Switching to a Mac - evaluating DT

Hi. Well, it’s decided I just ordered a Mac and an looking to try DTP or DTPO. I have a couple of questions:

Background: I now little about Macs, a lot about PC’s. One of the tools I’ve been using is MS Onenote, which I have found very useful. I am trying to replace it or find a better tool. It looks like DT will do most of what I would need, except…

Question 1: I have seen posts about Tags, pros and cons. Fact is I like being about mark a particular part of a document as important and belonging to a subset of information. There seem to be some suggestion how to handle this. Does the current version support any kind of taging that can them be searched?

Question 2: I frequently receive pdf files with text and graphics for lectures I go to and one of the things I liked about Onenote was the capability to capture these (by drag-and-drop or print to) and then I could mark them up with a pen feature, wacom tablet, etc. Is there anyway to do this with DT?


You can add comments and use them like tags, and yes, you can search on them.

For example, I have the comments column as a default view in my browser. I entered “roygbv” in the comments field for one file and then performed a search on that term.
As expected, the file to which I added the comments was the only one that came up in the results.

I find traditional tagging almost redundant in DTP however, due to the generally good search functions.

Also, you can create smart groups based on certain words. For example, using the smart groups - all words checked script, I created a smart group for “roygbv”. As expected, one and only one file appears in that group.

You cannot mark up pdfs in DTP. You can use Skim (it’s free) and print the marked up item to DTP using the pdf print services built in to OS X.

Alternatively, you might print to pdf from Skim and, using the cups + pdf package, print all of your marked up pdfs to a specific folder and them import or drag and drop selected files to DTP.

From what I understand, Leopard may bring native OS X-based pdf markup capabilities to us, which we hope to see in DTP 2.x.

Welcome to OS X and have fun with the app.

Thanks for the reply. DTP looks like a great AP. I understand the premise that DT does your searching…

QUOTE: “I find traditional tagging almost redundant in DTP however, due to the generally good search functions.”

Perhaps you could suggest how best to handle the following situation:
I’m doing research, finding a lot of good info and storing it in DTP for reference and future study. I run across a topic that I want to looking into later. Normally, I would ‘highlight’ the passage and flag it “Research” So that I could come back to it at some future time. I might even have many of these topics to look into later and want to pull up a list of them.

NOTE: I am not ‘marking’ and entire document, but rather a word or phrase within a particular document.

How would you best go about this?


You can also open a PDF with Preview and add highlighting or annotation.

I make heavy use of the artificial intelligence features of DT Pro. When I’m viewing a document I can press See Also and see a list of other documents that may be contextually related. Of course, DT Pro hasn’t been trained in chemistry, or economics or law; it only looks at patterns of words used in documents. So it’s up to the user to be the expert and to decide if a document on the list is really pertinent to his interest. Nevertheless, the results are so often useful that I call DEVONthink the best research assistant I’ve every had.

A segment of text and be selected and Control-clicked (right clicked). Choose the contextual menu option See Selected Text and a list of other documents that may be contextually related is presented to the user. This is especially useful when one is looking at a long document that contains several topics.

I can select text (one word or multiple words) and press “Command-)” to initiate a search. The search options can be set for All Words or for Phrase.

I can select a word and Option-click on it. A drawer slides out to present a list of other documents that contain that word.

If I’ve opened a document in its own window, a Words button appears. Click on it and a drawer slides out to display by frequency words used in that document. Click on a word and it is highlighted in the document. Double-click on a word in the list and a search for that word is initiated.

In the Search window (Tools > Search) there are Spelling and Context buttons. I often find them very useful. For example, if one searches for China, then presses the Context button it’s likely that Shanghai will appear in the list. Select “Shanghai” and the search results change to a sub-list of the search results containing that term.

I can replicate sorted and selected search results to a new group, and then perform sub-searches on that group. Or I can create a smart group that automatically updates and adds new material when I click on the smart group.

I rarely do tagging. My databases are topically organized and for some of them I’ve spent years pulling together a reference set on that topic, so that I’ve got thousands of documents in a collection. My research interests for a topic often change, so if I depended on tagging I would have to filter through tens of thousands of documents with a new tagging scheme. Instead, I can interact with DT Pro to let me tackle a new idea and I’ll quickly have access to the documents that will be useful to explore that idea. Tagging requires thought and effort on my part. I leave most of the effort up to DT Pro.