Very limited Formatting toolbar- Please Upgrade this feaure!


I love Devonthink Pro.

However, I am a disappointed to discover that there is no formatting toolbar or capabilities on your word-processing documents [plain, rich or formatted].

This is VERY limiting as now I can organize the information but I don’t have basic formatting capablilties to do much with text.

Maybe add it on your next update!

The very best,

Plain text does not have “formatting” – that’s because it’s plain text.

RTF has the standard macOS formatting ruler. Format > Ruler > Show Ruler

Formatted notes do not have styles, lists, etc., so the ruler is meaningless. Just use the standard macOS commands such as ⌘B for bold, ⌘U for underline, ⌘I for italicized text, etc.

Configure standard fonts in Preferences > Edit

Don’t forget to consult the built-in Help as well as the manual.

I think what the OP meant, and something I agree with him, is that for special modes (like RTF), it doesn’t act like more commonly used editors out there. I know the goal is to keep this all similar to how standard Apple has things arranged, but I’d argue that people who are doing anything long-document wise probably use something like Microsoft Word, Pages, etc - a tool with an actual toolbar with font choices, that more or less makes everything very visible and ready to use.

I doubt many people are using TextEdit for anything more serious than incredibly simple editing, and wouldn’t look toward those apps as inspiration for user design or usability.

For me, I’m finding RTF only good for copying stuff already formatted elsewhere (say MS word, rendered-html, etc and pasting it into DevonThink or editing the document outside DevonThink (e.g. in Pages).

Basically, at least for myself, I’m finding DevonThink great for capturing information, but not particularly good at producing information. So it relies, a lot, on editing something outside the editor and then bringing it in. Which, is okay, in a way I suppose - but if the goal is to grow the app, then I wouldn’t dismiss feature requests such as what the OP, or other say, so easily.

OP - this specifically is for you. You can customize the toolbar a bit here and there. The number of customizations is pretty small, but you may find that helpful. If you double click on the document you’re interested in editing, right click on the toolbar, you can find some options. There aren’t a lot, but it may be worth looking at to get an idea. You can also right click on a document and click “Open With” and pick a better editor. For RTF, you may want to go with something like Word or Pages. For plain text, there’s really no customization that’ll come as part of an editor, though.

We have a focus in our Development and the idea is not to make the one master tool that encompasses the functionality of all potentially competing applications. We don’t want to be the “jack of all trades, master of none” and respect other applications’ focus as well.

As far as “producing content”, that depends on you and your habits or needs. I produce content, every single day in DEVONthink. I also personally have no need for the billions of toolbar buttons found in Word (which I also have for Support purposes). If you find yourself in need of all those options, you could easily use Word (LibreOffice / OpenOffice / etc.), as it fits your needs.

Lastly, we don’t merely “dismiss” suggestions. We appreciate, read, and consider what is suggested, but that doesn’t guarantee implementation (or that the suggestion is even possible to implement).

I create quite a lot of content in DT. I use DT as the main notebook for my business, keeping track of all of my research, projects and notes. I have found that RTF is the best file format for this use because it provides enough style options to make these often long and complex documents easier to read. I regularly use: styles (for titles, headings, body), bold, underline, strikethrough, links, and embedded images.

Alas, Apple’s built-in RTF tools are rather crude. For example: it lacks the ability to edit styles, and have those edits automatically reflected in the content.

Since Apple doesn’t seem to want to change its RTF editor, I would love if DT had a more robust, but still straightforward, set of style tools for RTF. A good example is Google Docs, which provides formatting tools that are useful, without getting into Microsoft Word levels of over complication. But I understand, that would be a big endeavor!

I also look forward to each DTP update, hoping you will include at least the improved Apple Format Bar that is currently featured in TextEdit. This would really help us to write and edit with more ease.

I also appreciate how TextEdit and many other applications also open the the Ruler separately from the Format Bar which is less distracting. The ruler is an unnecessary eyesore for most (of my) notetaking unless I need a table, etc. Just the format bar is cool.

You might advise us to simply “Open our RTF docs in TextEdit” with one click, but I don’t want that extra distraction if possible, especially for simple RTF docs. Otherwise I switch over to Scrivener or Pages for styling.

Just a few rudimentary improvements would help writers… who like the simplicity of Devon plus the powerful organizational engine it is built around.

I hope you put this on the radar soon! Thanks.

Just curious – since DEVONtech doesn’t seem poised to fulfill the requests here, what’s wrong with using external editors? Open With is one shortcut away (or one click if you use the toolbar icon for Open With) and you get all the beauty and function of your favorite editor. The point of DEVONthink is to work with other applications not replace or mimic them. I’ve clicked the Open With icon to edit externally for 10 years and never been bothered to fuss with the internal editor. (Editors which, I agree, are sucky, but who cares – they can be avoided.)

Nothing wrong with external editors and opening in one click, it’s just that by including just a little bit more, like I mentioned above for RTF docs which are ubiquitous, we can stay within Devon and stay focused.

I don’t mind opening external apps if necessary but RTF is a contemporary standard. I hope Devonthink will empower our toolbox even further.

Editing an RTF with an external editor may be a workable solution, for a single document. But when I work in DT, I am constantly switching among many documents, editing some in each. DT’s strength (for me) is the ability to view, sort, and edit a ton of information in one work consistent environment. Having to open each in an external editor would defeat the convenience of that.

The current RTF styling tools do work, but when compared with the simple clarity of Google Doc’s tool bar, they are clumsy. Maybe someday Apple will improve their RTF tools, but doubtful. Since text docs are such a core aspect of DT, I feel it would be a hug boost in functionality if DT could gave us a better text editing environment.