Full DB Searching Needed

Hi guys,

DT is a database, essentially. So, I’m wondering, why can’t all the fields be searched? Especially labels. They’re just another field in the DB, no? Also, we really need to be able to do multifield searches, where one set of criteria is searched for in one field, while another set of criteria is searched for in another field.

Another few things that seem like weird ommissions: why isn’t there multi-level sorting nor custom fields (which, of course, would be searchable :slight_smile: ?

DT rocks,


A multifield search feature would be very fine indeed, Ted; and I sincerly do hope DT will have it in the near future. But it’s good to bear in mind that many database applications don’t have this feature: you don’t even find it in Filemaker, just to mention the most widely used of all.

And custom fields is certainly another rather urgent desideratum. But one of the things I miss most in DT is a traditional keyword feature, by which I mean not DT’s keyword feature (which displays the most important words in a file), but the possibility to characterize a file by means of a number of terms of your own choice. That’s a feature you even find in rather modest applications, and I don’t understand why DT doesn’t have it.

To clarify on the multi-field search.

I don’t mean to search all fields for a single string. DT’s entire search style is basically that (though it omits certain fields, like labels, from the search).

What I need is to search for all records that contain string “x” in field “a” AND string “y” in field “b”.

On the need for keyword search, I concur wholeheartedly.


DEVONthink PE is a freeform database. Think of it as a “single field” database. But there are elements of fields – Name, Content, URL/Path, Comment items in DT’s search options. And there are a number of properties of content listed in the Info pane: Name, Aliases, Path, URL, State, Size, Kind, Created, Modified.

Think of those elements and properties as metadata about your database contents.

Now look at the View > Sort options, and you will see still more metadata items listed, including Label, Size, and Word Count.

DEVONtechnologies indicates that DT’s search capabilities will be enhanced in future versions, both in search logic terms and in additional capabilities for searching metadata about content.

At the moment, you can’t do a search directly for Labels. But DT offers all kinds of possibilities for getting at that kind of information, anyway.

Suppose, for example, that I make entries that contain the string “To Do” in their names, have Labels assigned by types of project (or whatever), and a State check (complete or incomplete).

Now do a search using the string To Do for Names. Here’s a trick. Create a new group. Go back to your Search window, select all the hits, and Replicate them to the new group. Now Sort the new group’s contents by, for example, Label. Now you can see the items sorted by your project type classification. Now suppose you want to see which actions have been completed, and which are still to be done for a specific project. Let’s select all the items for that project and replicate them to still another new group. Do a Sort by State while viewing that new group. Presto! The completed and incomplete items are separated. Make whatever use you wish with that information.

Of course, you are free to discard or retain the new groups that you created in the process of winnowing out information. Because they contain only replicants, deleting them doesn’t really remove information from your database.

Procedures like this are already available in DT and will allow you to do multilevel searches and sorts in quite powerful ways, winnowing out just the information that you wish to see.

The prerelease beta of DT Pro lets one assign a script to a group that carries out searches automatically and fills the group with replicants that meet the search term. I’m not certain that such “smart folders” are coming to DT PE, but – as you can see – such operations can be carried out manually, and only take seconds to complete.

How can I import in a sheet with a much of records other records from a bibtex file?

Thank you, Isidoro


I assume you have a text file with the suffix “.bibtex”.

Select File > Import > Files & Folders and choose that file.

If the text was properly set up, a new Sheet in your DT Pro database will be created, displaying the bibliographic information for each record.

You can edit the column headers by selecting Data > Sheets > Edit columns.