Searching...feel I am missing a trick

Example: I want to search for all references to “Michael” in a 600 page PDF, which is in DTOP on my desktop and also synced to DTTG on my iPad. It was scanned with OCR on and is a shown as “PDF and text” document on DT.

On the iPad I can use the search button and get a dropdown which shows all the occurrences with a few words of context. I can browse down the list to pick the ones I want…see screenshot attached. This is great.

I can’t find any way as good within DT on my computer. Only a method where I must click “next” to go through them sequentially. DEVONsphere doesn’t produce a list like the iPad. Tools-> search highlights all the occurrences of Michael, but I have to scroll through the 600 pages to spot them.

What am I missing?!


Nothing. Highlighted search terms are only presented sequentially in a PDF result in DEVONthink.

From DtPO you could open a PDF document externally in Preview to view/select search results in its sidebar similarly to DtTG’s search popout. With large documents that could often make it quicker to locate the same pages in DtPO’s PDF viewer.

What a good idea, thanks for this.

Thanks very much all. As you can tell I am still getting comfortable with my tools before leaping in to my paperless world.

My summary of searching PDFs on the computer is:

  1. Opening a PDF in Preview will enable a browsable search (in the sidebar) very similar to the DTTG/iPad result. Forgot about the sidebar option yesterday, thanks sjk. Screenshot attached. This shows 74 pages with the name “Michael” occurring.

  2. Searching just the large PDF from with DTOP using cmd+F with the large PDF selected but not open, finds the name occurrences sequentially, which is OK for a small doc with only a few hits.

  3. Using Tools-> search finds the large PDF and highlights all the name occurrences as you scroll through it, but does not pick out only the pages with required name on. I can scroll through all pages and it shows the name highlighted if it occurs on that page.

  4. Neither Spotlight or DEVONsphere will list all the hits within the PDF, only that the name occurs in that PDF.

So horses for courses. Small PDFs with a few occurrences, methods two and three are fine.

Thanks for the help

It would definitely be helpful if in future version search could return each occurence of a found item in a pdf together with a short extract for context.

It would mean I could largely avoid using acrobat or preview just for this functionality


I intended to imply that in the workaround I suggested (which this topic inspired me to think of) but it doesn’t hurt to be more explicit. :slight_smile: