Using comments/notations


I am brand new, and just testing out Devon Pro Office for help in organizing my notes and research to write a book. I have two questions, both regarding notations/comments to myself on specific parts of documents.

First, I imported a few Word documents, but they appear to be missing my Word comments. Does anyone know how to get the comments to show up?

Second, is it possible to make notes to myself in specific spots on each document I import?


DEVONthink displays Word (and many other types of document) using QuickLook preview software written by Microsoft. It’s the same preview you’ll see if you have document previews showing in Finder. The preview cannot show reviewer markups - and comments fall in that category. It’s not a limitation of DEVONthink - it’s a limitation of Microsoft.

On PDFs, yes. On Word documents, no. You might consider using annotation templates – I suggest browsing the forum on this topic, especially Bill DeVille’s postings

You can’t view the comments of a Word document from within DevonThink, but you can see them in a pdf of that Word document.

I understand that I can’t see the comments in my uploaded Word document. However, they don’t appear to be in the document when I download it, either. It seems they have disappeared. Is there a way to keep the comments attached?

What do you mean with “uploaded” and “downloaded”?

I dropped a file from my desktop into DT to make a note since that is where I hoped to keep it. I then tested to see if I could see the comments when I want to work on it again outside of DT, so I exported it as a Word document. Is that what I should do?

You don’t need to export the document to work with it in Word. Just select the file and press Shift-Command-O and it will open in Word.

You can also set Preferences > General > Double-click opens documents externally to open files in the system default application with a double-click.

Perfect, thank you.

You’re welcome :slight_smile:

Can confirm. I do this many times a day, as my colleagues insist on using Word. :slight_smile:

Can also confirm that you can view Word documents inside of DevonThink, but can’t see comments or – if I recall correct – change tracking. And you can’t edit the documents in DevonThink. But it’s easy enough to open them using Shift-Cmd-O.

as my colleagues insist on using Word.

Indeed! Word is still firmly entrenched in many walks of business, academia, and even personal life.

I will second your “indeed,” sir!

As a productivity nerd I am of course appalled by Word. But as a productivity nerd I can also see the value of using the tool you have at hand, and the standard tool that everybody else uses.

Most writers don’t use Scrivener or Ulysses or Markdown or any other of them fancypants tools. Most writers just use Word.

A friend who is a professional editor, and who keeps up on the Mac productivity software, swears that no other word processor can match Word for track changes and comments.

As much as Word is too much for me, it hasn’t been a market leader by accident. Part is marketing, part is inertia, and part is it’s a pretty capable application. :slight_smile:

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I am too one of those who one way or the other became dependent on Word. And searching the forum today after a solution to precisely this question, I finally found my very particular workaround.

If you simply want to view all markdown / annotations of all kind in MS aka Office Word and be able to extract text by copy and paste manually you can use the OneNote that comes along with the Office package. I know, it sounds pretty awkward. But since it is still for free, I just adopted this method for convenience. First, I added a ‘page’ in ON and inserted the word doc in it. I chose the upload to OneDrive and ‘insert link’ option which actually embeds the document into a window within the ON page. Second, I copied the link to the page and added it as a bookmark to DT (You need to add the doc title by copy and paste). Then I could do whatever I wanted with the text and, yeah, see but not extract annotations in an automated way. After this, I realized what an amazing piece of software DT is - ON is not so good with 3rd party file formats.
Today, I’ve been adding a lot of Office files to DT with all the intricate annotation styles you may find there, that is, Excel too.