suppressing links

If I record a URL, I normally prefer that it be without formatting. If I want to do normal formatting such as cut and paste, apply styles, etc., either for onscreen or print purposes, it’s too easy to hit a link with the wrong touch or gesture and inadvertantly launch browsers or email or other applications and thereby lose a lot of time, analogous to fighting annoying web popups. Seemingly, “paste with current style”, shift-command-v, should do it, but doesn’t, and neither does running it through a plain text editor like TextEdit. Is Devonthink looking for html code and syntax? Does Devonthink “plain text” contain invisible link attributes? All I’ve found that works is converting the file to plain text and then converting it back, but the double-tier process is annoying, and couldn’t be used where local formatting needed to be preserved … forcing me to triple-tier? I hope there’s a simpler process.

(Devonthink isn’t the only program with this problem. Apple’s Pages is similarly annoying, and doesn’t seem to strip out the link information with a conversion to plain text. I can get rid of the link information by copying into a text editor such as TextEdit and then recopying the text as plain text into Pages, which is a double-tier operation that should be only one. As I recall, MS Word is also idiotic and aggravating in its definition of plain text vs. plain-plain or plain-plain-plain text.)

Hyperlinks – together with the accompanying special formatting – can be removed by selecting the linked string and choosing Format > Remove Link.

I have a different view of links and their formatting in my database documents. Hyperlinks are in a sense like pagination in books. When reading a book, I may see a reference on page 15 to a note on page 86; I can turn to page 86 and – sure enough – the note is found. Consciously or not, we have many conventions underlying the ways in which we create, print, distribute and read books. Hyperlinks in a computer-readable document can be analogous to page numbers, so that clicking on a linked endnote “flips” to the portion of the document that holds that information. But hyperlinks can be richer than that; they can lead one outside the confines of the document that’s being read, to other documents, whether local or out on the Internet. Hyperlinks add information to a document, and we’ve adopted conventions to cue the existence of that information through link formatting.

Just as I wouldn’t want to remove the page numbers from a book, because they provide useful information, I don’t generally want to remove hyperlinks, or the cues to their existence, from the documents in my database. Links enrich and often vastly expand the information content of text. When I see the cue to the existence of a hyperlink, I know there’s information present that could not be presented in a plain text document, or in a printed paper document.

I just stumbled upon a good description of the value of links in a database. Much of the following also applies to Devon Think:

(from a blog on taking notes)

just a guess, but did you turn off the wikilinks option in the preferences?

BTW, in Microsoft applications you can quickly remove formatting on selected text with ctrl-space.