Notes with images and math formulas

Hi all,
I am using DT to take my notes and I mainly use RTF format because I often have pictures and sketches on them.
Sometimes I need to write formulas on my notes but as far as I know only markdown format supports Mathjax.

The issue for me is that pictures in markdown become a link-hell with multiple files and I want to avoid that, so I am asking for advice about these possible solutions:
1- Using external application like Pages/Word loosing the chance of fully DT access (search inside is still available but with limitations)
2- Creating an HTML note with a markdown editor that exports in HTML (eg MarkText) and get the markdown style and the possibility to edit the note in the future with an html editor or with DT itself (any advice on a good HTML WYSIWUG editor ?)
3- Other?


The question of images in notes has been discussed very often here, I doubt that the arguments for one or another format have changed much. So maybe a forum search is your best bet to get an idea of what people think on this.

Aside: HTML also only links to images (unless you really, really want to use data URIs, blowing up your files to a huge size and making handling them a unwiedly, since the images are then stored inside the file as base64 encoded blobs. So, you either have a “link hell” (whatever you mean by that, given that the whole Web is basically that), or you have a “file hell”.

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That is correct and not uncommon among Markdown editors.

Thanks for your answer @chrillek , I did an extended forum search before posting and I know the issue still persists, so I was looking for the slickest workaround possible without creating troubles (as the huge HTML files I’ve noticed but I wasn’t aware of the cause, thanks for explanation)

The 3.7.x & 3.8.x releases actually included several options and clipping changes related to Markdown. See also Preferences > Files > Markdown and Tools > Import Online Markdown Images.

Which issue? MD is what it is: A shorthand to make producing HTML easier. As @cgrunenberg said, recent releases of DT improved image handling somewhat, e.g. by optionally putting them all in the same group. But the fact remains that links are used by Markdown to reference content.

It’s either that (i.e. referencing content, which means organistional overhead) or including content, which means bigger files (think Word, Pages etc. Although Word should have a referencing variant for images, too). Tertium non datur, and that’s what I meant when I said that the arguments for one format or another have not changed much.

FYI, now without hassle you can use either or both Apple Pages or Microsoft Word to write with equations embedded, and you can store those files in DEVONthink, open using the “Open With …” feature. DEVONthink built to integrate as easily as possible with other applications in the macOS ecosystem.


That was what solution 1 was pointing to. I am aware of that, but there are clearly some limitations in dealing with pages/word files inside DT.

What are the limitations you see? Maybe we can help.

I can globally search through the file but I can’t search inside the single file, TOC linking system doesn’t work so I have to manually scroll and so on.

I just did a test. I created a new Word DOCX with some unique text and then duplicated it three times. I searched for that unique text using DEVONthink’s search box, and it was found instantly. I selected one of the documents, a “single” one, and pressed CTRL-F and a search box for that single document came up. I then successfully searched for that unique text, and found it instantly, in that single document. So I am not sure what you mean.

I also do not know for sure what you mean by “TOC Linking System” or what you mean by manually scrolling. So, I did a test by creating another Word DOCX file, added a few Heading 1,2,3 styles, added a TOC field at the top. Imported into DEVONthink. Yes, when displaying the Word Document inside of DEVONthink, which uses Apple’s file viewing technology, the TOC links are shown in blue with underlines but do not click into the referred headings in document. To avoid “manually scrolling” (as you mention), while the single document is selected, in DEVONthink, pick “Open With…” and select Word and all the features of Word, including (what I think you mean) “TOC liking system” works.

I don’t see any of the above a “limitation” that you see when in fact you can also use Word’s images and math formulae in the document as Word is built exactly for that sort of complex document. Waiting for someone (Apple?) to “fix” Markdown, HTML, or RTF seems like “Waiting for Godot” :wink:

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On word/pages file I have this issue with “Find”:
the search box is unusable.

The Search inspector will not be enabled unless the view/edit pane is open and displaying a file. Do you have the view/edit pane open?

If so, many proprietary formats are shown in Best Alternative (often a PDF image representation of the file). Choose View > Document Display > Text Alternative with the file selected. The search field should enable.

Here is an example with a Word document, showing the Text Alternative icon enabled…

In addition to @bluefrog 's comments and way to do this, the way it also worked for me as reported above is when I first do the "global search, then I pick the “single” file and it displays in DEVONthink, then the CTRL-F find that you show is active. That seems to activate the View → Document Display → Text switch. Just selecting the file doesn’t seem to activate the Document Display switch if not already activated.

I’m not seeing this behavior but I’m also running a Ventura beta with our internal beta :stuck_out_tongue:

\three moments later…
N, in the public version I’m not seeing the document display changing when selecting it from search results then pressing Command-F.

Same here. but a subtle difference (unless my Brain Fog getting in way).

If pointing at the document without doing a global search CMD-F does not activate the search box on the document if Document Display is not “Text Alternative”. Simple as that.

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Have we overcome all your limitations?

Partially, yes.