How to Alias (Yes I've tried manual)

HI ,
I’m not understanding how does Aliases work ?

Assuming whenever I say puppies , pets I also mean Dogs

  1. Are they applied on note level to every note ?
  2. Do I need to define a note where I define aliases once ? How to ?

Is alias something else all together?

If you search for alias in the Help it seems clear that it relates only to items and groups (i.e., not to individual words in text items).

Generally the the user guide (also available through the in-app Help) is very helpful in resolving questions like this.

Edit: Take a look at the Concordance Inspector (from the Tools > Inspectors menu) to see if that helps at all.



Thank you , this helps little , so if my alias are note level or group level ,

If my note is about Dogs , on every note I need to define it’s alias (puppies, pets) in Inspector???

When I search IN APP for alias , I get no hits on alias page . See below , maybe I’m doing this wrong

I will have al look at Inspectors , Thank you

The outstanding “DEVONthink Handbook” in PDF form easier to search, I believe.

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Correct, so this is probably not a suitable use for aliases. Instead, I would likely use tags, and would probably choose to set up a smart rule along the lines of tag records containing "puppies" AND "pet" with tag 'Dog'

An alias is simply an alternate name for a record (be it a group or an individual document).
The manual does go into a little bit more depth on how aliases could be used in combination with group tags (as suggested by @rmschne, I too would recommend downloading the manual and searching for the term in it).

When might you use an alias? Imagine you have a group called “aluminium” and you can never remember whether you spelled it “aluminum” or “aluminium” - you would just add the alternate spelling as an alias.

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I have a related question. If I put something in the aliases field for something, the search function won’t find it even if I limit the search to “aliases”.

Regarding the question @prashant raised, aliases are alternate names for a thing. If the thing is a group, it applies just to the group. Aliases do not appear as additional instances of the thing, they are alternate names for linking.

You add or remove aliases in the info panel. There is a field there called “aliases.” Separate multiple aliases with semicolons.

If you allow it in DT’s preferences, any appearance of an alias in a text document will appear as a link.

Duplicates and replicants are different from aliases, by the way.

Testing that here (DT 3.8.3 on macOS 12.3.1), I have a record whose alias is “somealiasname”; searching for that term reveals no records; searching for aliases==somealiasname does reveal the document, as does aliases:<somealias. To me that is unexpected: I had expected search to apply to aliases. @cgrunenberg?

Blanc, you are correct. My problem was I had clicked out of any group and put “junk” (my humble alias) in the search field.

It didn’t find anything because the scope defaulted to “inbox”.

However, there is still an issue. If I change the scope to the database, or to all databases, and edit the alias to “junk;smithers”, then I can’t search for the alias smithers using the “is” operator. I can search for “contains smithers”, that works, or “is junk;smithers” works, too.

This is new to me because I’ve never had a need for aliases. At least, not that I knew of.

I use only one, but it is quite useful. I have a group called “Temp” in one database, have given it the alias tp and use that quickly to go to the group when using the To Group… popup. OK, so it saves typing only two letters but the principle, of course, would also apply to frequently used groups with somewhat longer names. :grin:


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If your alias is junk;smithers it cannot logically be aliases==junk as the alias is junk;smithers. It obviously contains junk, but it isn’t junk (or smithers).

In what context are you referring to “when I say puppies, pets”? What do you mean by “say”?

no doubt about that; but I would expect an alias to be found using search without limiting search to aliases (i.e. if I enter somealiasname in the search field, and the scope is databases, then I would have expected the record whose alias is somealiasname to be found; but it isn’t).

@cgrunenberg would have to respond more deeply but All doesn’t encompass every attribute of a file. Aliases aren’t included. Also, non-text custom metadata attributes aren’t either.

I think I’m aware of that; but I think I would have expected an alias to be included - in fact, I would use an alias probably for the sole purpose of finding something using search (see the aluminium/aluminum-example which I - wrongly as it turns out - provided the OP with further up in this thread). Obviously, the fact that I see it that way is by no means definitive though :slight_smile:

Understood. Criss would have to comment on it.

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In the manual it says multiple aliases are separated by semicolons.

It’s not a big deal, but that suggests to me if the alias field is set to “junk;smithers” the item should have two aliases, junk and smithers.

And I should lay off the Simpson’s reruns, but that’s a personal problem.

Development would have to respond but there is only one alias set as a string, even if separated by semicolons.

Here’s a little more info. Keeping with my inexplicable junk;smithers alias, if I type junk in another document it becomes a link as expected.

If I type smithers, same thing. I get a link to the target document.

If I type junk;smithers, I get two links separated by a semicolon that isn’t part of either link.

At some level, the semicolon appears to create multiple aliases.

Aliases aren’t indexed and not included without explicitly searching for them.