Importing stuff from other note taking apps

Can anybody give a hint how to import whole NoteTaker-notebooks into DEVONThink?

sorry to pile on, but i wish i could import from StickyBrain too :slight_smile:

if i do it now, it makes it one big file.

i had to use awk to strip them into little files and it still wasn’t perfect.  alas!

Does anyone know the easiest way to import files from

-iOrganizeX (about 2000 entries, database is about 260 MB)
-StickyBrain (about 620 entries)
-ScrapIt ProX
-MacJournal (about 820 entries)

It´s a pain in the … to do  it manually. If DT would offer some appropriate scritps to automatize this procedure, they could beat all other applications. -Thanx a lot for helpful tips!

BTW: I´ve tried all apps in this field over the past years, but nothing comes close to DT.

We will check this. If there’s an easy solution possible, we will add this to v1.7.x.

Ya, that´ll be great!

On the NoteBook user’s forum, the program’s developer responded positively to a user’s request to export an entire notebook as a single RTF file.


NoteBook or NoteTaker?  ;D

NoteBook.  Jayson Adams, original developer of both programs.

‘Print’ the NoteTaker or NoteBook notebook as a PDF document, then import it to DEVONthink (with appropriate setting of DEVONthink Preferences). That’s a quick and easy way to get the text content of a notebook (or a notebook page) into DEVONthink. If you have TextLightning, the text can be imported as RTF. The built-in translator produces only plain text, but that can be easily converted to RTF by DEVONthink.

NoteTaker can produce a well-structured and attractive PDF from a notebook, adhering very closely to the design and layout of the original notebook. Don’t try to produce your thesis this way – it won’t meet the usual layout requirements. Otherwise, however, very professional looking PDF documents can be produced from a NoteTaker notebook.

Another alternative, if you have Acrobat 5 or 6, is to save the PDF file as an RTF file and import that into DEVONthink. (May not be worth the extra effort.)

Transfer StickyBrain files to DEVONthink: Use ‘Print Multiple’ to print all the stickies in a Category to a PDF file, then import the PDF to DEVONthink as above. Or, use ‘Export’ to save all the Stickies in a Category to a single text file that can be imported to DEVONthink. The text file will contain a delimiter symbol at the end of each Sticky entry.

Similar tricks will probably work for moving the text content of other applications into DEVONthink.


I just read your information about importing NT files into DT.

It all makes sense, but I wonder how you keep the imported files in DT up-to-date. I don’t know, of course, how you organize your NT notebooks, but mine get added to, deleted, re-organized almost continually (continuously?).

Do you just regularly re-import files into DT, deleting the old ones?

Now if I could just create a reminder alarm for that…javascript:undecided()

Much thanks,
Craig Turner


You are correct. To update an ever-changing notebook that had been imported into DEVONthink, one would periodically ‘print to PDF’ and re-import it into DEVONthink.

Actually, that’s not how I use notebooks (either NoteTaker or NoteBook) in conjunction with DEVONthink. DEVONthink is enormously more powerful than the notebook applications as a database manager and knowledge miner for large collections of documents. The notebook applications are great for note-taking, outlining and drafting, and NoteTaker allows really nice final output of PDF documents (that will probably come for NoteBook, as well).

I keep my primary reference files in DEVONthink, such as scientific journal articles, completed project files, etc.

I use notebooks to keep daily journals, project notes (such as notes and comments about references in the DEVONthink database) and drafts of articles I’m writing.

There’s a logical reason for separating functions in this way. I don’t want to ‘contaminate’ my original reference sources in DEVONthink by marking them up with my notes, commentary and drafts about items in DEVONthink – especially when I’m playing with ideas and making free-wheeling notes – because everything I put into DEVONthink will affect search results on a topic. (Of course, when I finish an article, I’ll include it in my DEVONthink database.)

That’s why I use notebooks at the ‘creative’ stage. I can feel free to make mistakes, write dumb early drafts, and evolve my thoughts on a topic in a notebook, without putting that stuff on a par with authoritative reference materials in my DEVONthink database. (Of course, when I finish a project or article, I consider it authoritative and eligible for inclusion in DEVONthink!)

My notebooks interact beautifully with DEVONthink PE. Searches and information transfers can be made back and forth very easily.

DEVONthink is evolving, and the upcoming DEVONthink Standard Edition will allow one to have multiple databases, and will include outlining features. If SE allows quick and easy communication between its multiple databases, that might satisfy my concerns about keeping ‘authoritative’ and ‘early draft’ materials separate.


Thank you for the enlightening reply. What you say makes great sense to me and I had actually begun to realize my mistake after writing my initial post.

To put it simply, I was starting with NT and going to DT in my process of finding and researching data. It makes much more sense to work in the other direction as you suggest. Also, even though I’m sure NT continues to change and improve, DT is much more elegant and full-powered at the primary gathering, storing and relation-making stage.

I’m off to export items out of my notebooks for inclusion in DT and focus more on maintaining a highly-calibrated database.

I much appreciate your insights and taking the time to reply. Also intriguing to hear about SE and to know how much better things can keep getting with DT!!  :)

I agree that it makes more sense (to me, at any rate; YMMV) to use DT as my primary reference source (integrated with EndNoughte, damn it) and NoteTaker as my experimental thinking-aloud journal.  In the old days, you’d have your pen, your biblio cards (3x5), your note cards (6X4) and your project journal (a hardbound and inviolate – and inviolable – private brain dump).

The Laptop Paradigm involves, respectively, your C-Pen, EndNyukt, DT and NoteTaker. So I suppose I haven’t actually modernised my methodology – just updated the tools I use to implement it. Does that mean I am a Bad Person ???

If you can export to text, RTF or PDF then you can easily import that to DT as many have given examples of in this thread.

I had myself a lot of entries in a FileMaker databas that I wanted to transfer to DT. Here is how I did it. (% stands for the command line in the Terminal.)

  1. Export from FileMaker to a tabtext file.
  2. Convert to Unix linefeed
    % tr "\015" "\012" < tabtext.txt > tabtext2.txt
  3. Split the file so every line/post become one text file.
    % split -l 1 tabtext2.txt
  4. Name each file to the content of the first field of the file. This script does this and also convert back to Mac line endings plus some cleaning.
    for n in *
    NewName=awk -F &quot;[,\t]&quot; '{print $1}' &lt; $n | sed -e 's|http://||' -e 's |/|:|g' | tr -s &quot;[åäöÅÄÖ ]&quot; &quot;[aaoAAO_]&quot;
    tr “\012åäöÅÄÖé” “\015<8C><8A><9A><81><80><85><8E>” < $n > “$NewName”
    rm -f “$OldName”


  1. Drag a few hundred text files to DT.

I’m sure there are cleaner solution but this worked well for me.

FileMaker is great for a lot of things but not as a digital shoebox. For this DT is the best I have found and I’m liking it more and more.

I found this thread after posting a topic on automatic updating of such notebook software(i was referring there to hog bays’s notebook.)This thread answers the question about updating and hogbay is alrady in rtf
Bill. i’m sure for your work that division works well but  for my scattered brain i enjoy the "contamination " of seeing perhaps unexpected connections.I enjoy the idea of a big  soupstew database steaming, bubbling, and perhaps frothing over into new territory.