Outline Function?

How do people use the Outline function in 1.7.1? I think I understand how to make an item an “outline item” but I don’t see a practical application for this.

Initially, I thought outlining had been built into the Rich Text editing function (which would be great by the way) but now that I know how it really works, I’m at a loss about why or how to use this feature.

I assume I’m just not “getting it.” How do other people in this forum use the outline function?


You’re not alone, as a longtime outline user (In a dozen programs from ThinkTank to Circus Ponies Notebook), I can’t claim to understand how DT is an outliner, at least any more than the finder is. To my mind, a folder structure and checkboxes don’t amount to an outline.

For now, I’m using CPNB as my outliner and DT to hold articles etc, and what i REALLY want is to be able to link an outline item in NB to one, or several, items in DT. Now THAT would be useful.

I use Circus Ponies’ NoteBook in tandem with DEVONthink and use DEVONthink’s Lookup service to do, in effect, just what you requested. Here are some examples of how to do this from NoteBook:

[1] Link to a specific DT content by name.  Select the complete name of the DT item, press Command-/. Your view switches to the DT Search window. In DT, select search option ‘Name’ and press Return. DT will find the specific item instantly. Requirement: The item name must be entered in NoteBook precisely as it is in DEVONthink. (I keep a running log of my DT entries in NoteBook, so I use this method often to find items.)

[2] Link to one or more DT contents by searching the DEVONthink Comment field from NoteBook (this is a neat trick). Select the search term in NoteBook and press Command-/. Your view will switch to the DT Search window. In DT, select search option ‘Comment’ and press Return. DT will instantly find all the DT items that meet your intent. Requirement: You must have inserted the term of interest into the ‘Comment’ field of one or more items in DEVONthink. (I sometimes use this trick to mark a DT item that is ‘tied’ to something in a notebook.)

[3] Link to one or more DT contents that contain the term(s) of interest. Select the term(s) in NoteBook and press Command-/. Your view will switch to the DT Search window. In DT, select ‘Content’ and then choose the And, Or or Phrase search mode and press Return. For example, if my notebook contains the string “Roger J. Williams” and I want to check related items in DEVONthink, I would select the string in NoteBook, press Command-/, then select the Content/Phrase options in DEVONthink. Amazing!

Note: I usually have the DEVONthink search options checked for ‘No Case’ to avoid capitalization differences in my terms.

Very slick, Bill.  Thanks for these tips.

One problem I’ve had in this regard – I’ve never had much luck using the keyboard equivalents for the DT services.  “Take Rich Text” has been particularly problematic.  It almost always just gives me a “beep” sound, without taking the desire note. I’ve assumed that this was a problem with the OS’s implementation of services, not a DT problem per se.

Have you any insight on this?  Christian?

There  have been reports of DT features not functioning properly when Unsanity Haxies are installed. I have several installed and don’t have problems with DT though.

Taking a rich text note via the kbd works fine for me running 10.2.8 (and when I was using 10.2.6). Are you able to use the services menu to take a note to DT?

How are your note prefs in DT set up?

No Haxies installed.

Yep, no problem at all when selecting service “manually” via mouse.  It’s the keyboard shortcut that’s problematic.

Sometimes I find that the Shift-Command-) keystroke doesn’t work. But if I go to the Services menu and manually select the DEVONthink ‘Take Rich Note’ service, it works – and the keyboard shortcut works afterward. Same for the ‘Lookup’ shortcut; if it doesn’t work, use the Services menu selection, and then the keyboard shortcut works for subsequent lookups.

I don’t know what causes the problem, or why it goes away after selection of the service command from the menu. ::slight_smile:

Thanks, Bill.  That’s exactly the behavior I experience.   :’(

The view I prefer is Note Pad. Like others here, I don’t understand the the Outline view and will look for enhancements in future releases.

I do, however, like having the ability to show checkboxes intead of miniature icons. I can see creating project To Do lists and for marking as “done” documents that needed smoothing. Since this feature appears to be separate from the Outline view (correct me if I’m wrong), changing its name in the Get Info window to something like “checkbox” would remove some of the confusion over the Outline view. Also, the first place I looked for changing an item’s icon to a checkbox was the contextual menu.

Try to install HotService - this input manager should fix this problem (at least in Cocoa applications like Safari or Mail).