of certain phrases (codes that I am inserting into an existing text). The concordance function does an excellent job counting word frequencies. It occurred to me that it might be possible to count phrases in documents in DTPro. I’ve searched the DT forums and looked at the manual but I haven’t seen any mention of phrase counting (although there is quite a bit on phrase searching).

Does DT provide any means to tabulate defined phrases? If not, are there any scripts out there that can accomplish this? Also, if you have used DT as a tool to organize qualitative research and have thoughts about this, as a novice researcher, I would be eager to read them.

Best regards,


I use DT for legal processing of documents for lawsuit cases. I could also use this functionality. I wonder if it could be tied to a search table that would contain entered phrases (a simple expansion of the search function)


DEVONthink doesn’t support this at the moment. What could be added is to display the number of occurrences of simple search terms (words/phrases) e.g. in the search window but I don’t know if that would be helpful.

I’m sorry that DT doesn’t support this (presumably the development of such functionality) at the moment. It would be a logical extension of the concordances that DT creates. However, to be really useful, it wouldn’t simply be a phrase frequency-count that would be desirable, but also contexts, “blacklists”, dispersion-counts and so on. And, presumably, those would be tangential to DT’s main purposes.

The only consumer-level desktop software that provides such features as far as I know is Textanz, but that is currently on the Windows platform. There is, however, a note on the Textanz site ( dated April 2010 announcing that a cross-platform, Java-based version is “coming soon”.

that would be a great first step for my application and some others I’m aware of. It would at least provide the critical part (# of occurrences within the search - doc / folder / database) - from there we could collapse the search to a smart folder if needed recurrently. Or for more complex situations, manually build a frequency table until more of this capability finds it’s way into DT…

It wouldn’t be all the functionality (as Hugh mentions - full concordance extension would be best, but it would be a great start and very helpful as a quick solution to meet some immediate needs IMO…


It would be limited to documents found by the search window or the toolbar search (frequency displayed for each document) but groups/smart groups/databases wouldn’t display this information.

This would be very helpful for my application. Thanks for considering this!

OK - thanks; Still very useful as the phrase combination itself would be held in the smart group; We can also create a phrase table to quickly reassert the search for a given phrase. For my application this would still be a very useful first step for this functionality…