Turn Smart Folder into mobile To Do list?

I’m managing a project using DTPO … there are folders for various stages of the project, and in each folder are various notes relating to that stage. Some of these text docs are just notes to myself. If it’s something I need to do today, I flag it Today. And I have a Smart Folder called Today that collects all these flagged notes.

When I open the “Today” smart folder I get a list of documents, the titles of which are notes such as “Ask Fred for new budget” and “Order extra copies of schedule”. I’d like to turn those document titles into a list that I can take with me. I’ve tried emailing the Smart Folder to myself, but when I right-click and select “Send by email” I get a new email message with the folder inside it, but the folder in the mail message is empty. (In DT it isn’t.)

I’ve tried selecting all the documents in the Smart Folder and dragging them into an email, but they don’t go. The email remains empty. I suspect it’s because these documents are replicants. Is there some way I can email replicants? Or is there some other way I can turn this Smart Folder into a list?

(The only kludgy workaround I’ve discovered is to individually click on each doc, copy the names of the docs, and paste them into an email. But I’m hoping there’s a simpler and faster way.

Any thoughts?

What about taking a screen shot (Command -shift-4) of the list as it appears in the DTPO window? All my screen shots are set to display as PDFs, so I can then drag the screen shot from the Desktop back into DTPO and OCR it there, if needed.

If all you want is a list of the names of the documents, then use 3 pane view, click on the smart group, then select all the documents in list view. With the documents highlighted, use File > Print and DT will print a sort of screen print of just the document list. Not pretty, but it works.

If what you want is a folder with the documents themselves, then select all the documents in the smart group and use File > Export > Files and Folders… and put them into a folder on your desktop or somewhere. (It looks like File > Export > Files and Folders… won’t export the items in a smart group without first selecting the items themselves.)

If you’re really adventurous, you could look to modify the Export > Listing… script in the scripts menu item to just make a listing of the contents of a single group. As it is now, that scripts lists the names of all documents in a database.

It appears that smart groups can have an attached script, like other groups.

Is it possible to attach a script that creates a text document in the enclosing group with a listing of the items in the group? Would this update each time you navigate to the smart folder? Follow a naming convention for the listing so that it always sorts to the top and is omitted from the list itself (eg. leading underscore).

The documents are probably empty and don’t have a file yet. The next beta will be able to export the titles too via File > Export > as Text/RTF/RTFD/Word document.

In the meantime you could select the documents and use Scripts > Export > Listing… or simply Edit > Copy (assuming that it’s a plain text message, then the titles can be pasted)

When I use Scripts/Export/Listing I get a text document with the name of every folder and document in the database. Despite selecting only the documents whose names I want to copy. Any way to limit the export to just what I select?

And yes, File/Export/as Text Doc in the next beta will be most welcome.

The script could of course be modified to use only the selection but…

…the next beta will be available soon.

It seems to me that you are trying to use a really great hammer to drive in a screw, when you need a screwdriver in your toolbox to use along side your hammer.

DevonThink is a phenomenal information management tool and it has changed the way I work and made my office nearly paperless. But I use OmniFocus for managing my activities. DevonThink manages my nouns, and OmniFocus manages my verbs, more or less. I used to get a little fuzzy with the line between them, but I’ve more and more started to use links between them to avoid that. For most of my projects, I have a folder in DevonThink that is linked right into the project in OmniFocus, and then I can easily refer back to the documents and notes that are in DT. OF has a great mobile sync to take things with you, assuming you are carrying an iPhone with you.

Forgive me if I’ve misinterpreted the your objective in the thread.

Thanks for the suggestion. I have tried OmniFocus and found it too structured for me - but it is a very, very good program. (FWIW, I’m using OmniOutline as my To Do list, and its free-form, less-structured nature make it perfect for the way I work and think. But I have a lot of respect for OF, and I understand how it’s so good for people who are deep into GTD.)

My needs right now are not for a full-on task manager, but just a way to get a few items specific to one project in DT into a Note or Email. Just something to carry around with me to refer to when dealing with other people on the job. I can always manually copy the titles into OO, or a Note on my iPhone, but I was hoping to find some one-step automated way to do this. Export to Text Doc in the upcoming beta will do just what I need, I think.

Okay, I just downloaded the new beta and tried File > Export > as Text … but it exported the text of the documents and not the document titles, which is what I want. Is there any way to export a simple list of the documents in a folder?

Yes, here is what I just tried to get just the document names in a text file and it works for me. First, you will need a utility to strip the formatting from items on the clipboard. I use the free application ‘Plain Clip’ and place it in my Dock, so that’s what I’ll use in the example.

  1. I selected all documents in a folder by clicking in the group and typing Cmd-A
  2. I copied the documents and document names by typing Cmd-C
  3. I clicked on Plain Clip in the Dock to strip all but the text of the document names
  4. I made a new rich (or plain) text document in DT and pasted the contents of the clipboard, and this is what I got.
  5. Save the document and export as needed.

I’ve assumed that the documents are empty and simple “to-do” items. In that case enabling the option to include the title in the exported file would be sufficient.

However, did you try (as already suggested) to select multiple items, to copy them and to paste them into a plain text email? That’s working fine over here.

Thanks - how do I enable to option to include the title in the exported file?

“did you try (as already suggested) to select multiple items, to copy them and to paste them into a plain text email?”

I tried, but all I get are the icons for the documents I’ve copied. Am I doing something wrong?

Set format of a blank TextEdit document to plain text. Copy/paste your list into it.

That did it. Thanks.