manually cross-linking & adding rich text notes to items?

I recently switched from Windows to MAC - on Windows I used a powerful tool kind of similar to DevonThink Pro called Ultra Recall.

It had two powerful features that either DT doesn’t have, or I can’t find how to do something like it in DT:

  1. Ability to add rich text notes to any stored document. Ultra Recall had a dockable pane associated exclusively with any and potentially all items (pdf, webarchive, etc) in the database - whereby there was an immediately visible place (pane) to add notes associated with, for example, an internally stored pdf.

  2. The ability to arbitrarily create and number / depth of parent/child hierarchy - relating any item with any other item as such (not merely grouping by folders, tags or smart groups) - so for example, I could create a rich text note item - and then add a pdf, webarchive or anything else, as nested child items below the rich text note. And any item, and to use DT terminology, could be replicated any number of times, and as such a replica was in effect a link to the originating item - so any item could appear as a child or parent of any other items (as a link).

An additional point is, is there any plan to implement hierarchical tags? And be able to filter items by any arbitrary union of tags?

Both feature are there now. For hierarchical tags, drag and drop tags in the Tags group to nest them as desired. For info on the union/intersection of tags, this thread should help.

thank you Greg

On the topic of your main two questions, for #1 DEVONthink does not do exactly what you are wanting. DEVONthink does have an annotation template that creates a linked RTF document and you can add notes to the Spotlight comments field of the document, but you cannot directly add rich text notes to the document. Sounds like what you had in Windows is similar/like what Evernote is capable of?

For question #2, folders, tags, and smart groups are the only organization tools available.

The first feature you noted can be supplied by the Annotation note template. Select a document of any filetype and choose Data > New from Template > Annotation (there’s a keyboard shortcut). Or add the Annotation button to the Toolbar (View > Customize Toolbar); you can then select any document, click on the Annotation button and your new rich text Annotation document is created.

Note that the Annotation note is linked both to and from the referenced document. The link in the referenced document is in the navigation bar immediately above the pane in which the document content is displayed.

For convenience in notetaking, I usually select and open the Annotation note, then Control-click (right click) on the link to the referenced document and choose the option to open it in a new tab. This allows switching back and forth between the tabbed documents in the same window.

Thank you Bill. Got it now. It was initially confusing as I was selecting items from Smart Group Folders and the Annotation item in the Data Menu was greyed out / inactive. When I switched to selecting any item from the Database directly, it works as you described - this is excellent, just what I was looking for. (a bit confusing though that you can’t select to Annotate an item via a Smart Group)


Thank you Bill. I note that its possible to access the Annotation Menu when an item is selected while in the Database View - but cannot be be accessed when when viewing any item through the Tag or Smart Group View. Other than that somewhat confusing thing, this is exactly what I was looking for - although an optionally docked panel panel in addition would be great. Here’s a link to a screen shot of what that looks like in Ultra Recall: … xample.jpg

The Annotation template should work fine in database smart groups as well as in the database Tags view. The only exception is when you have a smart group saved in the Sidebar. I suspect the reason for this is that smart group criteria in the Sidebar are applied across all open databases, which makes it problematic as to where an annotation document should be created. You can always make a selection in the Sidebar smart group, reveal the document with command-r or menu>Data>Reveal and then create the annotation.


I agree with most (and to some degree all) of korm’s suggestions for improving the nature of Annotation notes in DEVONthink.

It is certainly true that one can delete one or the other (the Annotation note or the referenced document) without notice or caution by the database. Or one could separate the Annotation and its referenced documents by moving one or the other to a different database (although the links would still work).

And while the Name and appearance of an Annotation document implies the existence of the referenced document, the only indication of the existence of an Annotation note for a document is the link shown in the navigation bar above the pane that displays the document content. There’s no procedure to search for documents that do or do not have associated Annotation notes.

A document can have only one Annotation note, but on occasion I may have additional notes that link to that referenced document. DEVONthink has no way of informing me about such “linked to” occurrences, nor does the referenced document display any information about such links to it, other than the Annotation note link. The best I can do in that case is to add a note to myself with the links to other notes, within the Annotation note.

I also would like to see improvements to the Annotation feature along the lines of Korm’s suggestions. I have been caught out by the “seperation by moving” that Bill refers to. Also the “only one annotation” is a problem for me but not insurmountable.

Hi all,

This post got me thinking about the problem of multiple annotations to a document.

I think I might have a possible solution to the problem although it will take me a few days to work up a script (if its possible).

I am a big fan of Korm’s variation of the annotation template

“Make annotation files for each citation plus notes+tags”
[url]Make an Annotation with Links, Notes, Tags v2]

but it has does have the problem that searching for all the annotations for a single document requires a search.

People may not have realised that its possible to grab a link to a smart folder and add that link to the URL field of a record.

It should therefore be possible (if you can create a smart folder from applescript), to add a smart group with all the annotations for a particular document which is an immediately clickable url.


Edit - It seems its not possible to creat smart groups with applescript :frowning:
See [url]script to create a "native" smart group?]


My head just exploded - but in a good way!

And, as per usual, please allow me to be the first one with the stupid questions… :confused:

The Tag group you mention, is it simply ‘created’ by virtue of adding TagXYZ to a selection of documents, which then “groups” all those together. And one would then simply add TagXYZ to the url field of the ‘master’ document - or am I missing some alternative formation of a Tag group?

Secondly - I presume(??) this would then “replace” the role of the single Annotation document that would ordinarily be associated with the ‘master’ document, since there can only ever be one. So the alternative would be to have a/the Annotation document merely as one of the documents inside the Tag group?

Lastly, what actually happens when that link is triggered? In your example, korm, when you would click on the “Tags > Document 890 Annotations”, where are you taken/what would happen?

Apologies for all the questions… :blush: But this looks really useful…

Nice alternative korm. It clogs up the tag list even further but its much simpler and quicker to implement than to create a dynamic ‘smart’ folder with an attached applescript using something along the lines of what you did here:

[url]Gather related items by replicating]

I am inclined to use the UUID as the tag in the absence of a better programatical random tag.

To answer cassady’s question, clicking the url link brings up a new window with just the tagged items, that is the annotations for that document.

Korm’s modified annotation template creates a separate annotation, each time rather than a single master document which makes it particularly suitable for this.



this is trickier than I thought …

There doesnt seem to be any way to get the uuid of a tag.

seems to be the closest but I have no idea how to specify the tag name in order to get the record :frowning:



Bill de Ville said:

No longer!

I have implemented the ideas in a modification to Korm’s script in this thread

[url]Make an Annotation with Links, Notes, Tags v2]

To answer the original query from igoldsmid: If you give any item a tag which is the UUID of the original document it will show up in the tag group.

UUIDS are not easy to get manually. The following script will grab a selected documents UUID and put in on the clipboard. Attach it to a keystroke if its something you use often

tell application id "DNtp"
		set the clipboard to (the uuid of (the first item of (selection as list)) as string)
end tell

(It is worth pointing out that the open document may well not be the selected document (which is the highlighted document in the main DT window). This can lead to a lot of confusion between scripts which act on the selected document and those that work on the open window. Cmnd - R will always make the open document the selected document)