Editing files in Advanced Search windows

I have a question about editing files within the Search window itself – that is, not the toolbar search, but the advanced search.

o Invoke Search window, and enter a search term.
o Click on the first match, which is an RTF file. The preview appears in the panel below, along with ruler, styles pull-down, etc.
o I can scroll through the RTF file, but I can’t edit it. Why not?
o If I then open the file (cmd-o), make a change to it, and close the editor window, then I’m returned to the Search window. And now I can edit the text within the search window itself.

What am I missing here? Why can’t I edit the file in Search the first time through?

I can always edit it in the panel when using toolbar search, and it’s very handy to not have to open yet another window to make a simple change.


You cannot edit the document in the file search the first time through as the document is still displaying the search mode, with the search term(s) highlighted. I assume that the behavior could be changed in DEVONthink so that clicking in the document would cancel the search result highlights and put the user in edit mode, but I suspect that this behavior would be confusing and frustrating. At least it would be for me-I want the highlighted search terms to remain visible in this window.

What is perhaps a bug in DEVONthink is the appearance that you are able to make edits in the search window after editing the document in the editor window. If you follow the process that you describe, the changes made in the final step cannot be saved to the document in this view, so any edits made will be lost when the search window is closed.

Wow – you’re correct that edits made during that last step above are never saved. Holy cow – now I wonder how many edits I’ve made and lost without warning. I’ll report this as a bug.

What I don’t understand is why this sort of ‘quick’ editing is not allowed. When using the toolbar search, you can make edits to the RTF documents while the search results list is shown, without the need to open up a whole new window. (And the edits are automatically saved.) It would make sense to have parallel behavior in the search window as well. How would this be a negative for your work flow?

The ability to edit the document in the search window would not be a negative for me. What I would prefer not to lose is the highlight of every found instance of the search term(s) in the document, which is what happens when you go through the sequence that you describe in the first post. Command(shift)-g still navigates forward/back in the document for the search term, but only the currently found instance is highlighted.

In any event, the fact that following your sequence gives the impression that the document has been successfully edited when in fact the changes have not been saved is a critical bug IMO.

Ahh, all clear. I agree, keeping those search terms lit up would be the expected and useful behavior…

Reported as ticket 202150. I see that the search terms are still highlighted even when editing the matching RTF when using the search toolbar, and I hope the same behavior can be implemented for the search window.