smart group of excel spreadsheets

Simple question. How do I make a smart group of just excel spreadsheets. Or numbers documents? I see the “kind” selector, but I can’t see how to select “xls”.


See viewtopic.php?f=2&t=10397

I tried that. Extensions were hidden on import and none of the files have that in their name. I can see DT has picked up that they are kind “xls” - why on earth can I filter on “Copyright” and email headline, and not on file type?

Is this “feature” getting fixed?

I keep trying to like DevonThink - it was very expensive. But time and time again I come across these basic failures in functionality.

So now I have to keep all the files in Finder, index them in DT and use a spotlight smart group in finder when I want to browse that particular file type.

That is too much trouble.

Louisiana politicians have come up with some memorable phrases. One of them that I’ve taken to heart is this one, attributed to Senator Russell Long: “There are more ways to kill a cat than by stuffing it with butter.” I take that as as a reminder that if the first way one thinks of to do something isn’t avaiable, there’s often another approach that can accomplish the objective. In an environment as rich as DEVONthink, that’s usually true.

I prefer not seeing filename suffixes in the Names of my documents, so they are not displayed. That means that I can’t search for those suffixes in Name searches.

If I’m looking for Excel documents, I can’t isolate them in a smart group either, as the ‘Kind’ or ‘Other Kind’ smart group approach doesn’t isolate only .xls and .xlsx filetypes, in the same way that I can create a smart group that lists all my PDF files. It would be convenient if DEVONthink were to add the .xls and .xlsx filetypes to the Kind list in smart groups in a future release, but that doesn’t help today.

richlyon found another approach, using Spotlight to seaarch for the Excel files in his database. As Spotlight can search for those files by the filetype suffixes, that does let him identify the Excel files in his database(s), including those that are currently closed (that latter point is something to keep in mind). The disadvantage of that approach is that it’s difficult to then sort that list of Excel files by some of the convenient sorts available in DEVONthink, or to easily search that list for other characteristics, perhaps Flag or Label, or by content that’s limited to Excel files within the database.

Within DEVONthink I can do much the same by database using a search or smart group that contains all the contents of the database (or by a smart group based on Other Kind), or by the History view for that database, then doing a sort by kind to isolate the .xls and .xlsx files. I add a sort column by Kind (View > Columns) to make the Kind visible. And of course I can create a search that finds all documents in all open databases, create a smart group based on all databases search, then edit that smart group to restrict it to display of documents with "Other Kind’, which will include Excel files and which can be sorted by Kind.

As I often want to quickly find and work with Excel, Numbers, Powerpoint or Pages documents in my databases, I keep an open databases-wide smart group named Other Kind in the left Sidebar (with Global Inbox) and a similar Other Kind smart group in several of my databases. These smart groups have the Kind sort column (and others as well), so that I can sort by Kind.

Now if I need to slice and dice a collection of Excel files, I can create a new group that holds only Excel files and DUPLICATE them (using the contextual menu option, ‘Duplicate To’) from a selection of Excel files displayed by a Kind sort in an Other Kind smart group. True, that’s a static group representing the files collected at a particular time. If I add more Excel files, for example, to a database I need to remember to update that static collection of Excel files. Alternatively, I could Tag the Excel files instead of grouping them, remembering to use that tag for each new one added.

Yes, it would be more convenient to be able to create a smart group for Excel files within DEVONthink. But as that ‘butter’ isn’t presently available, I found another approach to accomplish a similar objective within the environment of DEVONthink.

Bill, you are correct that there is more than one way to ‘Skin a cat’ as we use the phrase around here. However, I believe that richlyon is correct also when (s)he says that it is too much trouble. Creating static lists is, in my opinion, an iffy solution as eventually there will be documents that do not get duplicated/replicated or tagged. Creating smart groups that include kind=other and sorting the results by kind to isolate a group of documents is messy also.

Personally, I think the entire ‘Kind’ search criteria needs to be revisited. The limited criteria worked well in the 1.x days when only a limited amount of filetypes were supported in the database. Now with Quick Look in 2.0, just about anything can be included in a database. Personally I would like to see a change of some variation where the current ‘Kind’ of Group, Smart Group, and Feed move to ‘Instance’ and the Kind criteria changed to File extension is/is not _____. As has been mentioned, DT recognizes the file types now, so why not modify the searching tools to utilize that data?

Thanks Bill. That’s not going to happen, I’m afraid. My fault - I should have checked it implemented “intuitively obvious” functionality before I spent the money.

I get enquiries from others about my attempts to wrestle with DT. Obviously, I can’t recommend it.



I conceded your point that finding Excel spreadsheets directly by Kind isn’t available, although if I’ve got a smart group for ‘Other’ Kind I can quickly locate Excel spreadsheets.

But to emphasize that is to ignore what DEVONthink is about, which is to help the user work with the information content in a database, which may come from a variety of filetypes. Whether I’ve got information in sheets from Excel, Numbers, Papyrus 12, Sheets or a PDF of a sheet — or a mix of these filetypes — it’s the information content that’s most important, and the developers focus on that level.