Safari Clip: Rich Note option desperately needs added

Despite all the powerful features, I’ve discovered DTP is not capable of an efficient workflow to capture text/images off the Web. It almost does it correctly, but no single method exists for a good workflow to capture Web information efficiently.

The single solution to fix this is to add Rich Note as an option in the Safari clipper.

Let me explain.

The requirements (for me and I would think most everyone) for web clipping:

  1. Grab image and formatted text (and only the selected items)
  2. Ability to select database to save to
  3. Ability to add tags

True, the clipper grabs web pages nicely (and has criteria 2 and 3 above), but there are significant, unfixable problems with that option:

  1. It’s rare I need the whole page so why add the data bloat.
  2. The capture grabs all the ads, blinking boxes, expanding ads that overlap text, etc., etc. I never see those since I have Safari extensions that filter them out, but DTP captures everything. Browsing captured pages in DTP is a visual nightmare and difficult to read/focus on what was original captured.

There are various ways to grab selected text, even as a Rich Note, but none offer the database selection/tagging on the fly that the clipper does. Every other DTP option for doing this will require either manually moving out of the inbox, manually renaming the clipping in DTP, manually tagging, etc. On a single clip no biggie; doing a hundred+ a day adds unnecessary hours (not to mention mouse fatigue).

Since I’m about to go into research where I’ll be clipping bits of text from about a hundred pages per day, the lack of a good workflow to capture just what I need is a big concern of mine in committing the upcoming project to DTP.

And before anyone suggests the flashing ads, and capture of full pages is moot when one uses DTP’s search engine, most my follow up research will require browsing what was clipped, not browsing via searching. Can’t wait to wade through hundreds of pages with all that noise and flash and distraction of entire pages when all I was saving was a few paragraphs.

Bottom line: please get Rich Note as an option in the clipper ASAP. This has been mentioned before, and the response has been to point out the various methods for Rich Note capture, but they are all inefficient. Think a hundred clips per day, not one or two.

Plain note doesn’t cut it, the Services shortcuts fall short, and the various Rich Note options in the program all require too many extra manual steps for efficient research work flow.


How does the Services shortcut fall short? For years now I’ve done everything you are wanting to do with command-shift-0 to take a rich note and command-shift-2 to append to a rich note.

That does work, but then you have to go to DTP, select the clip in the inbox, add tags, move it to the appropriate database/folder. Those extra steps magnified hundreds or thousands of times in a research project add up to lots of unnecessary hours not to mention breaking the research focus.

Using the clip button in the browser, those two settings are there in the workflow as you clip each item. Huge, huge difference. In a typical session, the focus is on the search material. Interrupting this at every clip to switch to DTP and fuss/move single clips is not good.

No, you don’t. Set your import preferences to Destination: Select Group and this is what you will see when you make a selection and invoke the command-shift-0 shortcut.

Add your tags, select a destination, and you are done.

Ah, great tip! Had no clue that was an option.

Still like the idea of Rich Note option in the clipper, but must say this will work nicely.


Thanks for posting that, Greg_Jones. I had never explored that option and it helps.
But with the clipping service, with or without this setting option, one cannot append to the most recent clip. DTPro bounces out its doc icon as if performing the append but it doesn’t take place.

I’d like this to be changed.

A series of RTF notes can be combined by selecting them in DEVONthink and choosing Merge from the contextual menu.

DEVONthink’s icon bouncing in the dock doesn’t mean it is appending notes, it’s just signifying that the most recent action was performed without DEVONthink having the focus. Sometimes the bounce means DEVONthink is displaying a dialog that needs attention, such as the “group selector” dialog.

korm replied,

Thanks, Korm, I hadn’t remembered this. Unfortunately, it does not replace the “Append” action that is unavailable to notes taken via Clipper. One reason to use the Clipper is to put notes in Groups as the notes are taken. Using Merge rather than Append means remembering to return to DTPro before depositing new notes in some other group, otherwise the user is unlikely to do that once more water, and topics, have flowed under the bridge. So one must choose between the convenience of classifying with the Clipper, and that of Appending without it.

As Greg noted, I also use the Service to capture a selected area of a Web page as rich text. Select, then press Command-) to make the capture. If Preferences > Import - Destination is set to Select group, a HUD will appear to allow choice of a filing location.

I rarely bother to assign tags when adding new content, as I can’t justify the time and effort. But that can also be done within the HUD.

The Append Rich Note Service will append new content to the most recently created rich text note.

If it’s useful to preserve the layout of graphics or tables within the selected area of a Web page, the selected area can be captured as WebArchive by pressing Command-%.

Excluding irrelevant areas of a Web page can not only save significant storage space, it makes searches and the AI assistants more efficient.

These Services do not work properly (or at all) in Chrome or Firefox, which are deficient in compatibility with OS X Services.


I am still unable to get the Append Rich Note to work when I use the Clipper.

The dock icon bounces when I use the key command for Append Rich Note, same when I do it by selecting the menu option from Services, but the chosen text is not appended to the previous note.

This has been the case ever since I started using the Clipper months ago.

I am still using Lion, 10.7.4, though I wouldn’t think that is so far behind that it should matter here.

Okay, I started doing clippings using unique text strings so I could see where they went. The first time, both the first Rich Note and the Appended Rich note text were added on to a previous clipping made weeks ago. That was pretty odd, but it happened that way.

When trying again, I made sure that Inbox was definitely selected as the destination, and since then the Append Rich Text has worked as it should.

No explanation but as long as the service keeps working, no problem! If anyone else ever observes this please add your experience to the thread.

I never use Clip to DEVONthink to capture as rich text. I don’t want to capture the full Web page, but only the selected area of the page that contains the information I wish to capture to a database.

To do that, I select the desired area of a page and press the keystroke shortcut for the OS X Service to capture as rich text, Command-).

As I have set Preferences > Import - Destination to Select group, I can choose an appropriate group in which to file the new content, via the HUD that pops up and allows choice of any filing location in any open database.

This allows me to quickly capture just the article content, including formatted text, images, tables, lists and hyperlinks – but to exclude all irrelevant material including ads and other text content not related to the article. This saves storage space, and by excluding irrelevant text improves the efficiency of searches and the artificial intelligence assistants.

But don’t try to do this in Chrome or Firefox, as they don’t properly handle the Service.

Note that the Reader option in Safari will provide a display of only the main content on the page, such as a desired article. Just click on the Reader button, then press Command-A to select the presented material, then Command-) to capture it. This is especially convenient for pages such as those that extend over multiple pages, as Reader will load all the parts of a multipage article.

I rarely need to append additional content to such a rich text capture, but it does work.

Is it a bug that using the Capture Web Archive service on Safari Reader pages creates documents with safari-reader:// as the URL prefix? Using the Take Plain/Rich Note services and Save PDF to DEVONthink Pro printing workflow creates documents with the URL of the non-Reader page, like I’d much prefer Capture Web Archive would do.

[Edit: Christian’s reply to the ticket I submitted says “the next release will fix the URL of the web archives provided by Safari.” Thanks!]

The issue for me is Chrome. The service cmd-) works great in Safari for clipping in rich text, but in Chrome for some reason only a plain-text clipping service is available. Any thoughts why?