Import, Index, Link & Sync

Could I just check that I’ve understood the differences between these correctly?

Straight import -
- Copies into the database and indexes
- Remembers path
- External edits are reflected in database if Sync done
- Known file types can be edited internally
- Internal edits not reflected in external file
- Internal edits are lost if external file updated and then a Sync done

Link to file -
- Creates alias in the database - wiggly-arrow icon
- Indexes name etc but not contents
- Can’t be edited internally

Index file -
- Creates alias in the database - open book icon
- Indexes name etc and contents
- Index updated on Sync
- Can’t be edited internally

(I notice that Link and Index sometimes manage to notice changes to the path if the file is moved in the Finder, which is cool!)

Is that right?

It looks as if “Index File” will be what I’m using the majority of the time except for short notes. It would be very nice if there were a shortcut to do it while dragging, as there is with “Link To”.

Many thanks - having fun finding my way around!

Yes, exactly.

No shortcut yet, so you’ll have to use File > Index.



So just to be sure:

If I import a file and edit the external file, the imported file does NOT change. The file contents are indexed.

If I index a file and edit the external file, the imported file DOES change to reflect the edits. The file contents are indexed.

If I link to a file and edit the external file, the linked image in DTPro changes to reflect the edits. However, the link is NOT indexed.



There’s one big problem with the second “If” statement above. Yes, if I Index-import a text or Word file, then edit and save the original file, which remains linked, the edit changes APPEAR to be reflected in the DT Pro database. Text that I’ve added to the original text or Word document is visible when I select the document in DT Pro. BUT THE ADDED TEXT IS NOT SEARCHABLE. So what appears at first glance to be automatic synchronization of the DT Pro document to edit changes of the original document is a snare and delusion. :slight_smile:

That’s dangerous, if you expect to use DT Pro’s searching and contextual analysis features under the impression that your database contents accurately reflect external edits. In reality, the only way to accurately reflect external edit changes is to reimport the modified document to DT Pro.

And there’s a semantic issue in the first “If” statement above. When DT Pro uses the File > Import > Files & Folders mode to capture text of documents, it does NOT index text in the ordinary sense. But when the Index-import mode is used, it DOES index text in the ordinary sense – and such indexing is limited compared to DT Pro’s handling of Files & Folders imports. So, for example, Phrase searches don’t work on documents that have been captured using File > Index.

Personally, I rarely use File > Index imports, because I want to use the full powers of DT Pro on my database contents.

And there’s another reason. I try to make my databases as portable as possible. If I want to use a database on another computer, I don’t want to worry about having to move externally linked files along with the database (particularly as it’s tricky to do so without breaking Path links). So I set my preferences to copy PDF & postscript files, images, unknown and (sometimes) QuickTime media into my database Files folder, and the rest of supported file types (e.g., text and HTML) into the body of my database. I use File > Import > Files & Folders as the import mode almost 100% of the time.

Those are my personal practices. For your own purposes, you may find the limitations of Index imports acceptable. For one thing, Index imports result in a smaller database size, e.g., for PDF imports.

Note: Some of the current problems in synchronizing the database with edits of documents under another application will be reduced or eliminated when DT Pro version 2.0 is released.

Or you could add a shortcut under System Preferences > Keyboard & Mouse > Keyboard Shortcuts.

Thanks for clearing this up Bill; I was wondering why I was getting odd search results with INDEXed files. But I must say, this is a disappointment and makes the INDEX feature pretty useless for me. I was using it to link to WORD files that contain Outline and Style formatting, (which are essentially unmarked as such if you import a word file).

What strikes me as odd is that the SYNC command is useless here: shouldn’t it reindex the file in the same way that manually deleting it and using INDEX again does? It seems to me that automating the feature in this way - and perhaps allowing us to attach a script to a folder to do it automagically - would be relatively simple and very useful.

Come to think of it, wouldn’t it be possible to create a “smartFolder” type script that would automatically delete the contents of an indexed folder and reindex them? Wouldn’t that solve the issue?




the example scripts available on our download page contain a simple “Synchronize” script:

on triggered(theRecord)
		tell application "DEVONthink Pro"
			synchronize record theRecord
		end tell
	end try
end triggered

If you attach this script to an indexed folder, viewing/opening the group will automatically synchronize the contents.

For example, create a group named “PhotoStickies”, set its path to ~/Pictures/PhotoStickies, attach the script and afterwards DT Pro will automatically synchronize this group with the cams recorded by PhotoStickies.

Running File > Synchronize should reindex or reimport modified external (!) material. And then the text should be searchable again. But linked contents will of course still remain linked and not be searchable.

Thanks Christian, I’ve implemented your script and it works just fine. Most Importantly, replicants of the items seem to keep their links - which a manual delete and reimport might break. So all I have to do is keep SmartSynchronize folders of my external word files and replicate the individual files where they “belong”. An occasional opening of the SmartFolders updates it all nicely. I can edit in Word, thereby preserving my styles and outlining.

Thanks Again,