Directly select a file in a DT database like a picture in iP

When we want to open a file in Word, or upload a file in a form using a web-browser, we have to choose the file in a dedicated window.

In this window, there is a section called “Data” which groups Music, Pictures and Movies. It enable us to directly select a photo managed by iPhoto for instance.

I did not find an equivalent function in DevonThink (Pro Office) to directly select a file.

Would there be a way to get the same behaviour or a workaround? It is a pity not to be able to select a file placed in DT databases as easyly as a picture in iPhoto :frowning:

I don’t see any such missing feature in DEVONthink.

All files imported into DEVONthink remain in their native filetypes.

Some filetypes can be directly displayed within a DEVONthink view, such as plain or rich text (using the OS X Cocoa text editor), HTML and WebArchive (using the OS X WebKit), and PDF (using the OS X PDFKit).

Some filetypes with a proprietary display requirement cannot be rendered directly within DEVONthink but are instead displayed using Apple’s Quick Look feature (the Quick Look plugin is supplied by the developer of the application that generated the document). Examples include MS Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Pages, Numbers, Keynote, Mellel, etc. The quality of Quick Look plugins varies widely. At a minimum, they should display the text content of the document. Some, such as that for Pages, provide a quite faithful rendering of the original document including images and layout. Others, such as that supplied by Microsoft for Word, do not provide a faithful rendering of the original document. (The next upgrade of OS X, Lion, will provide a much more faithful view of MS Office documents within OS X.)

The Finder maintains a database that lists the ‘parent’ application for data files, as well as a list of other applications capable of opening data files. (The ‘parent’ application can be defined in the Finder by selecting a file and opening its Info panel.)

Editing (and in many cases, printing) documents contained in a DEVONthink databases can be performed by opening the document in an external application. This can be done by selecting the document and Control-clicking on it, then choosing the contextual menu option, ‘Open With’. A more convenient way to do this is to add the ‘Open Externally’ option to the Toolbar (View > Customize Toolbar). Then select a document and click on the ‘Open Externally’ icon in the Toolbar; the document will open in its parent application as defined in the Finder.

The user may define different instances of the same filetype differently, in the Finder. For example, one image file might be defined as having GraphicConverter as the parent application, while another might be defined as having Photoshop as the parent application. Or all image files might be defined as having a specific parent application, but the ‘Open With’ command can allow one to choose another application for a specific need.

Note that a sortable column that lists the Kind of all documents can be added to a view window (View > Columns > Kind).

It’s possible the OP is referring to this section of the Word “Open…” dialog:

Here, is it possible to easily browse the media files in iPhoto, iTunes, iMovie that are usually a bit difficult to navigate in Finder.

DT databases, as we know, store the documents in an even more obscure folder structure inside the database package. To open, for example, from the Word “Open…” dialog a particular .doc file inside the package of any DT database is difficult – if the expectation is to navigate to the folder where the document resides.

The easy way, however, is to make sure the database(s) are Spotlight-indexed, and then use the Spotlight search box inside the Word “Open…” dialog - searching for an exact or partial match, and searching by name.

Using the Spotlight search box, search by document name.

Thank you Bill_DeVille for your quick (and long!) answer. However, I was mentioning the part korm shown. Sorry for having badly expressed it. (But I learnt a lot since I am a new user of DevonThink.)

Indeed, the spotlight search box can be used and it is better than nothing. But I have the feeling that it would be more convenient, when attaching a file to a mail composed with a webmail, to be able to navigate through my databases as I can navigate through my iPhoto pictures, wouldn’t be?

Warning! I’m all too well known for my infamous kludges, ways of doing things in DEVONthink that might not be directly available.

You might consider using smart groups as a way of browsing particular media types. For example, ‘All Images’ is such a smart group.

I’ve got 411 images in one of my databases. The smart group lists them all, but most of them have cryptic names assigned by my digital camera when they were taken, so looking for a particular image by Name may not work. It would not be fun to select one by one each image document to see the image.

The documents listed in smart groups cannot be viewed in the Icon view.

But I can create a new group called ‘All Images Replicants’, then go back to the ‘All Images’ smart group, select all of the images in the smart group and replicate them to ‘All Images Replicants’.

Now if I open ‘All Images Replicants’ in its own window, I can switch to Icon view and see thumbnails of all of the images.

Suppose I select three of them that I wish to attach in a new Mail message to a friend. I Command-click on each of the three to select them, then drag the selected items onto the Mail icon in the Dock. A new message is created that has the three images, ready to be addressed.

Unlike a smart group, which will update if new content is added to the database that meet the criteria of the smart group, the group I created to hold replicants of the smart group is static. For that reason, I’ll probably delete the group holding the replicants, after its purpose has been served.

Yep! But it is a quite heavy method to select only one file.

If you want to upload a picture of iPhoto through Firefox, you just have to click on Pictures in the Data part of the lateral sidebar (as korm have shown it). After that, you can click on an Album and finally choose a picture.

It is the same for the Music. You can browse in your current playlists without needing to create another smartgoup containing your *.mp3 files.

It is as if iTunes and iPhotos had an interface to make their libraries compatible with the finder. I am not talking about reaching the file by the real path, but by an interface that makes this path transparent for the user.

But I think that DevonThink does not propose this feature.

So I will have to either use a spotlight search or create a copy of the file from DT on the Desktop, select this file to upload in Firefox, delete the file on the desktop and finally empty the trash.

You could directly drag & drop the file from DEVONthink to the Open panel of Firefox.

Thank you for the tip, it is much more simpler :slight_smile:

If DevonThink is open, I don’t see the problem. Find the file using its tools, then drag and drop. Presumably you’ve organized the database in such a way that this is easy.

If DevonThink is not open, it does get a little trickier, and a Spotlight search is probably the fastest. If you want the database to be easy to browse with the Finder, then you probably want to index the files, rather than importing them. But indexing does make the database itself a bit more difficult to maintain, so it might not be worth it.

I think, though, that you’re underestimating the difficulty of browsing “just like pictures.” My iPhoto collection has 2700 images in it, most of which still have the arbitrary names assigned by the camera. If I’m looking for a specific image, it is much easier to find it using iPhoto’s own tools, rather than walking through the database with the Finder. Similarly, my main DevonThink Pro database has nearly 1.5 million words, and hundreds of items. If it were feasible to find things by browsing, I wouldn’t need DTP in the first place.


PS Remember that iTunes and iPhoto are both Apple products. That makes building the interface much easier…

The apple products apparently use a private API to hook into the media browser window. I’ve done a little googling, but I haven’t found any way to hook into it.