Services: taking a note

I know it’s possible to highlight text in a document and export it to a new note, with a control/click. Is it possible to export it to the same document as a previous export so that as I review a document I can be making a document with all the highlights. I do that now by coping in the one doc and then pasting in the note that I’ve created. Just wondering if it’s possible to expedite that so I don’t have to leave the first doc. It’s not a big deal, but when I’m working on my laptop, it can be annoying to search around on the small screen to find the second document underneath the one I’m reading.


Does Services > DEVONthink [Pro Office]: Append Rich Note (shortcut cmd-@) do what you want? It clips text to the DTP document that’s currently in focus, I think. If there isn’t one suitable, it creates a new document with the selected text (or part of it) as the title. There’s a version for plain text as well.

You have to have it enabled in System Preferences > Keyboard Shortcuts > Services AND you have to have some text selected for it to appear in the Services menu.



Hm. I’m on a Mac so perhaps that’s why your suggestion doesn’t seem to be relevant. not sure.

DEVONthink operates only on Macs. @brookter’s suggestion is the solution you were looking for.

Okay, thanks. I’ll noodle around and try to sort this out. thanks.

What that does for me is take whatever I’m highlighting (I’m working with a document in Devonthink) and adds it to the title of the document. I want to export it into another devonthink document that is also open.

That’s not what the Take Rich Note / Append RIch Note services do.

As @brookter wrote, enable the services (a one-time setup):

  1. Open System Preferences
  2. Select Keyboard
  3. Select the Keyboard Shortcuts tab
  4. Select Services
  5. In the right-hand panel, scroll down to the Text section of services
  6. In the Text section of services, make sure that these services have a checkmark next to them:

DEVONthink Take Rich Note
DEVONthink Append Rich Note

Close System Preferences

Back in DEVONthink, go to a document and select some text with the mouse. While the text is selected do either of the following:

  1. Open the DEVONthink > Services menu, or
  2. Press control+mouse click to open the contextual menu, then chose the Services menu there

You’ll see theses services

DEVONthink Take Rich Note
DEVONthink Append Rich Note

Click Take Rich Note to make a new RTF note using the highlighted text. Click Append Rich Note to append the highlighted text to the most recent note that was created by clicking Take Rich Note.

There are default keyboard shortcuts assigned to these actions. Using these shortcuts you won’t need to use the Services menu:

Take Rich Note —> command-)
Append Rich Note —> command-@

Like all text services in OS X, there must be text selected in an application before the service will work. If you are selecting text in a plain text file, you’ll need to use the Take Plain Note / Append Plain Note services instead. If you are selecting text in another application (not DEVONthink), the services will work there, too.

The new note / appended note are created in whatever DEVONthink group has been set in DEVONthink > Preferences > Import > Destination.

It’s simple! Took me 50 times longer to explain than it takes to actually use the feature :laughing:

Another possibility, if you have a pre-existing document (RTF or plain text) is to open that document in its own window. In the document from which you want to copy text, select the text with the mouse, and then click-hold-drag that text to the document that is open in its own window.

Bingo! Thanks for your patience.

Thanks for the great detailed description Korm!

It seems for me that only the “append plain text” seems to work but not “append rich text”

just as the “take plain note” work well but not the “take rich note” in the same services menu.

Maybe it is just me?

Anyway it works well and thanks for the support!

The available service menu options are contextual. The take plain text service should be available in just about any document, but the take rich text option is only available when text is selected that has formatting information (1). Make a selection in a plain text document, and take rich text option will not be available.

(1) Even then, some applications such as Chrome do not support capturing rich text (which is one of the main reasons that I have not switched to Chrome for all my browsing).

Not that I’ve got this figured out, I’ve got a follow up question.

If i’m looking at a long pdf and I take a note, when I append that note, i can’t add any information. I want to add a page number so that i can keep track of where quotes are coming from. I could start a new note with each quote, but they would really stack up.


You might want to experiment with the merge command-select a group of like documents and right-click, merge. It is a nice means of doing just what you want with multiple notes. The order of selection of the documents matters as to how the merged documents will appear in the new document, so play with it first to get comfortable with the results.

did someone really buy devonthink so they could spam?

I hate spammers!

The spammer has been removed from the forum and all his spam posts were deleted.

Suddenly, I cannot for the life of me figure out how to start a new thread. where the heck is that button. I’m losing my mind. Thoughts. I feel very embarrassed by this, but I don’t see that anywhere. Help!