Importing/inexing iWork files

I have just changed over from MS Office to iWork 08 and have encountered difficulty importing or indexing Numbers files. I haven’t tried Pages files so far. Is there something obvious I am doing wrong? When I search for files to index all the iWork files are greyed out.


The file formats of the iWorks applications are Apple proprietary file types and are “unknown” to the DEVONthink applications. The text content cannot be read. Apple has not released the code to read/render these files to developers.

If one has set Preferences > Import to enable capture of “unknown” file types the iWorks files can be captured by the database, although no text can be read. A blank database document will be created for each unknown file. The file name, Comment field and other metadata are searchable or sortable.

Workaround 1

You have captured a Numbers file in the database. You cannot read or display directly the document when it is selected in your database. However, you can enter keywords or even an extensive text summary of the file in the Comment field, which is searchable. Suppose you have found this document in your database in a list of search results. Select it and choose Launch Path and it will be open for viewing under its parent application.

Workaround 2

You have an important Numbers or Pages or Keynote file that you wish to add to your database with searchable content, and you want to view the file as it was created – text, images, layout, formatting. Solution: While viewing that file under its parent application choose File > Print. Then click the PDF button in the Print panel and choose "Save to DEVONthink Pro.scpt’. A PDF version of the “unknown” file will be saved to your database and is searchable and viewable.

Comment: My databases contain many “unknown” file types, usually Import-captured (i.e., copied into the database package file). Using either or both of the workarounds above they become useful additions to the information content of my databases.


Thank you for this most useful outline of the reasons for the non-recognition and the various workarounds. When I abandoned MS Office in favour of iWork this problem hadn’t entered my head and it is certainly disappointing that the files are not recognised. Anyway, thanks for your time.


Hi, Michael. Remember that in MS Office the Excel and PowerPoint file types are also “unknown”. And Word .doc files only have text (not images nor layout nor full formatting) captured, and Word files remain externally linked even if the Import capture mode is used – which can cause user confusion about edits of the original Word file.

All in all, I’d say you remain ahead of the game in your move. :slight_smile:

Thanks, Bill, that’s encouraging. I’ll experiment with what you’ve suggested and, again, thanks.