Painful to get at DT pdf documents from outside DT ?

I have all my PDFs imported into DT, since the files are now supposedly stored and accessible as normal file-system files. I typically use Skim to read my PDFs and do not wish to change that.

Sometimes I do not have (or want) DT open, but still want to read the files. I do a spotlight search and see a “xyz.PDF” document. However, it’s not my PDF file. That “.PDF” file will open only in DT. If, from Spotlight, I do “Show All” I get the finder window, and the “xyz.PDF” file is marked as Kind “DT Pro Document”. I cannot “Open With” Skim. In fact, the file pointed to by Spotlight is NOT the same as the PDF file I see if I actually open DT and do “Show In Finder”.

Everywhere else on my Mac my PDFs appear as Kind “PDF” and open automatically in Skim.

What do I need to do so I get the same behavior for the PDFs I have imported into DT?

The only solution is to index the files you want to use without DEVONthink instead of importing them.

But the vanilla PDF files are on the file-system, are they not? “Show in Finder” shows them under


Is DT actually doing something by design to keep these vanilla PDF files from being indexed by Spotlight? Can’t Spotlight be made to (effectively) look inside the DTdb package?


Yes; the .noindex extension on the Files.noindex folder is responsible and intentional.

DTech probably doesn’t want to make it too easy to poke around and make changes in Files.noindex that accidentally break DT.

Actually, you’re encountering limitations of Spotlight when it has to deal with embedded data that is contained in database records. What Spotlight indexes is not the document as it is imported in your database, but rather the representation of the record that references it in that database. There is no easy way to get at the original document without writing extra code nor can we hand the document to Spotlight without losing the important metadata that you put into the database.

There are two solutions using either AppleScript or Automator. I’m happy to tell you that, as an exercise for the upcoming Automator support in the next public beta, I just created an action called “Get Record from Spotlight Item” and a sample workflow that will do exactly what you want to achieve (but of course it needs to open the appropriate database and thus start DEVONthink Pro (Office) in order to resolve the Spotlight reference). I will add this as an example and you could add it to the Finder’s contextual menu after we ship it.