Editing columns

If I have emails displayed in DTPro, I want to have columns such as From, To, etc. They are available by clicking on column heads, but I can find no way to edit them. What am I missing?

What are you trying to edit??

I need to insert the names for the scanned documents under the fields “To” and " From" provided by DTPO but it is not possible to do so. I need to sort the documents from senders and/or recipient for the scanned documents.

Please advise.



To and From are metadata related to emails, not scanned documents.

You could use the Spotlight Comment field… to:Mona Lisa.

You could also use Tags (compound or simple)…
to:Mona Lisa (simple)
from: and Mona Lisa (compound)

It hasn’t occurred to you that your users might have copies of emails that they have received as scanned documents? I am a lawyer trying to deal with a collection of thousands of emails. I would like to sort and filter them using a column that is built into Devon, but I cannot. This is a serious limitation on an otherwise excellent product.

As I said before, To and From are email-specific metadata. As such they are read only values taken from the document metadata. This is a standard mechanism, even across platforms.

Utilizing Tags or Spotlight Comments for custom metadata is also a common thing and Smart Groups can also be employed in searching and to create virtual folders of these files.

Note that this metadata of interest in an email document is lost if the message is printed to paper, then scanned to result in a searchable PDF document.

Which is to say that furnishing the information content of an email message in searchable PDF format is not equivalent to furnishing the email in its native file format. Information loss of this kind isn’t the fault of DEVONthink.

This is a question that may have already been answered, but I was unable to find the answer for sure. Is there a way to make custom columns? I am a PhD student in theology and I am wanting to create custom columns for biblical references and keywords that would could easily be sorted. Is this possible?

No, it’s not possible. The Spotlight Comment field is generally used when a custom field is needed.

Let me try approaching this another way. How about advice on automating a script to export a CSV of the list and columns of files and import it into TapForms (which would have the columns we can’t make in DTPO) and maybe even have a way to have a link, URL or file path (in text) for the files as attachments or links? This way we can export the CSV of the files to TapForms and then in either app (DTPO or TF) click on the file the metadata is about and open it. OR at least see a file path to it.

Is this a possibility?


First, I understand HOW the columns work and their limitations. Essentially you can’t offer metadata columns (for the kind of file) if it’s not offered by Spotlight or by the file properties itself (comments, author, From, To, etc.) If I am correct, then the question below is relevant.

I have the same need the lawyer and the PhD student had.
The tags, even compound or hierarchical, aren’t suited for sorting volumes of data, not a substitute for columns that you find in a different kind of database (FileMaker (FM) or TapForms (TF) – not sure the technical name for the difference in what DTPO is vs. these other ones).

I DO know in order to get the search results DTPO gets in FM or TF, it requires TONS of search criteria combos and formulas / calculations that are light years from my skill set!

Still I can’t help wanting DTPO’s amazing functions to just give me the ability to add a few of my own metadata columns, like a reference manager…BUT DTPO is a document manager, not a stand-in for FM, TF or a reference manager.

BUT it can work with one, like TF with links and CSV export…
Which brings me to the next potential solution…

Thank you so much for all your work and patience.


You should not rely on filesystem paths for DEVONthink files. There is no guarantee they will alwyas be in the same place.

There are two editable scripts you can mess about with: Export > Export Metadata as CSV and Export > Customizable Metadata Export. If you don’t have one or the other, check out Script menu > More Scripts… Either of these can be edited as you wish (though I suggest editing a copy).

As far as the usefulness in TapForms, I can’t say.