DTPD - Importing Contact Lists

Is it possible and practicable to import / sync Outlook or Address Book contacts with DTPO, for example in a separate independent database with a view to developing it into a CRM system? Could it be done by creating a suitable contact template for the import?
If so I imagine the searching and meta data features like grouping, tagging and labelling features of DTPO would allow for segmentation of the database.

I know CRM is not DTPO primary function but it could add value if this is feasible.

DEVONthink’s database is not configured with all the fields (there are dozens) that your OS X Contacts app uses in its data store. One cannot have a “template” for importing data – which I assume means defining data structures that the DEVONthink database implements for you. That’s not the way DEVONthink works.

It is possible to export individual .vcf files that were exported from Contacts and import them to DEVONthink – but DEVONthink merely uses Contact’s QuickLook plugin to view the contents of a .vcf, and these views are not searchable and are of much use to the AI. In old releases of DEVONthink there was a script included that imported one’s entire Contact book into a sheet – a .csv document with columns for a very limited number of the data elements in Contacts. Sheets are not searchable by field, however, and the script is non-functioning in current releases of OS X and DEVONthink.

Based on this then the simplest way I can think to implement it would be to use an excel or csv file containing contact details. If one does not exist it could be generated by using the export function of most contact apps.
Right click required contact in the excel file, select ‘hyperlink’, select ‘document’ and link to the customer project within DTPO:

The problem with this method is I can only link to documents external of DTPO and I have migrated all documents into DTPO… So how can DTPO users use this excel hyperlink function to link to documents internal of DTPO?

Excel does not recognize DEVONthink links (x-devonthink-item://…) or any other kind of link other than ```




If you need DEVONthink links in a spreadsheet, use Numbers.  BTW, DEVONthink Sheets (.csv files) do not support any type of links, either.  Also, OS X Contacts does not natively support .csv export, though you could find or write a script that will do that.

However, the Quick Look view of a Numbers document in DEVONthink does not support clickable links -- if that's what you were thinking would work.  I suggest using Numbers to create the layout you want, with links to relevant documents, then export that sheet from Numbers to PDF, which will retain the clickable links when view in DEVONthink.

I’ve tried using Numbers and the linking does not work and the creation of the cvs file is not a problem.

I have found how to get the excel file (stored in DTPO) to link to a document (not a Group) stored in the DTPO database.

1 - Clicking the excel sheet opens it externally and my above process

2 - Locate or create a file to link to within DTPO. Something like:

  • Customers (Group)
  • Customer A (file)
  • Etc B (file)

3 - Copy file name

4 - Back at stage 1 within the 'Document tab’s click the ‘Select tab’, paste the file from step 3 in Spotlight to locate the document and select it.

5 - Vola! A link to the file is created within the excel document customer record. Clicking link opens DTPO and highlights the document within the database allowing selection / editing.

The link created once stage 4 is completed is something like:

where FilePathData = various numbers and letters combinations and it looks like excel does recognise the ‘file://’

The workflow is not smooth and my experience working with Apple Script is rubbish but I am sure someone could develop a simple Apple Script for this process.

I would prefer to create a group for each contact but cannot find any link/file paths for Groups. I have tried creating copies and replicants of the Groups but this has not worked in creating links. Is there a way of selecting links / file paths for groups?

Works perfectly fine over here with Numbers 3.2.2

Be aware that linking directly to the flile location inside a database package can open you to potential inadvertent database damage, and the location can change without warning thus making the link unreliable.

Am I right in thinking you are linking from a pdf created from the Numbers export?

Rather than from a cell within Numbers direct to a document within a DTPO database like I have with excel? The problem with the pdf linking is as a CRM workflow it won’t work because the excel sheet (or Numbers sheet if preferred) is the front end utilising pivot tables, data filters, etc. At a basic level these pivot tables can be used for reminders, ToDos or calendars that DTPO does not have. If it did this would enable setting ISO9000 document review alerts (or other audit systems) and add value as a future functionality feature for release.

Is this caused by moving the file and breaking the hyperlink or some other potential intermittent database corruption? Back to my last post is there a way to link to Groups rather than files???

No. I’m doing exactly what I said above. See the movie here.

Then don’t.


You cannot do “file://” links to groups. Files are physical – they reside in your database in a hierachy DEVONthink manages. Groups are virtual – they are not folders in the filesystem, therefore OS X cannot link to them.

But do whatever you want, it’s your data.

Great news. How did you get the DTPO document hyperlink to paste into the cell? I am curious if you did it different from my way which is cumbersome.

With a document or a group selected, Edit > Copy Item Link or (contextual menu) > Copy Item Link, or [size=125]^⌥⌘C[/size]

Item links are persistent – they are valid for any document in any database, whether the document is moved within or between databases – and they operate whether or not DEVONthink and/or the database is open – launching the program and/or opening the database if needed

Thanks for the tip. Its defiantly quicker to paste that link into Numbers and it works which is great. The same link does not work when pasted into an Excel document though… is that something to do with the link format being designed for Numbers rather than Excel?

No, the link isn’t “designed for numbers”. Developers can create their own URL schemes – if you dig, you’ll find your machine probably has dozens if not hundreds of these custom URL schemes defined. These aid inter-application communication among other things. They are not designed “for” another application, though. DEVONthink’s “Item Link” (x-devonthink-item://…) can be used in numerous contexts. Except in Microsoft’s products. Call Satya Nadella for more on why not.