Searching within Excel or NeoOffice Calc docs via DT

Scenario: I search for a term within a folder containing files (indexed) created with MS Office (Excel, Word) and NeoOffice (Calc, Writer). Using DT2 for Mac and MS Office is version 2004.

I get a list of results and go checking through the individual docs to find the context of the term and the number of instances within each doc. I do this from within DT.

No problem with MS Word and NeoOffice Writer, but I can’t do the same with the Excel and Calc docs. I have to open the original file and do the search in each one individually.

Isn’t there some way to search within spreadsheets from DT?


There doesn’t yet seem to be a plugin that allows DEVONthink to read in and index the text content of Excel sheets that were saved in the .xlsx filetype. But if the same sheet is saved as a .xls file, DEVONthink can read it and search for text content.

So: Save your Excel sheets as .xls and DEVONthink will find what you are looking for.

I don’t know about NeoOffice, but I suspect a similar issue.

OK, DT tells me the term appears in the .xls (or .ods) file, but there’s an important difference in what happens after that.

If I select a .doc or .odt item on the results list, the contents of the file open in a pane below the search list with all the instances of the search term highlighted. If I click on “find next” I can go through the document and find all the instances, each one highlighted.

If I select a .xls or .ods item on the results list, the contents of the file are visible in the pane, starting at the beginning of the document. None of the instances of the search term are highlighted and all the “find” items in the menu are greyed out. The only way I can find the instances is to go to the file itself, open it and search there.


That’s true also of other file types where the primary display in DEVONthink 2 is done by Apple’s Quick Look, such as Pages or Mail.

Click on the little ‘Text’ icon in the navigation bar above the document pane to see the text content of the document.

That did it. All the formatting and table layout gets lost but it’s good enough for a quick overview when I need it.

Thanks a lot.