Creating 2-column table or a tab-formatting in DTP's rtf's ?

I’m trying to create a 2-column table or a kind of tab-formatting in DTP’s rtf’s – for documents I use for interviews, in which I have questions in one column and answers in a parallel column. Ideally, I’d like these documents to be appear in landscape view, to give the cells (rows) as much width as possible.

To that end, is there a way to create a 2-column table – but with the option of creating new rows by hitting the Return key (as one can do w/ tables in Word)?

If not, is there a way to achieve the same 2-column effect without a table – e.g., through creating some sort of 2-column like set spaces, a few inches wide per section, and have the ability to jump from one column-like space to the next column-like space via tabbing?

Thanks so much!

No, you can’t dynamically resize a table this way.

You can set tab stops (the black triangles at the top of the ruler) to create this kind of invisible column format. Note: You’ll have to clear out the other tabs stops first. Select All (Command-A) then drag each tab stop off the window. (This will make more sense when you do it), then save the document. Tab Stops are at the upper righthand side, above the Ruler. (If the Ruler is not showing, select Format > Ruler > Show Ruler, or Command-Shift-R.)

Note: The tab stops showing are applied to the second and third groups of sentences. The first has no tab at the beginning of the lines and only one left tab stop for the answer ”column”.

I see… Hmm. Is there way to do that either as a snippet (preferred)?

I suppose one could set up a document w/ the tab stops, and then create it as a template, correct?

Any way to do both / either while setting up a rtf doc in landscape mode? Once I’ve established that I suppose I need to figure out how to divide a rtf doc so that it’s got evenly spaced columns…


I’m not sure what you’re referring to.

Disregard. I thought it through a bit more and that didn’t make sense - and it’s not an appropriate DTP question.

Ok, so I created 2-column tab-formatted TextEdit “template” - well, it’s saved as a TextEdit saved style, and that saved style is reproduced in DTP.

He’s a question… Is it possible to create a DTP template from this TextEdit saved style? That might do the trick.


Yes. Create the rich text document with the tab settings and save it as a template.


File > Export > As Template…

This will prompt you to save the .rtf file in ~/Library/Application Support/DEVONthink Pro 2/Templates.noindex. You can create a subfolder, there, if you want your personal templates to have their own folder.

When you need the template, use Data > New From Template … and choose the name of your saved file.

Don’t save the template outside of the “Templates.nodindex” folder otherwise you won’t be able to use Data > New from Template… correctly.

Perfect! Thank you all! This is incredibly helpful…

I realize this isn’t a DTP question, but perhaps someone has a quick suggestion. Like I said, I’ve created a style in TextEdit (which has transferred to DTP) for 2-column tab-formatted document. If possible, I’d like to figure out how to format the document so that the text can “wrap” (be contained within) the tab margins – w/o having to revert to a table. Any suggestions?

Thanks so much!

As noted in my screencap above, this is not possible with RTF and tab stops. RTF doesn’t support multi-column formatting. (This would potentially require page layout software, more akin to InDesign / Quark XPress / etc.)

If a word wrap is required for this, why not just use a table and add rows to the Table Inspector pane as needed?

Thanks very much for your reply. I’ve tried using this approach, but it’s a bit clunky when I’m writing rapid notes, and having to revert to the Inspector to add more rows as needed. If there was a more fluid way to creating new rows by hitting the Return key (as one can do w/ tables in Word) then I’d simply use tables, but alas that’s not possible, so that’s why I’ve adopted this approach.

Thanks very much, though. I really do appreciate it.

I finally made this work by creating a 2-column table in TextExpander, and also inserting line dividers (also created in TextExpander) wherever necessary. It works brilliantly, actually!

One quick follow up question… While I’m writing in the columns of these RTF files, there’s a kind of jerking view as the document view descends from top to bottom, making it hard to fluidly read as I type.

Does this make sense? And is there something I can do to remedy this?


Does the same behavior occur in TextEdit?

Well, it’s more fluid. I don’t experience the jerkiness when I scroll down the page in DTP. But the cell formatting and line dividers get screwed up when I open up the document in TextEdit. The other thing is that it takes me out of DTP when I’d prefer to stay in it so that I can reference other notes.

What would you suggest?


Could you make a screencast of the “jerkiness” in DEVONthink? Thanks!

Happy to do so. Is there a preferred way to do so? Or format you’d prefer?

Never done it and don’t anything about it – but will do my best.


You can easily make a Screen Recording in Apple’s Quicktime Player. Just record, then Save. I wouldn’t even owrry about the options. Ideally, a link to the file in Dropbox would work since the file might be a little large.

Sorry that it took a while to put this together. Here’s the link to the movie that you requested that shows the problem I’m experiencing.

Thanks again for the help.

Is this captured in DEVONthink 2.9.15?


Please start a Support Ticket and attach the document shown here. Thanks.