Importing Word tables into DTP

Hi all…

I’m extremely new to both OS X and DTP/DA. I’m a medical student, and I’m trying to institute DTP/DA into my study/research program. I’m in my first year of med school, and just ran across this program. It was actually one of the reasons I purchased a Mac. With that in mind, please cut me a little slack if I don’t understand some of the simple things regarding DTP and DA. I’m trying to learn fast so I don’t spend more time on my Mac than I do my med school studies. I have two problems right now.

(1) My school formats my schedules, objectives, and assignments in Word tables. I have to have access to these tables all the time. I can either carry around a huge bundle of these printed out tables (like my classmates), or download them to my computer. I’d like to incorporate them into my DTP database and then link to other resources from these table cells. I can’t get a table imported without it coming out garbled. I imported it as a PDF and it turned out fine, but I can’t link to individual cells in the tables. Other than retyping my table, is there a way to import it intact as RTF?

(2) I seem to be having difficulties capturing RTF. I right click in DA and there is only a copy option…not a RTF. I tried the “Command-)” in Safari and didn’t get bubkus.

Once again I apologize for being a neophyte…but this is a great app for the situation I’m in, and I’d love to be able to use it effectively.


The only way I’ve found to have my Word tables come through intact into DTPro is to print the Word tables to PDF and then import the PDF file. (When you click Print, in the lower left-hand corner is a Print to PDF button; you don’t need to own Adobe Acrobat.)


bpwhistler, while viewing a Web page in DA (or in the built-in browser in DT Pro) select the desired text and images, then Control-click (right-click) and use the contextual menu option “Add Selection to DEVONthink”.

Although this was NOT your question, I’d like to suggest that all throughout med school and residency, you collect in PDF format all the helpful medical review / journal / recent interesting clinical trials articles, and toss them into DEVONthink.

I now have over 2,000 PDF’s of clinical articles, and it’s very impressive how useful DEVONthink is at finding useful articles based on a keyword search, and then using a “See also” to pull up related useful articles.

Bill:Thanks for the tips on “adding selection to DevonThink” while in DA or DTPro. I still haven’t figured out how to capture RTF while in Safari. I do a lot of research from proprietary websites that I have to enter with many passwords, etc. In other words, it would be very “painful” to use DA or DTPro for a lot of these searches due to password issues. I have a password manager that auto enters passwords for me. Without this, it would take quite a bit longer to do my research. As soon as this company makes a plugin for DTPro or DA, I’ll be able to search from there…until then I need to learn to capture RTF from Safari. Anybody with “simple” instructions on how to do this would be appreciated.

I also have been trying to import a file that is RTF, but is nothing but pictures. When I import it, nothing shows up in the view/edit pane. The file name is in the proper folder, but when I highlight it, nothing. Any suggestions?

Can I capture journal articles/web resources in RTF including all the associated pictures and import that to DTPro so all the pictures show up with the text? Or should I use PDF? Since I haven’t figured out how to capture RTF in Safari, this has been a moot point thusfar. But I would like the option.

Thanks for your help writingstudio and jchou.

Here’s how to capture selected rich text/images while viewing a page in Safari:

[1] Select the desired text/images.

[2] Press Command-) (shift-command-0) or select Services > DEVONthink Pro > Take Rich Note.

Also, while viewing a Web page in Safari, check out the global scripts menu. There are a number of available options including capturing the text of the page, the selected text, the HTML page or WebArchive.


I’ve been doing fine at RTF captures, but more often than not I lose the formatting and things don’t end up looking the same in my DTPro file as they do on the journal article. For example, a Wikipedia article I was referencing and tried to download lost the formatting for the menus and pictures. Everything showed up in my capture and the links were working, but it looked a little off. This is fine, but I can sometimes get a little anal…and was wondering if there was a way to keep the formatting when importing…or is that just the nature of the beast?


Brett, that’s the nature of the beast. DT Pro is using Apple’s Cocoa text for rendering RTFD captures, which has shown some major improvements over the past couple of years. It will likely continue to improve.

You could capture in PDF and retain the appearance, but you would lose the live hyperlinks on that WikiPedia page, many of which look useful.

Or you could capture as a WebArchive, which would retain the links and layout.

But the RTFD captures allow selectivity, so that you capture only the relevant material. On many Web pages (including scientific journals) there are ads and all sorts of other extraneous material.

In any case, focus on the information content, as there won’t be many questions about the aesthetics of page layout on your exams. :slight_smile:


How do I selectively copy pages. I’ve been basically highlighting everything or choosing “control-A” and then capturing. I would love to exclude extraneous material…how do I go about this?


p.s. my obvious lack of computer skills is showing glaringly…ouch

Hi Brett:

The simplest way to exclude extraneous material is the one alluded to by jchou, PDF files; virtually all scientific journals feature the option of PDFs, often as the only format. They are the least distracting form, but older articles will often be scans of the original print version and have ads, or bits of other articles on the same page (Nature for example). PubMed has a Send To button (text, and file; clipboard here doesn’t mean your computer’s copy/paste function but a online ‘cache’ in PubMed ). News sites like newspapers or BBC etc will usually have a ‘printer friendly’ button that strips most ads from the article.

Some journals, notably Science, have adjusted their page layout to make it much quicker and easier to do rich text captures of just the article text and images. Simply place the cursor at the end of the article, click, then “swoop” the cursor upwards to the beginning of the article (which in Science includes the Journal name, volume number, etc.).

I prefer rich text captures in Science to PDFs for the reasons Harvey noted. The PDF version has no hyperlinks and often includes text from another paper.

Often online papers in Science provide extensive reference sources with live hyperlinks, and may include special “enhanced” versions online that are linked to valuable information. That’s available for rich text captures but not available in the PDF versions.

And DT Pro captures the URL of the page in the Info panel, so that it can be quickly launched. I often copy the URL from the Info panel and insert it into the rich text captured document.