Spotlight not picking up files in DT database

Hello all,

I realize this problem has been brought up before, but the files in my DT database are not visible to a Spotlight search.

I have tried:

  • Checking and unchecking “Create Spotlight Index” in DB Prefs
  • Clicking rebuild button in DB Prefs
  • Rebuilding the Spotlight database using “sudo mdutil -E /”
  • Restarting Framework services using “/System/Library/Frameworks/CoreServices.framework/Versions/A/Frameworks/LaunchServices.framework/Versions/A/Support/lsregister -kill -r -domain local -domain system -domain user”
  • Exporting and reimporting files

Anything I forgot to try? Should I try to repeat some of these fixes in a particular order?

BTW I’m using DevonThink Pro Office 2.0.9 on OS X 10.6.7.


Are the files visible to Spotlight when they are not inside a DT database? Or files of a similar type?

Are the Spotlight preference for Search Results switched on for the file types you are looking to search? (If your files don’t correspond to one of Spotlight’s categories, they might not appear in Spotlight results.)

Check your Spotlight Privacy settings to ensure you are not excluding the location where the DT database is stored.

Choose to show all results of the Spotlight search.

If I export the file, then yes, it is immediately visible to Spotlight.

Most of the files I am using are pdfs. I checked this just to be sure, and those files are included in the search.

My DT database is in my documents folder, which is included in Spotlight prefs. However, my Library (both at / and at /User) folders are not included. Would that throw Spotlight off?

Thanks for the response, Bill!

Even with show all, the searched on file does not appear.

No, it shouldn’t - if Documents is not a descendant of the Libary (it normally isn’t). If Spotlight is finding other, non-DT, files in Documents, then it’s not excluded.

Your search should be on or include your user directory, not just Documents.

The Spotlight index information supplied by your DEVONthink databases is stored at ~/Library/Caches/Metadata/ and will be in a folder named for your DEVONthink application, e.g., ‘DEVONthink Pro 2’ for either DT Pro or DT Pro Office.

Check to see if there is content in that folder. Mine has almost 600 MB of indexes.

If you have a Sharing & Permissions error, the index data files can’t be written, and so won’t be available to Spotlight.

Earlier today I did a Spotlight search. The original display of results didn’t show any documents that contain the search results and that are in one of my DEVONthink Pro Office databases.

But when I tell Spotlight to show all the results, and sort them by Kind, there are more than 200 documents in my databases that meet the search criteria. Double click on a listed item and it opens within the DT Pro Office database.

Thanks for following up, Bill.

I have a bit more than 4 GB of data in that folder.

I have “Read and Write” permissions on that folder. Just to test, I set the permissions on that folder and (its children) so that Everyone can “Read and Write,” but there was no difference in Spotlight.

Double-checked this-- no results from DT at all.

Would a screenshot of something help?

See the screenshot of the ‘show all’ list of Spotlight search results. Note that your search MUST include the indexing information sent to Spotlight, as those are the files that must be searched to find items in your database via a Spotlight search.

See the little DEVONthink shell icon in the first of hundreds of documents found by that search query?

I picked the query term, ‘murphy’, at random, but among many thousands of documents there are almost certain to be some that are by someone named Murphy, or that mention or are about someone named Murphy. Perhaps even a mention of Murphy’s Law. :slight_smile:

Sorry, Bill, I meant to ask if I should send you a screenshot. :smiley:

But I recognize the DT icons from your search. I don’t have any of those in my results. In fact, this used to work months ago (I’ve been using DT for a few years). It stopped working and I’ve just been working around it.

I would say that was around the time I started using Textexpander, but I don’t that would affect anything, do you?

Just as an FYI, here is a search on “Faber” in Spotlight:

And here is one in my DT database

Hopefully you can see enough of those pics to make sense of them.

Frustrating, isn’t it? :slight_smile:

According to your screenshot, displaying the coverage of the Spotlight search, all of the documents found in the DEVONthink search for ‘Faber’ should have been displayed in your Spotlight search results.

As I recall, TextExpander is a hack to the operating system. Is it involved in your problem? I don’t know. Perhaps it is interacting with something else on your computer to result in a problem.

A way to test that would be to use the Snow Leopard Guest account to test this. Copy one of your DEVONthink databases to the Guest account, make sure Spotlight indexing is turned on in Database Properties, and allow Spotlight time to index that information. THen try a Spotlight search. If your DEVONthink documents show up in that environment, the focus of suspicion will be on the software installed in your normal user account.

Might be a red herring. I’ve had TextExpander loaded over here for around 45,000 hours and have never observed any negative interaction with Spotlight, DT, or anything else for that matter. Simple enough to test. It’s an app. Quit it, and try your searches.

BTW, @davidleitner, have you applied all available system software updates to your machine? Tested and repaired permissions with Disk Utility and/or Onyx (for example)? Done a full shutdown and restart of the machine? Removed all Spotlight privacy settings, rebuilt the indexes, and restarted?

If I log into Guest, then Spotlight finds DT files PERFECTLY!

Very encouraged after Spotlight and DT played well together as Guest.

I removed all Spotlight privacy settings, and then rebuilt the indexes-- that did it!

I now have full Spotlight functionality!

Thanks, Bill and Korn for all your help!