Tagging and searches

So i’m not sure I understand what’s going on with tagging and searching for tags. I have just added multiple tags to many documents. There does not seem to be an easy way to search for tags in various combinations.

First, there does not seem to be any way to use the search box at the top to limit your search to your tags. It seems the advanced search option or using a smart group are the ways to limit your search to your tags. This is not very efficient.

Second, the same issue exists if you want to drill down or filter using tags. I want to see all files that have multiple specific tags in common. Searching for more than one tag using AND in the top search box yields nothing. You must use OR which is just like selecting multiple TAG groups that give you a combined list of contents. You again have to use the Advanced search utility.

None of this is an efficient use of tagging. Maybe I’m missing something.

Try going to the “as Tags” view (rightmost view button in the toolbar). Your tags will show up as a list on the right. Select the first tag you want to filter by. The display will show only those files that match. Then option-click on any other tags and the display will focus down to only the files that have ALL of the selected tags.

It doesn’t directly answer your question about searching but it does seem to provide the results you’re looking for. Helpful?


I’d suggest you take a look at Ammonite, now available via the built in AppleStore (10.6) or at http://www.soma-zone.com/Ammonite/

Currently - in my opinion – implementation of tags within DTP(O) is still wanting. Ammonite enables to search for tags within a tag-cloud and built pretty complex queries. including a timeframe.

Definitely worth the 6 € (!!), unlimited try-out shareware.

I still lobby for a better implementation of tagging in DTP(O) (via HUD), tag-cloud-view, searching, smart-folders/groups with tags… etc.

Best Regards,


I agree 100% with everything Rolf said. You can also search here on ‘Ammonite’ for some discussion of what it will do.

Also, for indexed databases, Punakea deserves a look. I’ve indexed one of my databases just so I can use Punakea’s excellent tag retrieval feature. I really would like to see DEVONthink’s Tag view evolve into a cloud view like the one in Punakea.

Yes, this is very helpful. Thanks for the tip.

It looks like Ammonite is something I should get. While the above feature is good, proper tag search functions will be more useful in the long run. This is particularly true when you have a lot of tags for different subject matters.

Thanks for all of the advice!

I would love to see DevonThink’s tag view evolve into almost anything at least slightly better then where it’s at right now. I know tags were a new 2.0 feature and there are many different aspects of the program being constantly worked on, but right now tagging is really dismal in comparison to what other much more basic apps can do.
I’m over in that camp that uses DevonThink and depends on stability and isn’t going to start adding different add ons that may decrease the overall stability of the programs.

Re: stability and Ammonite…

To be precise, Ammonite is a program by itself, not an add-on. This is a weakness too because integration with DTP(O) is limited.

Limited integration means no saved searches or smart groups/folders via that mechanism.

Nevertheless it is quite stable and handy for creating complex tag-based searches within DTP(O)-database(s) (one at a time).

Still like it and the developer is very responsive to problems/suggestions.




I stumbled upon the same problems you’re describing:

I have a very large database and used (too) many tags for sorting and categorizing my documents.

Now I would need an efficient way to search files which have a combination of several tags.
The described methods are ok, Ammonite does a good job, however in Ammonite you can’t

  • open multiple documents at once
  • replicate selected documents to another group
  • see which other tags a selected document has

For my preferred way of using DevonThink Pro I’d like to have a possibility to:

  • select one tag and show all documents which belong to that tag (=already possible)
  • then display a tag cloud which shows all the tags the currently displayed documents also have (possible in ammonite)
  • see which tags a specific selected document has (not possible in Ammonite)
  • sort the documents by the other tags they have (I know that might be tricky)
  • select a tag in the tag cloud and then highlight or add to the selection all documents in the list which also have this tag

-> anyone else would find that useful or may want to add to the list?

-> are there any other apps like Ammonite which could help me by finding my way through the tags jungle (most of my documents are plain text (.tex, .bib), RTF, PDF or weblinks) AND allow me to continue working with DTPro (so they must be able to access the documents in the database and the indexed ones).


Possible with Ammonite’s document pane, which is hidden by default. Hover your pointer over the pane button at the middle, right-edge of the main Ammonite window and the cursor will change to a drag icon to reveal the document info.

I’m sure that there are multiple refinements to the tag interface, but if DEVONthink had a) a subtractive tag cloud view and b) exclusion of tags in smart groups, I’d be pretty happy with that.


many thanks for pointing me to the document pane in Ammonite which is hidden very well in the polished dark interface. :slight_smile:

That helps me a lost, especially as it seems that the tags field shows all tags while in DTPro most of my (too) many tags are not visible in the tags field at the moment…