DTPro Office: Incorrect file path, where is the file?!


I’m a new DT user (1 day only) and have searched the forum for an answer to my question, without success (but I may have chosen an ineffective key!).

I dragged/dropped about 2500 items into a new database, a folder at a time. I then deleted all of the originals. Curious as to where the files were, I looked at the Path (as displayed in the 3-pane view if you select View>Columns>Paths). Most are in the .dtBase package - fine… but some linked to the files in Trash.

If I moved the file out of Trash and onto the Desktop, the displayed path would become the original location of the file (before I dragged into DT and deleted from Finder). Huh?! This made me very nervous, so I systematically went through all 2500 files and retrieved (from Trash) the ones whose path was to Trash (a few hundred :frowning: ). I archived those onto an external disk, emptied Trash and then rebuilt the database. The log shows that it exported 2524 items and imported 2493 items.

However, all of the paths in DT still refer to the original Finder location that I dragged them from into DT. If I right-click on the file reference in DT, I don’t get the “Show in Finder” option, in contrast to the files that are in the .dtBase package. However, I can see their contents fine! File types are varied, .log, .doc, .html, .webarchive, .txt, .rtf and more (no .pdf that I can find, but there are too many Groups to search by eye).

So… my question is… where are they?! Spotlight doesn’t find them. There are 1734 items in the Files folder within the dtBase package. None of them are of the file types I listed above. Looking at the file types, I suspect that DT has compressed them and maybe hidden them in those .database files in the .dtBase package (one of them is 109MB).

I’ve spent a few hours on this, so it’s over to the forum :slight_smile: Hope someone knows the answer to this one!


DT uses both absolute paths and aliases to find files.

As long as the aliased file exists, DT tries to resolve the current path/name and use it (in your case a path to the trash).

If the aliased file doesn’t exist anymore, the absolute path is used (in your case the original location).

Hi, Rick. It’s dangerous to delete files when you are first starting out with a database!

You dragged (Imported) a number of file types to the new database.

Here’s what happened. Your various types of text files (plain text, rich text, HTML, WebArchive, XML) were saved into the monolithic ‘body’ of the database. Certain other file types, including PDF, postscript, image, QuickTime media and ‘unknown’ file types) were saved to the internal Files folder, inside the database package file.

There are two special exceptions that you should be aware of before you delete any files from the Finder!

[1] Word .doc files remain externally linked. If you delete your Word files in the Finder, you will be unable to edit or print the original file, although you will still be able to view the rich text content that was captured into your database, but that doesn’t retain the full formatting/layout of the original .doc file, and doesn’t contain any images.

If you work a lot in MS Word and wish to retain the full documents for printing/editing, you might wish to Index these files (File > Index, or Command-Option-drag & drop) into your database. This will also result in one-way synchronization from the externally linked file to it’s database content.

In either case (Import-capture or Index-capture) don’t delete your .doc files from the Finder.

[2] “Unknown” file types. This includes many file types that DT is currently unable to recognize, i.e., DT cannot capture the text content for viewing and analysis in the database. Examples of unknown file types include Excel, Powerpoint, Pages, KeyNote, Mellel, OmniOutliner 3 and many other proprietary file types.

Unless you have checked the option to capture unknown file types, DT will ignore them!

So if you wish to Import your Powerpoint files, for example, into your database, be certain to check the option in Preferences > Import to capture ‘unknown’ file types, before you throw away those files in the Finder.

Bottom line: Don’t empty the Trash yet! You will likely not want to throw away your original Word files, and make certain that you had selected the option to capture ‘unknown’ file types such as your Excel or Powerpoint files.

Yeh, I got a bit overheated about DEVONthink and thought “I’ll put everything in here where I can find it and clean up the mess that is my filesystem!” After posting, I noticed the problem with my Word files and the penny dropped: “Ouch, it’s turned them all into RTF files!”

Then I spent a few hours systematically dragging all .doc files back in with Cmd-Opt :frowning: Fortunately, I had “Unknown filetypes” ticked in my prefs. Anyway, I got off relatively lightly I suppose (although everything’s backed up daily anyway).

Thanks for the detailed reply. I’ve been reading a few posts and was struck by the high quality of your input. A forum is really lucky if it has someone like you onboard!