Displaying search results within documents -- any alternativ

I have a question, the answer to which could make my life easier. Here is the setup: Suppose that I have one long document and I am doing a text search for a particular word. I have the search window open, and I have set the parameters of the search to “Search In” the particular folder that contains the document. Once I execute the search, the document appears in the results window, and each instance of the search term is highlighted in the document itself.

Looking at all instances of the hit requires me to scroll through the long document looking for the highlighted results. It would be nice if I could just jump to each search result in a more direct way, but I don’t see any way of doing so. Am I correct that this is impossible?

The bigger issue is this: Say, now, that I have 20 documents, and I am running the key word search across all 20. If the word exists in each document, then I will get 20 results–each of the documents–if I have restricted my search appropriately. Each of the 20 documents has a different number of hits–in some, the key word shows up 100 times and in others it shows up only once or twice. DT will order my results accordingly, which is helpful, but I really want to look at all of the results in each of the documents. So, while I can easily click through one document to the next, it is not so easy to click through one search result to the next within the same document. What I’m missing is something like the search field in Skim, which produces all of the search results within the document and some surrounding text, thus allowing me to quickly jump to each instance without having to scroll through the entire document looking for the highlighted words.

Can DT do anything like this? Or is there some workaround that I’ve missed?

Under the Go menu see Highlight - previous/next, with keyboard shortcuts.

This will scroll to the next highlighted instance of a query term.

What CDC was actually asking was for a list to appear of all search results in order to get an overview of instances. Right now DTPO will only highlight search results in the document itself, and move from instance to instance. What we are additionally looking for is a way to see the search results listed on a panel, with the text right beside in another panel. This kind of overview is missing from DT. This is an important research feature. It would be very useful if one could not just see the word searched on the separate panel, but a snippet or context of two or three sentences in which the word is used. Any thoughts on search improvement?

I assume you are describing something like the presentation on the left of the PDF display of search term occurrences in Preview. I like that too, which is why I usually open a PDF in Preview when I want to do a search in the PDF.

I don’t think that left column used in Preview would work well as the primary display of search results in DEVONthink, as (at least in my case) a search often yields hundreds of results and that format would be daunting to present the results - especially for a complex search with many terms.

But I do see the potential usefulness if the search results display were to display a selected PDF search result with the Preview-like left column of terms in context. For a single-term query, that would be great. But the utility would rapidly drop for complex multiple term queries, because of the sheer number of items displayed in the left column - and not all elements of the query could be represented in that way.

Now for some complications. There’s a good code model in Preview for handling this sort of alternative display for PFDs. But my databases contain a variety of filetypes and PDFs are actually a minority filetype in numbers, and in many search results the most important documents won’t be PDFs. I’m not a developer, but I suspect that to provide a uniform UI for contextual display of search terms wouldn’t be a trivial job. Even something as simple as highlighting of search term occurrences can’t be done for all filetypes.

It does not have to be primary, but available to users who wish to use it. One could hide/show it.

Indeed, but to have a PDF collapsable search result panel would be fitting for a robust software as DevonThink. In fact, a small Adobe Reader was able to implement it in “Open Full Reader Search”

Thanks for considering the request

In fact this feature is available in a software called Zoot for maybe 10 years.
It is implemented so you have a “quick search” box that displays the results just under the box, and since it is in real time you can continue typing if there are too much results. This was maybe the best feature of the software so I guess it could become one of the best features of Devonthink too.
You often search not for a single word, but a phrase or a context so you can get a manageable results list in most situations(same for google and gmail), and having to browse inside documents one after another is definitely a design flow for any application which aim is to help you find information fast.

I am also looking for some way to be able to see how many times a search term is in a document. A program like iText Pro uses OgreKit for search. When you type in find all it lists all the places that a word is found and then you can click through directly to those places. Unless something like this already exists it would really be a helpful tool to have.

I used Zoot, and while DT is far better and far more sophisticated (Zoot couldn’t even deal with RTF), so I believe if Zoot could do it DT could do it. This would be not just a modest improvement, but a major improvement. Thank you.