View text of group entries at once?

I’m a new user, and I can’t see how to view the text of all the entries in a group at once: is this possible? Instead of seeing a list of entry titles, or icons when I click on a group in split vertical view, I’d like to see window with the text from all the entries in the group combined. Is this possible? If not, is there some easy workround?

I’m keeping individual notes for a particular book as separate entries within a group, and would love to be able to scan through them all, as if they were a single document, as well as being able to search them individually.

Thanks for any help you can provide.



Most users, most of the time, want DT views to display group contents as individual documents.

But there are times, as you suggest, when it would be desirable to read the contents of multiple files as a single file. Example: You’re writing an article, and would like to assemble the individual sections of the article into a whole. Yes, you can do that.

Here’s an experiment to try:

[1] First, select the group containing the notes that you would like to reassemble. Then go to the menubar and select Data > Duplicate. Why make a copy? Because you will probably be renaming some or all of the notes in order to assemble them in a desired order. And perhaps you want to retain the original group in its current state after the experiment. Let’s work with the new duplicate, not the original group, in the steps below.

[2] Decide the order in which your individual notes should be organized. That may require renaming some or all of them. Example: Name them Section 1, Section 2, etc. and sort alphabetically.

[3] Now select the files you wish to assemble together, go to the menubar and select Data > Merge. DT will create a new note assembling your notes in the order you specified. You’ve put together your article, book or whatever as a single document.

Perhaps you wish to move the assembled document into the original group, then delete the copy group. It’s your choice.


thanks for this prompt and helpful response. I can see that the Merge route is a reasonable workround, and it’s helpful that it creates a new note rather than combining the old ones.

It does seem to me that a new view option to see all entries together could be a useful addition, though, and would help to break down the document/database dichotomy.



I see where you’re coming from, especially for groups that contain a few small notes.

Most of my groups contain hundreds of documents, many of them large files. In some groups, the contents of a ‘merged’ view would be thousands of pages long.

The other problem is that DT works with a number of file types, including text, RTF, RTFD, PDF, PS, images, HTML, QuickTime, etc. Right now, the technology to create a merged view would be difficult, if not impossible.

Would it be possible (or even useful) to concatenate summaries of the selected documents?


Allow me to weigh in here and to suggest why the “merge” option is not adequate and that this feature should not necessarily be subject to the claim that “most users have little need for it” argument. I think it would be more useful than DevonThink realizes. have been writing my thesis and have collected thousands of notes from numerous texts. each note is about one sentence to a few paragraphs. All my notes are organized according to text-source and then contain the page number in the name of the rtf file. My goals are as follows:

  1. Keep and maintain notes by text (as I now have organized. Because often the notes taken from texts follow in a derivative fashion, viewing the notes at once would be beneficial to give some context to other perhaps more obscure notes. Sometimes the context for note 15 comes from note 11, for example, and seeing them on one page is would be beneficial.

  2. If I have taken thousands of notes from many texts I will often need to reference themes in these various texts, for example I have notes from over 10 sources that deal with “metaphysics”. Wonderfully, I can create a group that combines all of these references into one place.

THE PROBLEM: if I take these notes and merge them, I lose the critical information that I require to appropriately reference the materials. My notes, especially if they are no longer arranged by text (for example note 15 comes from Book ‘A’ and note 16 comes from Book ‘F’) I have no way, with the “merge” option, to maintain the organization which originally was a drawing factor when choosing DevenThink.

Finally, there are competitors (Scrivener being the best example) who accomplish this quite well. In fact, when selecting multiple notes they all appear, separated by a line in the view window. Subsequently, when I click on one of the notes in the view the information window changes to show the name i have given the note (which in my case is the abbreviation of the source and the page number).

This is the one feature that has me bouncing back and forth between the two competing programs – ultimately I like what DevonThink is doing, but I think for efficiency of use, this feature keeps me going back to Scrivener for now.

Please seriously consider implementing this feature DevonTechnologies.