Still no SPOTLIGHT support?

:cry: This is crazy… I purchased Devonthink Professional over a year ago and kept hanging on expecting support for spotlight month after month… while EVERY other note taking program added Spotlight support within a month or two after spotlight came out. I am shocked to see that Devonthink STILL does not have Spotlight support.

What kills me is that when they finally add it, they are going to want to charge me an upgrade fee, when in all honesty, I have not been using the program all this time because Spotlight was not supported.

This really bums me out, because it was the most expensive of my note taking programs, yet I don’t use it.

Oh well.

Hi, chassssy. If you’ve been following the forum, note that Spotlight support has been noted many times as a feature to be included in DT Pro 2.0.

But let me turn your point upside down. I’ve been disappointed so far with Spotlight, and hope it gets significantly improved when Leopard is released next year.

On the other hand, I put all my files that are important to me in appropriate DT Pro databases. My main topical database has about 20,000 documents. And content searches on that material are usually several orders of magnitude faster than a Spotlight search, and the results are far more useful as I’m in a more powerful working environment (including AI assistance) than just inspecting a Spotlight search list. :slight_smile:

Thanks Bill for the response. I understand that you might be unhappy with Spotlight performance, though to be honest, Spotlight is one of the best features EVER offered on a computer, because I can find anything on my computer by searching in one place… which works great with my notes being in say MacJournal for example (has Spotlight support) and documents in folders all over my computer.

I LOVE the power of DevonThink Professional, I just would have thought they would come out with Spotlight support a little quicker. They are probably losing a lot of users because of this delay… I was just trying to get the conversation going again, because I get the feeling Devon Technologies doesn’t consider Spotlight support important enough to get it integrated sooner than they have.

Spotlight is very important to me as well, and I use it many times each day. As a temporary workaround, I regularly export my DEVONthink Pro database via a customized version of the Export/Daily Backup script (my version puts the backup in a special backup directory I use for many programs, within a date- and time-stamped sub-folder which is then zipped for archival purposes).

The downside is that this is a manual process, and the exported files may not always be in sync with the DEVONthink Pro database.

The upside is that I have regular backups/archives of my DEVONthink Pro database’s contents, and (of course) I can search them with Spotlight.

Bill, one reason Spotlight is critical to so many of us is that it can search many files that DEVONthink Pro cannot index (such as PowerPoint presentations, Excel spreadsheets, Pages documents, etc.), and we often NEED search results of both our DEVONthink Pro-indexed content and those files we don’t have (and don’t want to have) stored or indexed in DEVONthink Pro.

I will throw my two cents in here. I don’t particularly care at the moment if DT works with Spotlight because I find Spotlight useless for serious searching. If nothing else, the lack of a preview feature, forcing me to open found documents one at a time, kills the deal. If you want to see what Spotlight should have been, check out FoxTrot (no relationship with me). It can be a bit quirky and there is not auto update, but the updates are fast and the program rocks. Oh yes, did I mention it supports Boolean searches?

All I can say is that without FoxTrot, I would have to go back to Windows in order to use Copernic Desktop search.


Funny, I don’t think of DT as a notetaker; for me it’s a super search tool. I rarely use Spotlight. It’s not selective, and I can’t see the file contents with it. To view a selected file it calls the creating app and you search from that. I don’t have the time. I’m currently writing a review paper, and have 140 research papers and reviews as PDF’s, and a bibliographic index of 800 citations all in DT to support the work. Without DT, I would need photocopies of each paper, complete with highlighted sections of interest. They’d be piled on the floor around my writing desk, and I’d frantically be digging through them for every point. With DT I’m totally paperless, I let it do the searching for me. Here’s an example; I read somewhere that the intestine has the largest population of bacteria known to man. Searching for ‘bacteria density’ DT designated the paper I wanted as the second hit. I opened it within DT and found the sentence I needed. Spotlight put it fourth in the PDF section, after 96 generic ‘documents’. I recognized it because I titled that paper, normally the PDF gets the first author’s name and the publication date.
I just purchased DT yesterday (couldn’t stand waiting for the demo screen to fade away). I would have loved to have waited for version 2, but I couldn’t write without it (and I have a research paper to start on after this).

DarylF2, that’s a very legitimate point. There are many file formats that DT Pro cannot index, although we hope to be able to capture the text of some of the more important file types that are currently “unknown” in the future.

I collect PowerPoint and Keynote presentations about topics of interest to me. I generally use Pages 2.x to finalize writing that I’ve drafted in DT Pro, adding footnotes and header and footer and improving the layout, and perhaps set up bookmark links to endnotes, for example. (If I’ve got to supply a document in PDF or Word format I usually polish the document in Pages and export as Word and/or PDF.) I’ve made Powerpoint and Keynote presentations. I sometimes use Stone Design’s Create application to set up a Web site or printed document (although less frequently nowadays). I will sometimes use an outliner that’s not readable by DT Pro.

So I’ve got documents that can’t be directly read by DT Pro, but if they are important to me and can be printed under their parent application I add them to my database via the DT Pro script that sends them to the database in “printed” PDF format. And that means the information in those files is now available in an appropriate DT Pro database.

For example I’ve got a database for financial records. My online banking and investment statements go into that database along with OCR’d scans of relevant checks and other paper material, PDF tax documents including federal and state forms and instructions for each tax year, notes and the scans of tax filings and PDFs of Excel or AppleWorks worksheets. Putting that material into a DT Pro database means no paper clutter, and the ability to immediately find anything I need to look for. (And of course I make an external backup of the database.)

It’s the information content of the files, especially in the context of an overall topical database containing many other documents, that’s important to me, because I can then explore the content in many ways. Such a database becomes a working environment in which I can do many more things than Spotlight allows, such as annotating and linking items, adding notes and comments, etc.

I do a lot of writing about environmental science and technology and related policy and graduate training topics. The large database that I “live” in when I’m doing that contains information from many sources, both directly readable files captured by Import or Web sources, PDF versions of documents from “unknown” file types such as Powerpoint or Pages, and OCR’d scans of a great many paper documents (my file boxes are growing smaller, thank goodness).

There’s a synergistic effect in creating such a DT Pro database. Because DT Pro “knows” the text content of all the documents, individually and collectively (that’s important for the AI features), I can do searches and textual analysis across the database rather than hop-scotching about in a variety of file types.

Rather like Vannevar Bush’s concept of the Memex machine, my DT Pro database becomes a virtual machine that lets me view, analyze and “mark” information content in new ways, adding my own concepts to what’s already existing.

Confession: As a 13 year old high school student in 1945 I read Vannevar Bush’s article in the Atlantic Monthly and it affected me deeply. I never forgot it. Back in 1969 I was able to put together one of the first computer-based environmental technical information centers (ESAC at Indiana University), but it was still very crude compared to the Memex. Now I’ve got DT Pro and DEVONagent and can construct information virtual machines that are faster and more powerful than the Memex – with very exciting developments coming down the pike.

So my general response is that I can and do collect all “unreadable” file types that contain useful information into my DT Pro databases. It takes me seconds to do so (I suppose it could be scripted or automated, but I find that it takes me longer to decide whether I want to add a document than the actual act of adding it takes). True, it takes additional file space to create a PDF version of an Excel worksheet or a KeyNote presentation, but hard drives are big nowadays. So I just grab what I want.

And my primary use of Spotlight is to browse for new items that I might want to add to a database. My comment about searches inside databases being orders of magnitude faster, and more useful, than Spotlight searches stands.