highlighting integration with microsoft word

i am wondering if there is any way of integrating DTPO’s highlighting feature with Microsoft Word. At the moment no highlights that I make in Word show up in DTPO or vice-versa.



By default v2 is using Quick Look to display Word documents but the alternate view (available via the navigation bar above the document) might support this.

Thanks. I tested it out and found the following:

(i) for .doc files created in Microsoft Word, highlighting is shown in DTPO when switching to the alternate view.

(ii) for .docx files created in Microsoft Word, highlighting is NOT shown in DTPO when switching to the alternate view.

(iii) for .rtf files created in Microsoft Word, highlighting is NOT shown in DTPO as there is no alternate view for .rtf files.

(iv) for .rtf files created in DTPO, highlighting is NOT shown in Microsoft Word. And if files are edited in Word, then all highlighting created in DTPO is wiped out once back in DTPO.

I mostly create my documents in Microsoft Word (for a number of reasons, including using Dragon Naturally speech recognition software in Word under Parallels, which still far outstrips Macspeech Dictate), and, since using DTPO, have been saving these documents as RTF files so that I can edit these files if necessary in DTPO. At other times I want to create RTF files directly in DTPO, for instance when I am not dictating.

I am now starting to use highlighting quite a bit, and hence my enquiry about integration with Microsoft Word. So, it would seem that, at present, I would either have to save all my documents as .doc files, and do all the editing in Microsoft Word, and if I want to create quick RTF files in DTPO, accept that I won’t be able to edit/open them in Word.

It would seem that for this to work as I would like it to, DTPO would need to support editing of/creation of Word files. Is this likely to happen? Another possibility is adding an alternate view for RTF files, which would at least allow both editing of documents and the ability to view highlights.




The alternate view for Word documents uses the rich text engine of Mac OS X instead of Quick Look, therefore the alternate view for RTF documents would be itself and it’s not possible either.

Thanks for the info. I take you to mean that for RTF files, DTPO just uses the rich text engine, and not Quick Look, hence no alternate view. If this is the case then the rich text engine is showing highlights for .doc files and not RTF files, and I am curious as to why this would be so, and if there is anything I can do to enable this.

Of course, highlighting, links, etc. are supported in Mac RTF and RTF(D) files. These can be created/edited within the database.

Such rich text notes can be copy’pasted into other word processors. Unfortunately, if images are in the rich text note, Word ignores them – but Pages can readily accept them, and Pages can then export a file as .doc.

If I recall correctly, Spotlight cannot index .docx files, so MS Word’s preferences should be set to save files as .doc.

I am not sure exactly what you are getting at here. Are you saying that highlights created in an RTF file in DTPO are stored as images and that these then won’t show up in Word? If so, this explains part of the story.

But could you explain why highlights in RTF files created in Word don’t show up in DTPO or TextEdit (the same is true of .docx files), when they do for .doc files? It is specifically this that I would like to get working. The ability to edit RTFs created in Word with highlights (also created in Word) preserved.



No, that’s not it. If you wish to create RTF documents in the database, and you wish to add highlights, you have two choices.

  1. Create an RTF document in the database. Open it (using the Open With contextual menu option), edit and Save the changes under MS Word. If you have added highlighting under Word, the highlights will be visible when the document is reopened under MS Word, but they will not be visible in the database. You will be able to read the text of the document within the database. But do not subsequently edit the file within the database using the built-in text editor, as that will mess it up the next time you try to open it with MS Word.

  2. If you are simply writing notes in the database and wish to highlight them, especially to use the navigation feature for highlights within a document, use DEVONthink’s built-in text editor to create and edit rich text notes. At any time, you can copy/paste your rich text notes into MS Word, but highlighting will have been lost in the transfer.

That’s just the way of it. MS Word RTF files are not entirely like TextEdit RTF files.

The only powerful word processor I’ve come across that can produce editable files that are viewable exactly as created and with a completely transparent interface within a DEVONthink database is Papyrus 12, using its hybrid PDF file format. If I’ve copied an RTF file with highlighting that was produced with the built-in text editor, into Papyrus, the highlighting is preserved. When I’ve got a project that requires final output as PDF (universally viewable) and that requires frequent revision of the files, Papyrus is my choice. It can handle large files much more speedily and stably than can MS Word (which I don’t trust for large files – a well-documented and longstanding weakness of Word).

But don’t take this as a general recommendation of Papyrus 12 for Mac. The application hasn’t been updated since way back in 2007, and support is often nonexistent. It’s clunky in places. For example, it’s almost as bad as MS Word for managing images. For smaller projects, especially if my rich text notes contain images, I usually use Pages for final polishing (but Pages doesn’t preserve highlighting from rich text).

Caveat: personally, I don’t do highlighting, as it looks ugly to me. I don’t mark up my reference documents. But that’s just me. :slight_smile: