Does anyone know how to make text wrap to window?

Hi there

I have for a long time wanted to know how I can make text wrap to whatever window width I am displaying at the time, but have never figured out how to do this other than copy the ruler from a document that does this, which seems to be rather clumsy.

Dragging the right margin marker in the ruler seems only to put it to the fixed point you drag it to and there doesn’t seem to be an option I can discover to make it wrap text to the window width.

Can someone please advise or help. Thank you.


By default (without a right margin) all texts should be wrapped to the window width. How did you create the non-wrapping documents? Do they contain any tables?

Yes the default setting for any new document is to wrap to the window, but I often have to import Word documents which have originated with other people and, especially those saved in docx format seem to have a fixed right margin. I would like to “unfix” the fixed right margin. If I drag the right margin marker, it only seems to fix the right margin in a new place … I don’t seem to be able to convert it to “wrap to window” format. I would love to know how to do that.

No, the documents don’t normally feature any tables.

Creating a non-wrapping document seems to be as simple as selecting text and dragging the right margin marker to any point on the ruler. Once that’s been done I have no idea how to revert the text back to wrap to window mode. Again I would love to know how to do that so that I can read the text in as narrow or as wide a window as I want or need at that time.

Incidentally, while it is great to be able to import docx files, I have come across two formatting problems when I do so. One is the wrap to window issue. The other is that bullets get lost in translation, even when I have requested that the bullets are individually created. I suspect a problem with the translater you use. I imagine—but don’t know— that the translater you use is built into OS-X, as the same thing happens when I import into TextEdit … but perhaps you can confirm that. However when I import the same docx document into the latest version of Pages, bullet points are retained correctly. The only thing is I don’t have time to manually import every one of thousands of documents each month into Pages, before exporting them again to rtf.

If the translater is built into DevonThink, can you do something to sort out both the bullet and the wrap to window issues. Otherwise, is there any chance you can add something as a convert or format service?

All the best


DEVONthink is using the text (only) capture routine built into OS X. That allows capturing the text content of Word documents into your database for searching and analysis. Neither images nor full formatting of the Word document will be represented in the text display. The database retains a Path link to the original Word files, which remain external to the database, in the Finder.

If you had Import-captured the Word file, the Launch Path command will open the original document under Word for viewing, editing or printing. Note that if that external Word document is edited, you should use the Save As command, then recapture the file into your database to see the changes.

If you had Index-captured the Word file, use Launch Path to open it for viewing, printing or editing. After editing, use the normal Save command to save the changes. Now in your database, after invoking the Synchronize command, the corresponding text document will display the text of the modified document.

Management of Word documents will not change before the introduction of DEVONthink version 2.0

Thank you Bill.

I am not interested in editing an external document. I merely want to retain bullets from the original docx document in the document I import into DT Pro, and I want to be able to set the document so that the right margin wraps to the width of the window. Can you suggest how I can do this?


No. As noted, the capture of text by OS X from Word documents produces a rich text document without full formatting of the Word document. Bullets are not retained in the text capture.

As to text wrapping, there are several possibilities.

If the conversion involves placing text in a frame, the text line width will be constrained to the width of the frame rather than the window. A test for that is to select the text, copy it to the clipboard and paste it into a new rich text document. Did wrapping change?

If not, here’s how you can edit the document to make it wrap to the window:

  1. Ensure that when a text document is open in its own window, the Ruler is visible. Menu command: Format > Ruler > Show Ruler.

  2. Locate a document in which the text wraps to the window width. Place the cursor inside a wrapped line (paragraph). Choose the menu command Format > Ruler > Copy Ruler.

  3. Open in its own window a document that you wish to edit so that text wraps to the window. Play with extending the window width. Notice that the Ruler shows a marker at the set line width. Place the cursor inside a line (paragraph). Press Command-A to select All. Choose the menu command Format > Ruler > Paste Ruler. Click anywhere to cancel selection. Play with the widow width. If satisfied, save the document.

Comment: It’s not uncommon for rich text captures from Web pages to contain frames that are of fixed width. Some text captures from various sources may be formatted to a maximum line width, as in your captures of .docx files. Text captures from PDFs have a set line width with line endings (Return) inserted at the end of each line.

Such variations can be especially irritating when one is copying an excerpt from a document as a quotation to be inserted in another document. Editing of wrapping may be required.

The upcoming upgrade of the DEVONthink applications will display many document types differently than does version 1.x. But the comment in the previous paragraph will still apply.

Hi Bill,

Thank you for your response. I am aware how to copy and paste rulers into documents and in my first message in this thread refer to the fact that I already do this.

Unfortunately this doesn’t really help when I may have complex and variable ruler settings (indents etc) that I want to retain, and when I really do not want to have to set up a series of margins, tabs and indents for every paragraph in, perhaps, a 15,000-word document all over again. Often I am happy with the formatting apart from the lack of wrapping to window width, and just want to change a fixed right margin in an imported document to one that wraps text to the window width and still retains the rest of my various ruler settings within the document.

I can’t understand why bullets are not retained when importing from a docx document, when they have always been retained perfectly (and still are) when importing from a Word 97-2003 formatted document. To me that suggests a buggy or imperfect translater.

I am quite familiar with the text frames you refer to on web captures, and know how to deal with them (as I should after adding over 67 million words to my database!) - but that has nothing to do with the problems I am experiencing or describing in this thread.

I can easily provide documents of both types and you can try importing them and then you’ll see what I mean. Let me know if you’d like to do that, and where you want me to email the documents.

All the best


Hi, Rollo. I sympathize with your frustration, but (a) the .docx conversion routine in OS X currently doesn’t render bullets from such Word documents. Microsoft changed to a different file format. Whether bullets will be eventually captured in Apple RTF conversion remains to be seen. So to convert such text to bulleted items will currently involve tinkering by the user. (b) Changing an entire text document by pasting in a single Ruler setting (or applying a Style) will enable that ruler setting throughout the document. The only alternatives are to either copy and paste appropriate Ruler settings a paragraph at a time throughout the document, or to first enable word wrap and then apply new ruler (or Style) settings for special paragraphs, e.g., left and right-indented paragraphs. Those are the limitations of Ruler settings (and Style settings) in TextEdit, and I’m not aware of any word processor that can recognize other variable tab settings (or paragraph Style settings) throughout a document and retain them without change when enabling text wrap in a single step. Perhaps I’m wrong about that.

Changes in formatting often happen when clipping material from another application. I often use tables. Your problem with bullets is small by comparison with copying tables from some other applications, or trying to send a table developed in DT Pro’s TextEdit code to a different application.

I typically do all my draft writing inside a database. I generally standardize all text to a single font and size, such as Times 12, with the exception of titles and headers. The draft will contain graphical elements and perhaps some tables. It will not, of course, have footnotes, page headers and footers and some other special formatting that’s not available in the TextEdit code. I usually don’t do much paragraph formatting in draft mode. Instead, i’ll insert notes or cues to remind me to do some formatting of a paragraph at a later time.

I’ll then copy/paste the draft into a more capable word processor, usually Pages or Papyrus 12. I’ll do the layout, footnotes, hyperlinks to endnotes and so on in that medium. Pages and Papyrus 12 are quite different applications. It’s easier to transfer a draft to Pages, because the images transfer easily and require minimal twiddling. Papyrus 12 requires more manual work, especially for image transfer, but has lots of styles and is more stable and faster than Pages or Word for very long documents. I expect to have to rebuild tables in either application. Either application is great for final output as PDF (Papyrus 12 has an editable hybrid PDF file format), and both are pretty good at converting to Word if necessary. Personally, I haven’t used Word much since version 4. I’ve got MS Office, though.

Quick Look in Leopard is wonderful. It will become a tool in DEVONthink. But don’t assume that the kinds of problems discussed will go away altogether. That’s because what you can see and do with a document being viewed in Quick Look depends largely on what the developer of the parent application of that document has included in the Quick Look plugin. Yes, you can see the document just as it was created in its parent application. Can you use Find to do a text search, or select text and copy it? That depends on the developer’s plugin, e.g., the one provided by Microsoft. Maybe, maybe not. If you can copy a bulleted excerpt, will it render properly when pasted into a rich text note? Maybe, maybe not.

Quick Look is a great step for reducing the Tower of Babel problem resulting from all those proprietary file types. But how far it can go remains to be seen.

This is reminiscent of Quick View (Windows & Linux) for allowing one to view information in documents for which the user doesn’t have the parent application.