Tips for writers

This forum seems like such a friendly and helpful place, I feel emboldened to ask an open-ended newbie question:

Can anyone suggest specific ways in which writers might take advantage of the subtle features of DEVONthink?

A specific item: Is there a means of creating templates or "stationery" for various kinds of document, so that (as with dedicated word processing apps) one can open a new document and immediately start typing, without having to set tabs and spacing and all that?  (In my own case I would need three or four such templates for different types of project.)

I have lately been drafting magazine articles, book reviews and the like in DT. I like the feel of the software. Little things like the running word-count are very handy. But I still feel I haven’t “grokked” the best way to use this as a writing environment. Also, I am unsure whether the software has inherent limitations (for instance with formatting documents) or whether I simply don’t understand it very well.

There is a bit of a discussion on DT as a writer’s tool under the “Usage Scenarios” thread that might give you a few ideas.

As for your specific item, I don’t believe you can create stationery in DT, but you can create “Styles” which accomplish the same thing.  Just set up the margins, alignment, spacing, font, etc. as you wish for any document type, then choose Format–>Style–>Styles… from the menu bar (or hit ctrl+cmd+T) .  Give the Style a name, and it will be available in the dropdown menu in the ruler for instant formatting.

In my experience, DT is no more limited as a word processor than TexEdit, which is pretty good for straightforward writing.  I do all my writing and drafting in DT now— in fact, I haven’t even opened Word in months.  It has even helped break one of my bad habits: I used to be terrible about zapping chunks of rough draft into oblivion with the delete key (which defeats the point of having a rough draft at all).  Now I start all new projects in DT by creating a folder set to “notepad” view.  Each time I sit down to work on the project, I duplicate the file and put a date stamp on it and work on the duplicate.  That way, I can easily see the development of the project in one handy window, and I’ve stopped throwing the baby out with the bathwater (pardon the cliche).


Thanks for the tip, Vesuvio. But can you really get the line spacing to stick? My experience is that it’s not included when I set up a style.

Yes indeed, it is possible to get the line spacing to stick.  After you’ve clicked the “Add to Favorites” button in the “Styles…” menu, you’ll get the drawer in which you name the style.  Below the field where you type the name of your new style there are two check boxes, one which asks if you want the ruler included as part of the style and one which asks if you want the font included.  Check off the box to include the ruler and your line spacing will be included as part of the style.


Ah! Thanks again.

The easiest way to create templates is probably to create some more or less empty documents using the desired styles, fonts, rulers, line spacing etc. and duplicate those documents whenever you need a new document with a specific style.

I would suggest that you lock such "template" documents, so that they cannot be inadvertantly altered. (Click on the padlock button to lock or unlock an item.)

Then duplicate (not replicate) the "template" document, unlock it, and away you go.

Thanks to the posters who have provided tips.  I must say however, that I have not been using DEVONthink (which I like a great deal) for actual writing, only for research and note-keeping.  This is because of what I perceive (unless I have missed something?) to be a lack of page-formatting capability.

For the sake of logical organization I have posted on this subject in the "Requests & Suggestions" forum, which seems most appropriate.