.rtf files

When I import or drag .rtf. files into DTP several things happen:

  1. The file will open in DTP and can be edited in DTP and can be open with “open with.”
  2. The file will automatically index, and appears in DTP as read only.
  3. The file will automatically index, and does not appears in DTP as read only, nor can it be opened with “open with” in any application.
  4. The file will automatically index, and appears in DTP an can be opened with “open with.”
    I am getting a little frustrated with DTP because it seems that the program itself is taking too much concentration and mental energy to work with. If I don’t remember to save files in the proper way, I lose my changes. If I don’t remember to re-import a changed file, the changes are not reflected in the database the next time I open it. And now this rtf. thing. I have no idea how to make the most efficient use of all DTP features, even though I have been through the documentation two or three times. I don’t have this problem with Photoshop, Illustrator, etc. which are even more complex. I guess I am going to have to build some kind of table or cheat-sheet that I can refer to or just go back to using the finder which I don’t hve to think about.

I think I stumbked onto the solution of my problem. The DEVON-storage file has to be removed from the finder folder ot properly reimport a file; then a new DEVON-storage file is created…I think.

Jerry, there are two ways of capturing files from your drive into a database.

Import, or drag & drop: The file is copied into your database (with the sole exceptions of Word .doc files, in which case rich text is captured but the actual .doc file remains linked to but external and without synchronization; and “unknown” file types, which are ignored unless the option to capture them is checked in Preferences > Import).

Imported RTF files can be edited, and invoking Open With will allow them to be opened under any appropriate application (although editing and saving in another application can produce unexpected data loss of the edited file, unless one realizes that ‘Open With’ is not the same as ‘Edit With’ for text-type files).

Index, or Command-Option-drag & drop: Text content from ‘known’ file types will be captured into the database but is read-only. Indexed documents retain a Path link to the original file, which remains in the Finder. “Unknown” file types will be linked if that preferences item is checked. Using ‘Launch Path’ will open the external file under its parent application, while ‘Open With’ will open the file under any appropriate application. Edits and saves result in modification of the external file. There is one-way synchronization from the external file to its counterpart in the database, so changes in the external file result in changes in the database content (but not the reverse).

There can be good reasons for using one or the other capture modes in creating a database, or even for mixing the capture modes in the same database.

Indexed captures result in a lower memory overhead when loading a database. Indexed documents – especially text-type documents – require less thought by the user when external edits are made, especially for Word .doc files.

I recommend Index captures of MS Word documents for anyone who needs to frequently edit and/or print them in their original form.

In my case, as I favor highly portable databases, I want them to be self-contained and so I use the Import capture mode – which means that I hate Word files and avoid them as much as possible (often converting them to PDF).

I encourage new users not to regard DT Pro as some sort of replacement for the Finder. Don’t simply Index your hard drive into a database. For one thing, if you have a great many files, the database may become unresponsive unless you have a lot of physical RAM. For another thing, that may reduce the effectiveness of the artificial intelligence features of DT Pro, which have become indispensable to me.

I’m managing well over a hundred thousand documents among a number of databases, each with a different purpose reflecting my interests and research needs. And I’ve got many, many thousands of other files that I have no current intention of placing into my databases.

My main database is topical, focussed on my professional interests in environmental science and technology, policy issues, laws and regulations in several countries, and international environmental science exchanges and associate resources for graduate studies. As a result it covers a broad range of scientific and engineering disciplines, toxicology and health effects, laws and regulations, economics, and so on. But it’s topical, the contents really do have relationships to each other, and I make a great deal of use of DT Pro’s ability to suggest relationships between documents in my database using artificial intelligence assistants such as ‘See Also’. I keep it ‘trimmed’ to a size of about 21,000 documents and about 24 million words, and it’s very responsive on my laptop.

By contrast, I’m building another large database dealing with environmental sampling and analytical methodologies and associated quality assurance methods, problems and methodologies for evaluating environmental data and so forth.

Clearly, those two databases are topically related. Why separate them? Two reasons: (a) combining them would result in a database with sluggish performance on my MacBook Pro with 2 GB RAM, and I wouldn’t like that; (b) when I’m doing research, for example, on toxicology and health effects of mercury in fish, I don’t want a ‘See Also’ list to drown out the ‘interesting’ material with a great deal of minutiae about the technical details of preparing and analyzing samples of fish flesh.

Future versions of DT Pro will allow larger databases with even more speed and future Mac notebooks will allow lots more RAM. Even then, however, I think there will be advantages to designing modular, topical databases. I’ve got a version of my two environmental databases described above that combines them into a single database. My Power Mac G5 dual core with 5 GB RAM runs that database with respectable speed. But the ‘See Also’ results for a document about health effects of mercury in fish really do show the problem of too much minutiae about sampling and analysis. Quite often, less is more.

I use DT Pro not just to store documents, or to search across a collection of documents, but to help me analyze the information content of my references and, perhaps, see relationships among concepts that I hadn’t thought of.

Regarding the Read-Only aspect of rtf files: as of 1.3 we are supporting this part of the RTF specification. So if the RTF file is marked as read only by the original editor, our application will not allow you to change it. You can then select Data > Convert > to Rich Text to make an editable copy of it.

Excellent thread thanks! I had some databases that I had imported and it was a pain for various reasons. In case others may benefit - or I have done something wrong I will elaborate a bit.

I have an iMac with 2.5Gb and a MBP with 1.5Gb of RAM. My setup is to use ChronoSynch in order to basically transfer my iMac contents to the MBP - total portability like Bill prefers.

With imported files every time I opened a DTPro database ChronoSynch would require the entire database to be transfered even if I made no changes - I understand why. This of course could take a while with my main research database as it was well over 1Gb and looking at 2Gb.

Given the above info I decided to try on one of my smaller databases to see if indexing was more appropriate for me, looks like it. Since I had imported the files into DTPro when I first set things up I then deleted the files on the HD. When I wanted to change this database to indexed today from imported I did an export of all the files. I then ran Automator to delete all those special files DTPro creates on an export, worked fine. I then did the index, LOVE IT. Can edit documents on my HD or from within DTPro (using the Launch App of course) and the document and the database are updated, provided of course I do a synch. And therein lies the rub.

I would love to figure a way so that when I OPEN that database it will just go ahead and automatically synch so I do not have to cmd-a and then synch. I looked around and could find nothing I understood, anyway. I did see something about a synchronization script in the Online Help, but not being an applescript guru wanted to check here first to see if that is my answer, and if so, how do I use it?

Thanks for a most excellent product, my life is sooo much better, now I just have to figure out DA and off we go.

Oh one more quick sidebar - can I have DTPro and DevonNote on the same machine? I know you might ask why if I already have DTPro, but I was wondering.



Hi, Carl. Yes, you can run DT Pro and DEVONnote on the same computer.

The only problem might be a bit of a contest over which application has the keyboard shortcuts for Services such as Command-) to capture a rich text note. If DN were to capture that one from DT Pro, just temporarily remove DN from the Applications and logout/login.

I’m running both DTPO and DEVONnote with no problems.

Thanks Bill! I assume since you made no comment on my import/index experience all is well there.

I must tell you, if I could find the time I would be more than glad to engage your services on a consulting basis for a couple of days, travel to Idaho - when it gets a bit warmer and I could sneak a trip to the golf course - and have you completely guide me thru the DTPro and DA best practises.


Sorry forgot, is there a way to automatically force the db I am opening to synchronize on opening or is it always a manual thing?