Note formatting and export

screenshots are usually saved on temporary folders, so if you want to paste it in a markdown note you should first move it to a secured folder.

Others upload the screenshot to a cloud service like imgur, but I understand it’s public access so it might not be the best destination for a screenshot.

See: DEVONthink and screenshots | are my screenshots lost?

I use both. Craft for notes, DT as a repository for documents (scans, receipts…) that I link into Craft as needed. The one thing that would make that much easier is a means to copy with a Markdown format from a document in DT.

Devonthink works for me because it doesn’t hold me back when I want to do things my own curmudgeonly way.

For instance, DT’s RTF editor is fine for quick notes. Nisus suits me nicer for writing something longer.

If a DT note needs to graduate, I just double click it. There it is in Nisus. Two mouse clicks runs a Nisus macro that fixes up the styles. As quick as that I’ve jumped the gap with a note that started in a simple editor to working in a full-featured word processor.

Best of all, I didn’t have to trust Devonthink to choose the right word processor for me.

Uh, hmmm… That sounded callous. Honest, I don’t have trust issues with Devonthink. It’s my favorite application. If I had to choose between my old pickup truck and Devonthink, I might end up walking no matter how much my dog likes my pickup.

That’s how much I like Devonthink.


I wonder if anyone here remembers and appreciates the convenience of “old school” WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editors. (That took a lot of asterisks!).

Having started on the Apple II and continuously learned and re-learned how to edit using ever more sophisticated apps, I just want to open an editor, take a note, drag things into it or do whatever formatting formatting I choose and immediately see the results, a feat achieved 25 years ago by Microsoft Word 97 and 20 years ago in OpenOffice.

How can this be so hard? So many great RTF editors out there, and so many great HTML editors.

Somehow this all seems like a step backwards, a return to the days of arcane formatting commands, trying to make attractive documents with VIM and various post-processors, etc.

I’ve learned markup now, but I still long for a fully functional WYSIWYG editor in both DEVONthink 3.x and DTTG.

Or a plug-in editing environment? And visually perfect conversions between formats.

I realize that DEVONthink started as an attempt to make it easier to organize and retrieve…and explore collections of…documents, but document creation and editing, especially of notes, has become more important as I’ve come to appreciate the beauty of DEVONthink. I would love to see it grow into a fully integrated environment supporting strong document and note authoring and editing features.

I’ve been playing with external editors in DTTG and while one can finally round trip documents from, say, DTTG to Bear or Notebooks, using the share menu is cumbersome. So, again, a more complete editing environment in the DEVONthink products would be a plus.


Markdown is used by “cool” people. licence to join that crowd.

i also remember Word Perfect, DisplayWrite, AppleWriter, Vydec, Wordstar, etc. Even first versions of Word was cryptic.

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One of the great features of DT is that you can open a note with your editor of choice
I often open formatted notes with a text editor to access the html code
My daily journal note is a Pages document, and I use the Apple Pages editor

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HTML is not about WYSIWYG and has never been. It is a markup language, styling is out of its range.

The same holds for markup. They are explicitly not about appearance but about semantics. So your expectations are misguided in these cases. PDF, Word and the likes are made for WYSIWYG, though. Which, btw, requires a fixed page format. Something you can’t have on the Web.


Not everyone is interested in exclusively working with content explicitly formatted for publication on the web, DEVONthink has other uses and users who deserve a decent WYSIWYG editing option, preferably built into the app.

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You were referring to RTF and HTML editors in the same phase. That made me assume that you were suggesting HTML as a Wysiwyg format which it is not. In fact, the only format coming close to Wysiwyg in DT is RTF. So basically you’re asking about “decent WYSIWYG support” for RTF in DT.

Why, if there are already many good RTF editors (your words)? Reinventing a wheel is a pointless exercise.

DT is not a WYSIWYG text wrangler, nor is it a spreadsheet program, nor an audio mixer – although it supports RTF, tables and audio files. Would it add full editing etc support for all these formats, it would become a completely unusable behemoth.

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Not everyone is interested in exclusively working with content explicitly formatted for publication on the web

I’d estimate this would be a small number of people actually.

a decent WYSIWYG editing option, preferably built into the app.

What’s wrong with the rich text editor already available?
It uses the same text engine as TextEdit.

And as we keep reminding people here, it is so easy for people to store their WYSIWYG documents (Word, Pages, etc.) inside DEVONthink and use their favorite WISIWYG tool to work on them. Built-in is what’s already built in to the OS’s in Mac anyway.

It is so, dare I say, old-fashioned that app’s are to be self-contained and ignore the enclosing features of the operating system and other apps. Way DOS and mainframes were.


@yhchad – I’ve been through this format-choosing process myself recently, and bounced around between formats for a while. Perhaps the following info will be a bit helpful…

Dragging in images/screenshots was an important consideration for me. I wanted to have them (a) sync, along with the document, with DTTG, and (b) be pinch-and-zoomable, along with the note, in DTTG. As far as I could tell, it was not possible to achieve BOTH (a) and (b) with either Markdown or RTF. (I would be very interested in hearing from more experienced users if this is incorrect!).

I have ended up using RTF as my default format. I have created a template that incorporates the style I like (mainly fonts and a background color) that shows up in the DT toolbar, so I can click that to create a new document.

When I need to drag-drop images into the note (or create a more complex table), I upgrade the document to Word. My “upgrading” process is manual, and rather painful (open the RTF document with Word, and clean up formatting manually). Thereafter, I continue to work with it in Word. For me, an advantage of this is that I can then also open in Word in DTTG. And I can pinch-zoom to view images and tables. A disadvantage is that the note as displayed within DT and DTTG loses the additional formatting that Word has provided.

In regard to “upgrading” a note, @Amontillado seems to have a much more automated process:

@Amontillado – would you be willing to say a bit more about how you have set things up so that a double-click on the document in DT upgrades it to Nisus…? If I could adapt that to open in Word, that would be very helpful. (And then I would need to figure out a Word macro to fix the formatting). Knowing about this workflow hopefully might also be useful for @yhchad …?

I don’t think wysiwyg is specific to the file format
The term is specifc to the editor
DT provides editors with a wysiwyg toolbar, and renders contents for display
Screen Shot 2021-07-31 at 15.11.39
I select B instead of enclosing text with <b>…</b>
(that’s html code; I don’t know the RTF code)

Hi, @dayknito - it’s not terribly complex.

I set the Devonthink Preferences option to open documents externally. Nisus is my default RTF editor. You can change your default applications in the Finder.

The Nisus macro is adapted from things I found in various places:

$doc =
File.requireAccessAtPath “~/Documents/Nisus Documents/Style Library/Blog.rtf"
$styleDoc = “~/Documents/Nisus Documents/Style Library/Blog.rtf”
$doc.addStyles $styleDoc.allStyles, “replace”
Edit:Select:Select all
Format:Paragraph Style:Body first paragraph
Format:Remove formatting except styles
View:Draft view
Find and Replace ‘\n\n’,’\n’, “SaE”
Edit:Select:Invert Selection

First, it loads a style library called Blog and sets the paragraph style for everything in the document to Body first paragraph.

It switches to Draft view, which is my personal preference for where to work in Nisus. Then it changes all the double newlines it can find to single newlines.

Finally, it turns off the text selection.

Very OCD of me to bother with a macro like this. On the other hand, I use it all the time.

I think I prefer Mellel to Nisus. It’s probably not for everyone. I like it because it is a dreadnought of a word processor. A four million word document will scroll smoothly end-to-end, and nothing is laggy.

On the other hand, Mellel doesn’t have macro support. That’s not necessarily a killer, because the document format is transparent. I even wrote my own mail merge in Python, reading a master Mellel file and a CSV, and writing Mellel output files. Easy to do without specific library support.

Sadly, and this is no doubt a personal failing of mine, I avoid Word. It’s a fine tool. It’s just not for me.

Nothing, as far as it goes. I use DTTG so much, I suppose a lot of my comments actually reflect my frustrations with that product.

Oh yes, old fashioned I guess it is. Ideally in my mind, I want the app to offer the same features across a range of OS´s and environments, even if it doesn’t completely comply with the (don’t even know the term these days) GUI, Human factors, interface style of each OS. Openoffice or office libre are fine with me because I can use them identically regardless of the OS I’m using at the time. is that old fashioned? But still, whatever is old is new again, in my opinion. Apple is somehow converging the look and feel of IOS and MacOS now, so there will be fewer differences in appearance and interface style. If they would just provide a decent rtf editing framework for IOS that you could build on I suppose I would be happy.

DEVONthink is Mac OSX only, and if you are seeking it to run on Linux and Windows, just a hunch here, but that’s never going to happen as I’m pretty sure DEVON Technologies has no interest in making that sort of investment. I could be wrong. If they did, I’m pretty sure I could not afford the product due to cost to develop and support. I sort of think most DEVONthink users–those with experience with the product–think the same.

I thought you were saying that you wanted DEVONThink to provide better WYSIWYG writing features. Now that you mention Openoffice as what you use (?), then please note you can use store the OpenOffice documents inside DEVONthink and then directly open those documents into OpenOffice for you to get the WYSIWYG features–without DEVONthink having to provide it. That’s the great feature of DEVONthink.

Thanks for pointing out this wish, but it’s sort of off-topic for DEVONthink.

Meantime, recommend you look into using your favourite tools with DEVONthink rather than instead of. Or use other products that provide the built-in tools you prefer. Your choice.


For whatever reason, Apple long ago decided RTF would not be treated as an iOS-native format. Due to that we have had to employ a third-party framework in DEVONthink To Go.

We are currently working on our own editor for DEVONthink To Go. I can’t say when but a new one is coming.


Thanks very much, @Amontillado – I really appreciate your taking the trouble to provide such detailed information.

Ah, yes! I had not set any default for RTF in Finder (I almost never used RTF before I started using DT). Thanks!

I understand – I try to avoid Word as much as possible as well, preferring LaTeX. In the present case however, Word AFAICT is the only format that provides the image handling across MacOS and iOS and pinch-and-zoom feature on iOS that I want.

Thanks very much again for all your help!

That’s great to hear!