Requesting Feedback/Help Breaking Down Diverse Documents

Hello all! I am a newish DT3 user taking on my first big project, and would appreciate the input of this dedicated community to guide me on my Journey. I have decades of meeting minutes and probably over 5000 motions made that I would love to isolate from the minutes and classify for further synthesis to tell different stories about the organization based on its actions. I have a plan and a question or two as follows:

Note: I think I prefer the group/replicant model of classification because of the nesting structure and the fact that I just like the folder idiom.

So far, my minutes files are grouped by year and have the meeting date as a prefix to the filename. What I intend to do is open each set of minutes, copy & paste each motion into a separate MD file and save it into a group of all individual motions named to reference the source file and date. Now for each individual motion, I can replicate it into whichever topical folders I find useful (i.e. expenditures, rules nominations, constitutional changes, etc.). Once done, I hope to have a rich source of related organizational actions that can be used, for example, to easily update the constitution with reference to the meeting wherein the change was approved, review approved expenditures when auditing the books, or compile the latest version of the rules.

First question: Am I reinventing the wheel or otherwise taking on an unnecessary amount of work to accomplish some of the goals listed above? The main reason I feel the need to atomize the motions is that it cannot always be determined from a search which topics are appropriate until I read it, and I want to be sure I’ve looked them all over. It may be that annotations or some other kind of note tied to the document may serve the same purpose, but I haven’t thoroughly explored these options and worry (probably unnecessarily) about preserving the option of exporting my work from the DT3 environment should the need arise.

Does a script exist that can automate the process of copying the selected text and pasting it into a new MD file named to reference the source document and saved in the predetermined group? I’m happy to dive into any scripting tutorials that might exist if I can expect to get something working in a few hours. Otherwise, I should just bite the bullet and start the grunt work.

I’ve read enough of the forums to know that I shouldn’t agonize over my process too much and just get to work using DT3 to see how it goes. I plan on getting back to this within the week and not spend more than another half-day setting myself up to leverage the available technology, but I do think it’s worth a forum post to make sure I didn’t miss something obvious.


I suggest using tags to indicate topics. Tagging a document puts a replica of the document in the tag group(s) you assign. Just makes the process of divvying up documents by topic faster.

A quick way to do this is select text in the source document, control-click the text to bring up the contextual menu. In that menu select Services > DEVONthink 3: Create Markdown Document, and select the destination group. You can shorten these steps with keyboard shortcuts. This method does not always successfully preserve hyperlinks in the text.

But, unless there a must-have reason to use Markdown for clipping, then select the text you want to clip and click-hold-drag it to a group where a new RTF file (or RTFD if the selection includes images) will be created.

(I know it’s currently the fad to make complicated scripts for DEVONthink – scripting is not really a good answer for most of what DEVONthink can do for your analysis, in my opinion. The software already has superpowers, no need to add to them.)

Thus you’ve read all the good parts of this forum! It’s best to go heads down and work out your needs as you go.

1 Like

Thank you Korm. I appreciate your advice on tagging and will proceed accordingly. Whatever is fastest is my preference. I can alway go back and group the tagged items if I decide that really need groups.

I’m running into a problem following your advice on converting snippets of PDF text into individual files (Format isn’t all that important as long as it’s portable). When I use the context menu Services > DEVONthink 3: Create Markdown Document command (or any other DT3 command) on the selected text, all I get is a little muted beep like OSX is telling me I asked it to do something invalid, and when I attempt to click-hold-drag the text, it does not drag at all.

Copy is available in the context menu, so copy and a custom (from clipboard) template can at least get me some of the way there, if nothing else works.


The next release will fix this issue.

Oh ok, that’s good to know. Thank you all for responding so quickly. I think I’ll take this opportunity to try my hand at customizing a template to learn something useful and help split the difference on manual tasks while awaiting the release.