DevonThink Pro - indexing Scapple file contents

Dear all,

Apologies if this is a very basic question - I want to index Scapple documents (which I use for note-taking) in my DevonThink database. I want the text content of these documents to be indexed so that text within the documents is found by a search within DevonThink. Whilst Scapple document contents get indexed by Spotlight, if I drag and index an external Scapple file into my DevonThink library, it gets found by a search on the document title, but when searching on text within the Scapple document, the document doesn’t come up within the search results.

I want to know if I’m being impatient - I thought that files are indexed pretty instantaneously once they are linked into DevonThink, or if I’m wrong in thinking that the fact that Spotlight can index the text contents a file means that DevonThink should be able to too?

What are my options to index Scapple documents? I’m using Mac OS X 10.8.4.

Any help would be gratefully appreciated,


Short answer: not feasible.

Long answer: Scapple documents (*.scap) are XML files. DEVONthink does not normally search inside XML files unless the document has an explicit .xml extension. Believe me, you would not want the behavior to be different - see the picture. Even if DEVONthink did search inside the document, the results would be less than useful because you would be shown text but not the graphical context you are probably looking for. For that, you need to view the document in Scapple, or Scapple’s QuickLook plugin, which is what DEVONthink actually uses to display .scap files in your database. In both cases the graphical display does not exist until it is generated on the fly when you look at the document (or in some cases retrieved from a cache that was generated previously on the fly).

Not usually useful:

Many thanks,

I’m just wondering - doesn’t the Scapple application provide some kind of OS-standard filter or schema to Spotlight search so that Spotlight can ignore all the irrelevant markup information and just index the text which is content - I thought DevonThink could use the same approach to ignore the irrelevant tags/markup etc and just build an index of the relevant searchable words in the content of the document. I only want DTP to find words within a Scapple document, I can use Scapple to view the document once the DTP search had identified the document I’m looking for.

Thanks again,


Over here, I’m not able to find Scapple document contents with Spotlight – but that’s just my observation. Maybe the Literature and Latte forum can answer this more accurately than this forum.

[size=85]Edit: I made a mistake, see my next post below[/size]


The thing I was thinking about is apparently called a Spotlight Importer, but I was probably wrong in assuming that DTP might use these to extract words from document formats it doesn’t understand. I guess that the developers of DTP write their own importers, unique to the DTP search engine, for each file format, and whilst they currently support a wide range of them, I guess we need to ask them to develop one for Scapple documents.

Since there are lots of people who use Scrivener and DTP together, and since a lot of Scrivener users, like me, have started to use Scapple quite a lot, there might soon be more of a demand to get DTP to index the words within a Scapple document.

I’ll look for a new feature request forum and post a request there!



I’m sorry, I realized I forgot to mention something. The Scapple application is delivered with a working .mdimporter in the application package. (It is the developer of the software who creates the .mdimporter – in this case Literature and Latte.)

The problem here is that Spotlight does not index the contents of DEVONthink databases, so Scapple files stored in the database are not indexed and searchable with Spotlight. If you do not import, but instead index your Scapple files, then Spotlight will do the trick.

Still doesn’t address your request for DEVONthink to search them – but at least you could use Spotlight to find the content of Scapple files.