Very confused about searching

DEVONthink Pro Office has a Search window at the top right. I’ve looked through the documentation on how this works; and while the documentation explains a lot of the powerful stuff that you can do, it doesn’t explain the visuals.

Depending upon what the magnifying glass’s dropdown menu is set to, before I type something in, I see (in grey) things like the following:


What do these slashes mean? Am I supposed to enter search terms with slashes? And can I search for something that might be in a different database than the one currently selected?

It’s all a mystery what these grey prompts mean.

Thanks for any help.

You can only search one database (the one you are looking at) using that box.

Options to tell DTPO how and what to search.

What to search: Search All (everything), Content, Name (of document), URL (of document), Comment (the DT comment field, not comments in metadata), Meta Data (what you see in the “Additional Information” section of the Info panel when you look at a document).

How to search: Selection (just in the current selection, not in the whole database), Prefix while typing (odd name; it means start the search while I’m typing the search term), Ignore Diacritics (does what it says), Fuzzy (don’t search exactly for the term I entered)

You can have one or more of options selected. The grey legend you mentioned appears when the box is empty of a search term. The legend changes depending on what options are selected.

Play with it. You’ll get it.

Is there a way to do this (i.e., a search) across ALL the databases?

Otherwise, I think I might have to go back to having one database.

Personally, I do all my searches in the full Search window (Tools > Search) as there are more options and it’s easier to review the setup.

Yes, you can search across all open databases in the Search window.

I actually do my global searching from Spotlight. DevonThink shares its indexes with it (if you haven’t disabled that option) and I can see both files in the database and files I haven’t put into DT yet.

Of course, I’ve only just started using it so perhaps there’s a side to this I haven’t figured out yet :slight_smile:

I will sometimes do a Spotlight search if I want to check items that might be in a currently closed DT database.

But I do almost all searches in the DT Search window (Tools > Search) because that provides much more powerful filtering for queries than does Spotlight and presents the results within a richer and more unified environment than Spotight’s.

DT ranks searches and allows one to sort the results in a number of ways. Common filetypes among the results can be viewed in the text pane of the Search window, without jumping about among multiple applications, and for several filetypes the query terms are highlighted, with keyboard shortcuts to move to the next/previous occurrence.

Useful DT assistants such as See Also and Classify are available. Tags may be viewed and added in the Tags bar. I sometimes find the Spelling and Context buttons in the full Search window useful (if you are not familiar with them, play with them).

By contrast, I find most Spotlight searches crude, limited and rather sterile.

Besides, all the interesting/important content on my computer other than pictures, movies and music is in my DT Pro Office databases. :slight_smile:

Having used DT for a little longer, I agree. The built in search is better, but spotlight has it place in “the set”.