Printing all text notes linked in a single text note/page


Thank you for reading this post! I have a fairly simple problem, but I’m struggling to find a solution (I’ve searched). I’m trying to print (or PDF) all of the notes linked in a single note. The notes part of my database works a little like a wiki and so many of the relevant sections are linked to a note (rather than, say, being stored in a single folder). Sometimes I like to systematically review material related to a single note (or, say, speed read it in Voice Dream Reader), but in order to do that I need a way of amalgamating all of the notes from the links present in a single note.

There is a way of doing this with PDFs on a webpage. Firefox has a nifty add on that allows you to extract and download all of the PDFs from a single webpage. I’m looking for something a little like that but for notes linked to any one note in my database. Any help would be much appreciated.


Please define what your “single note” format is.

It sounds like you have what basically amounts to a “table of contents” note that links to multiple other notes that are spread across different groups in your database?

There are two issues that have to be solved:

  1. collecting those documents in one place
  2. merging all of the documents into a single document to be reviewed or speed-read as one.

1 is a bit tricky since I think this will largely have to be done manually. I think the use of tags and smart groups is the way to go to work this out. If you cmd-click each of the document links, the document will open in a new tab. You can tag each document with a tag (say “tempTag”), then create a smart group to collect every file tagged with “tempTag”. This is a pretty quick process for, say, maybe up to a dozen files. Beyond that it seems a bit futile.

You can then select all the files in the Smart Group and use the merge function.

Merge will try and create a single document out of all of the selected documents. This works best if the format of the source documents being combined is similar, so for example, combining .txt, .rtf, .md will work pretty well (you’ll probably get a .rtf in return). Combining multiple PDFs works well too, you’ll get a single PDF.

Mixing source documents gets a bit tricky. Merging .rtf or similar with PDFs will likely spit out a .rtfd file that shows the merged rich text documents and thumbnail-links to the PDFs, so you are not going to get the full PDF text.

Thanks so much for the quick replies. In answer to Jim’s question, the notes are almost all in .rtf format. The context is that in order to probe a topic for my research the most effective method I have found is to write out a list of questions and then turn those questions into links (each page gives my best current answer to that question). It’s a very proactive way probing a topic. I’ve tried keeping all of these questions and answers in a single note, but you don’t get quite the same overview.

Thanks so much for your reply Scott. I’ve tried out your method. Here’s what it looks like I can do currently: 1) cmd+click each link to open it into a new tab 2) navigate to each tab manually and press a shortcut to add a label 3) navigate to a smart folder which looks for that label and press a shortcut for “merge”, and voila, you have the full document to export.

Let me know if I’ve misunderstood any of your steps. If you or Jim or anyone else can see any way to save time in any of these steps, I’d much appreciate hearing about it (or if there is any quicker alternative out there).


As a variant to @scottloughleed’s suggestion – which is excellent in itself: If you select one of your documents and choose Data > See Also and Classify, a sidebar on the right of the DEVONthink window opens. In the “See Also” portion of this the files related to that selected document will appear. You can select one or more of the documents listed there and choose Data > Merge to get a new document that combines all the selected “See Also” documents.

This works well with RTFs or Plain Text documents – less well with a mixture of file types. And in a complex database you might get false hits in “See Also” – that’s why you need to select carefully the ones you will later merge. Merging documents does nothing to the original documents, by the way, so you won’t break anything.