"No Items Found"? But I'm looking at the item!

I imported a fair number of PDFs lately, and was trying to grab a particular subset to move out of the Inbox. I searched for a phrase (“an introduction”) that was in the name of quite a few of them, but kept getting “no item found,” even when using different methods of searching. When I searched for a single word (“introduction”), the result came up no sweat. The problem was that anything with “review” came up as well.

Does DTP not search for phrases in a filename? Any help is appreciated.

EDIT: Another example. I have a PDF of a review of a book that’s named “2008- Cambridge Companion to Hannah Arendt.” (Guess which book it reviews? :wink: ). When I search for “Companion,” Devonthink can’t find it. When I search for “Arendt,” it comes up with no problems.

EDIT 2: I think this needs to be in troubleshooting (didn’t notice which subforum I was in). Could a mod move it?

I’m going to go ahead and bump this. Today I had a review of “Law and Power in the Islamic World” that Devonthink could not find when I searched “name” for “Islamic” (the file is named “Review of Law and Power in the Islamic World”). DTP also couldn’t find the other hundred files with “Islamic” in the title. It’s an awesome program, but if it can’t find basic words in a filename, I’m not impressed enough to drop $80. This is ridiculous.

Just a little thought: are you sure that the pdf you are looking for includes a text layer. Some pdfs are listed as “pdf” and some as “pdf and text”. DT will only be able to see inside the latter kind. The former are just like photographs without text.
If by some chance this is the issue, you’d have to OCR the pdf using either DTPO or Acrobat or something else.

I haven’t really had the kind of difficulty you are describing except in the case that there was no text layer in the pdf.

As I say, just a little thought. I’m sure someone else will have a greater thought some time soon.


Thank you for the response. The PDFs I’m speaking of in these cases are “PDF+Text,” but that’s not even the issue. It seems that DTP can’t even search the filename (sometimes). Two sample (made up) to help illustrate the problem:

File 1 = “Bob goes to the zoo.pdf”
File 2 = “Jane goes to the pool then the zoo.pdf”

I search “name” for “zoo” and get both hits. I then search for “pool” and go no hits. To make things worse, a restart seems to fix the issue (sometimes).

Sigh. I have no idea what’s going on. Either the little Find box in the top right corner is broken, or I’m doing something completely wrong. Right now, I can search my Inbox for “Islamic” and I find plenty of PDFs. I search for “Islam” and nothing comes up, despite the fact I’m looking at about 10 PDFs with “Islam” in the title. WTH is going on? Definitely not paying $80 (nor recommending DTP to others) unless this gets figured out.

It might be worthwhile to download the DEVONthink manual and familiarize yourself with the various search tools/options in DEVONthink. The most comprehensive search is by using the search window (Tools>Search or command-shift-f). The toolbar search field you are using can give restricted search results based on the current selection. It sounds like you are searching in the toolbar with the “In Selection” option set, when the actual documents are located elsewhere in your database.

OK, thanks. I’ll look into that.

No, doesn’t appear to have been the problem. I disabled the checkbox and search a group of files. If I searched for “Islamic,” files 1,2 & 4 were displayed. If I searched for “Islam,” file 2 was not displayed and “no items found” appeared. I’m pretty sure I’m searching correctly, so I’m starting to wonder if this isn’t a bug, or perhaps a database issue. Thoughts?

By default DEVONthink is looking for complete words, therefore islam does not match islamic. You could use the substring operator (~word) or wildcards (word) or enable the prefix while typing option of the toolbar search.

Oops. I meant to say “file 3” for “Islam.” Thanks for the fuzzy shortcut, though!

So to be clear, if there are 4 files, and 3 have “Islamic” in the name and one has “Islam,” DTP successfully searches for “Islamic,” but fails for “Islam.” I’ll try to grab a screenshot today.