improve the editor

The more I use DT for note-taking, brainstorming, and outlining, the more I miss the functionality of a text editor. Would it be possible to (1) improve the UI by adding an editing toolbar with the typical basic buttons for styling text, and (2) implementing improvements in functionality (especially margins and indent) to make it easier to outline in DT and to make it easier to print DT documents?

This isn’t just about creating pretty documents—it’s about creating clearly outlined docs that can serve as lecture notes or as outlines for articles, essays, etc. Evernote seems to be able to do it. Why not DT?

My own view is that DT could never be as functional as any other document editor, and it’s very simple and virtually seamless to use “Open With…” and edit whatever needs editing in the native app for that document.

Evernote != DT. :slight_smile:

I am not asking for a fully-fledged text editor, but for some more functionality that allows more robust RTF-based editing and outlining (i.e. some UI improvements, such as a toolbar, and a better implementation of pagination and paragraph formatting).

In my view, opening every document in a separate application defeats the purpose of using DT for notes and outlines. Being able to copy, paste, merge, and reorganize notes on the fly is important if you’re dealing with large research projects.

DEVONthink’s text editor uses Apple’s code and is essentially the same as TextEdit in window wrap mode. The same Lists and Style features as TextEdit are available.

I do all my draft writing inside DEVONthink. If I want a printout of an RTF or RTFD note I just copy/paste it into Bean, where I can add header/footer information and have neat margins.

For polishing drafts I copy/paste into Pages, which carries over included images very nicely. (I do that even if I’ve got to use Word as the final, because copy/paste into Word loses images.)

Yes, Bill, but as far as I am concerned, that’s precisely the problem. Having to copy & paste every time I need to print is an extra unnecessary step; and the Apple Lists and Style features are (1) limited, especially insofar as paragraph and page formatting is concerned, and (2) could be presented in a more user-friendly way by a standard editing toolbar.

I also do most of my drafting and outlining in DT (and have been for years now), but as soon as I need to print something, I copy and paste the document into Mellel. Once I have reformatted the document for printing, I save it in Mellel and while I can still view it in DT, I can no longer edit it in DT, which is unfortunate. Drafting and outlining for me isn’t simply a one-stage process. It involves printing the document, revising it, printing it again, etc. This is why I think a more robust editing functionality would be beneficial.

FWIW, I’ve found that Scrivener and DevonThink complement each other very nicely.


Would you care to elaborate on this? Do you have a particular workflow that you use?


I’m not sure I’d dignify what I do with such a formal term as “workflow”…

But DTP is unsurpassed in its ability to manage large amounts of data, but barely adequate in its writing and outlining capabilities. Scrivener is similarly unsurpassed as a tool for writing and outlining. So I give each tool the part of a project that plays to its strengths.

  • Accumulate relevant materials, using a combination of DevonAgent, direct interviews, and review of my existing DTP database. Pull everything into DTP. Sort, tag, etc.

  • Review materials. Take notes. I actually do a lot of notetaking on paper, which I can shuffle around manually. But if I wanted an all-electronic workflow, I’d use DTP because that would leave the notes in my main database for future use.

  • Review notes, plan outline. Create outline in Scrivener, using Scrivener’s excellent corkboard functions. In an all-electronic workflow, you could import your notes into Scrivener at this point, and use them as the basis for the outline. Refine outline as needed.

  • Write. Entirely in Scrivener for as many iterations as necessary. Though Scrivener does not provide the full layout capabilities of something like Mellel or Word, it’s more than adequate for most of what I do. I find it easiest to just keep DTP open for reference, but you could also import source materials to Scrivener as needed.

  • Final format. (If necessary.) Word, Pages, or other word processor of your choice.


Interesting conversation. I agree with the first question. I’d ask for better margins in the note canvas and an option to choose native Multimarkdown writing.

You can create Markdown documents in DEVONthink and DEVONthink To Go 2, both using MultiMarkdown.