Create global pre-defined lists for tagging,groups,classify

I would like to set up a db structure that I can use for a complex litigation project. For now, it’ll be in a single DTdb but as soon as it’s possible to have multi-dbs open (or better yet, be able to view an item from a separate DTdb in a “window” within the front-end/master DTdb) I hope to be able to split off certain groupings as external subsets (for better memory handling as well as to be able to have certain subsets with restricted access).

In any case, one of the tools that I think would make both the creation and maintainence tasks more efficient would be the ability to create a pre-defined list of words (and phrases) that can be toggled open into a slim drawer or sidebar that can be used in a variety of ways, such as dragging one of those terms onto the top of either a group or document would automatically append that term to any existing classifications already attached; or opt-dragging would not only append classifications but also append comments for searching with spotlight; or opt-shift-dragging to the DTdb hierarchy pane would create a new group with the name of the term dragged.

Ideally, it’d also be great to have the ability to have multiple such pre-defined (by user) lists which user could switch between within the same db but in the end, the actual db would contain only those terms they have used. This way, you could have standardized lists (say for months, days, years, staff, clients, task categories, etc.) which would make it easier to scroll through).

Is that a major task to incorporate in a future update? And/Or is it something that can be accomplished via a plug-in or script? And/or is there a way to already do that now?


Leslie / iconDoIt[/img]

Leslie, one can currently add text to the Comment field of a document’s Info panel.

So if you have a document that contains a list of tags, a tag could be copied into the Comment field. (I’ve set up the windows in my databases so that the Info panel is always visible to the right of my view or document windows.)

Some of the things you described can be done using ‘smart groups’ or by replicating search results to a new group.

Some of the things you described can be done using an organizational scheme. You might take a look at some of the template databases that users have designed to handle GTD items.

The next major release will add enhancements to metadata and may make it easier to do some of the things you described.

Thanks for the quick response! I knew I could manually enter text into the comment area - but I’ve never really experimented with Smart Folders (or Smart Groups). Sounds like now is a good time to do so. Can you recommend a good tutorial for the concept of smart groups and the best procedure to create them (i.e. Do I create a new smart group by itself and set it’s name to, say “civil conspiracy” and then anytime I enter that group it will show me all documents with that phrase within it’s body, title or comment fields? Or…)

Thanks in advance for your guidance. So far, I’m extremely pleased with the DEVONthink Office Pro licensed I purchased just last evening. I’m especially pleased with the speed that it imports files that are heavily laden with text, graphics and imbedded multimedia files.

Leslie (iconDoIt)

Yes, you can set up smart groups for documents that contain a particular phrase. Here’s an excerpt from the online Help:

You may find some useful ideas by visiting the DEVONacademy pages at

For example, there are some scripts that you might find useful. Most of these were designed by users who gave permission to make them available to others.

You can use a script to add a comment or ‘tag’ to the Comment field of a document’s Info panel – and can do that for multiple documents at the same time, e.g. by selecting the results of a search, or all of the documents in a group. That can be very useful for ‘tagging’ PDF or HTML documents, as you can’t write notes or enter keywords directly into them.

You may also find it useful to look at the tutorial examples and video.

By the way, I should mention that when you use smart groups you are working with replicants of the files in those groups.

Remember that when you make a change to a replicant, you also change all other instances of that document.

The concept of replicants can be a bit tricky. A replicant isn’t quite the same as an alias, because when we talk about an alias we distinguish it from the ‘original’ file. In the case of replicants, each is simply an instance of one document, which can be located into different groups at the same time.

There is almost no overhead on the database size when using replicants, as it takes only a few bits to add new ones.

Names of replicants are displayed as red italic; duplicates are displayed with bold blue names; ‘regular’ documents have black names.

What You want (tagging or adding metadata) is possible with “Papers” from

Same principles as Devonthink, less sofisticated at this moment (also cheaper), pdf only!

Erik de Jong

Not really the same principles, as it’s designed primarily for specific Web resources and file types, especially for tagging purposes. It also lacks AI features. But Papers has some neat features for its specific purposes.