What links here?

This has probably been addressed somewhere in the forums – but I can’t find it. Apologies if this is in the wrong sub-forum.

What I’m looking for is a “what links here” option (for lack of a better term). In MediaWiki, on any page, there is a menu selection for “What links here.” Is there such a feature in DevonThink Pro Office? I’m currently working a particular file with over 2,000 pages that utilize wiki linking heavily. I can’t figure out how to trace back a wiki link (like you can in MediaWiki), or see how many pages link to the particular page you are on.


It’s currently not possible to list all incoming or outgoing links.

Has this feature been requested in future version? If not, where would I request it? One of the powers of DT I find crucial is its ability to function as a wiki – and being able to track links forward and reverse I believe is key.

I remember only one such request so far, therefore it’s not that likely in the near future.

Couldn’t agree more. Lack of that feature is the main reason I’ve chosen not to seriously use WikiLinks in DTP.

Not sure it’s my request you remember but I did make it quite awhile ago.

This would be important for me too. For two reasons:

  1. further networking the information and helping me follow the paths forth and back (but I admit that see also and search are solving this at least for 80% as well)

  2. to avoid dead links. I have thousands of notes referring to each other and as my work goes on I change them, combine the content, delete some. This means that (in most cases) the referring documents need some work too. Most time I know where the referring links might be, but sometimes i don’t know and then I got stuck later with a dead link, uncertain, what happend … That is why I would like to look, whether there are links to the note or not before deleting.



I asked about this not too long ago, specifically related to links between notes and papers and being able to find all notes referring to a particular paper and all papers referred to in a particular note. So yes, I’d very much like this feature too.

I think I asked for it, but I might’ve been mistaken.

When I click through a wiki-linked set of documents, I miss an easy way to navigate backwards. I know there is the little “Back” arrow in the top left corner of the document, but it is such a small clicking target on my laptop screen!

Unfortunately, this is not a menu item, so it is not possible to map a shortcut to this function. In Safari, pressing command-left to go to the previous page works fine, and it would be great if the build-in browser of DT had such a timesaving function as well.

Still, when I compare DT to most Apple Applications, I am glad that the developers actually listen to their users, and that the app offers many options for my working style instead of superimposing one.

For me, it is not so much about adding new features here as making the existing ones more accessible and customizable, by adding them to the top menu. Keyboard shortcuts are not for everyone, but when you work with your database daily, there might be one or two functions that you have to repeat a lot, and then it is great if you can remap the shortcut with the system prefs, or access them with quicksilver, or with any other universal access app.

I agree, and think that this would be an essential feature for an upcoming version.

Or maybe it was my request?
The lack of this feature makes it impossible to:

  • analyze and comment texts (no way of connecting the comment to the part of the text to which it refers)
  • write texts that refer to other texts (no way of connecting the referred text to places where it is used, and no way to connect to the particular place in the referred text that is used)

No, not at all impossible. People have been doing those things for thousands of years, from clay tablets onwards. The scholarly peak of doing those things was probably reached in the 19th century by German scholars and in the 20th century by the British historian of chemistry, J. R. Partington – they did those things with paper and memory. I’ve always been in awe of Partington. Once having read something, he could use it in a footnote years later, accurately including quotations and page numbers – and of course in a number of languages.

True, it would be somewhat easier to do those things in DEVONthink if all the tools discussed in this thread were available. But those tools are not built into OS X, would require some development in DEVONthink (which may happen in the future) and would be tricky to implement across all the file types that are readable in DEVONthink, much less DEVONthink 2.

But I often do those things inside DEVONthink, using notes statically hyperlinked to other documents (I prefer that to Wiki links, just a personal preference), Lookups of selected phrases, cues to myself about the page number of a PDF document (or a Lookup string cue in a long text or HTML document) and conventions for naming my notes, so that I can easily produce a list of notes that are “attached” to a specific reference. I can restrict a Lookup search to a specific group, and/or Label or State, and/or to Name or Comment. A Sheet can come in handy if I’m making notes that refer to multiple references.

So once in a while I can do something in DEVONthink that almost approaches something Partington might have done, without his meticulous devotion to making notes about everything, and without his incredible memory. I’m not in his class, but DEVONthink gives me a much richer set of tools than paper and ink. :slight_smile:

To do this I simply excerpt the text in question to a new note, add the comment to the text, and add a link back to the original.

I’m not sure I follow what you’re trying to do here. Can you give an example?


I’d just like to point out that, by this logic, DEVONthink can’t do a single thing that I can’t already do with a pencil. Clearly, it’s not something you should be charging for. (Corollary: A computer is certainly more powerful than a pencil; therefore, a computer without DEVONthink is more powerful than a computer with DEVONthink.)

If you wanna hear about what we’d like DEVONthink to do better, we’ll tell you. If you wanna talk about the semantics of “impossible”, we can do that too… but the first course seems more fruitful.

Jay, you missed my point, although your comments were fun but the logic of the “corollary” is flawed.

I didn’t deny that backwards-forwards-tracing/listing Wiki links could be useful. Christian’s comment in this thread was that this feature doesn’t currently exist in DEVONthink’s Wiki itself – perhaps that may come, and if you want this, keep asking for it. But see some tricks below.

My comments related to trasko’s post in which he listed two things that he said are impossible without enhanced Wiki features. But in fact I routinely do both of those things using existing features of DEVONthink. and with Wiki-linking inactive. The two “impossible” things listed by trasko were:

  • analyze and comment texts (no way of connecting the comment to the part of the text to which it refers)
  • write texts that refer to other texts (no way of connecting the referred text to places where it is used, and no way to connect to the particular place in the referred text that is used)

I make lots of notes related to specific documents, of whatever searchable filetype. I use a simple trick in naming such a note, so that if I search by Name for the document to which it refers, I also see all of the notes I’ve made about that document. That’s because each note uses the Name of the referenced document, plus an additional string. And each such note also contains a static link to the referenced document.

OK, that “associates” my notes to the referenced document, clearly and unambiguously. How do I “tie” a note to a particular page of a referenced PDF, or to a specific location within a text or WebArchive or HTML document? I’ve found that I can quickly identify one or two “cue” strings on, e.g., page 51 of a PDF, that I can copy into my note and that will take me to page 51 via a Lookup search. In DTPO2 I simply enclose each cue string in quotes and make them contiguous in the note. Select the cues, press Command-/ and, in the search result, select the referenced document. Presto! It scrolls to page 51 of the PDF. As noted, this also works for plain or rich text, HTML or WebArchive documents.

So I’ve done the “impossible”.

Tabbed document windows in DTPO2 embellish this still further, using another little trick. I can create a TOC (table of contents) note with static links to each of my note documents about comments on a document, about a project, etc. Now I can click on the link to the TOC document, then open its links in new tabs. There’s all my related material, and I don’t lose scroll position in switching among the documents. Better yet: Christian tells me to expect in the near future that such tabbed document windows, if left open at close, will reopen (if Preferences is set to remember last-open windows) with the tabs next time the database is opened. How’s that for associating notes to a referenced document? Or the draft sections of a writing project, with linked and tabbed notes and references.

Don’t forget a couple of other features. I can “point to” every document that uses a specific word by selecting it and Option-clicking on it. Or every document that uses a specific phrase by using Command-/ (Lookup search) and then enclosing the query string in quotation marks. The effect is much the same as producing a list of every document that uses a Wiki string. For example, I can see the list of every document in which the content contains a string that’s equivalent to the Name of a document. Got a Wiki string (although I doubt this will work for aliases)? Select it and do a quotation mark-enclosed Lookup search. A Name search will reveal the document that’s pointed to. A Content search will reveal all the documents that point to it. However, as DTPO2 searches are case-insensitive but Wiki links are case-sensitive, it’s possible that more results will be listed than those that actually contain the Wiki link.

Use of the Lookup search to confirm a dead Wiki link: A limitation is that searching in DTPO2 is not case-sensitive. Nevertheless, a Lookup search of the Wiki string can be used to confirm that a Name document for the Wiki string doesn’t exist. So one can either create a new document with the appropriate Name conforming to the string and its case, or select the Wiki string in a document that contains it, and choose Format > Remove Link. But I don’t know of a currently available approach that would identify all “dead” Wiki links in one fell swoop.

As I don’t have Partington’s superhuman powers of memory and association, I find a computer with DEVONthink on it is much more useful to me than pencil and paper, or a computer without DEVONthink. :slight_smile:

Great response, and I cede your point! (and yeah, I never did take formal logic.)

In the old days, when software was by necessity simplistic, we learned how to compose complex workflows from the simple building blocks available. Now that we’ve grown accustomed to specific, task-oriented features, we forget that we can still use composition, and “macro assemble” our way to the goal.

The lookup search is a great suggestion; with that, and a little planning, I think I could create any tagging and breadcrumb schemes I might want.

Hi Bill,

could you please give us a database with samples of your workflow with faked files (of course) but with all the functionality you so well explain? An example would be of great hep!

OK. Eric has asked me for some example databases, and your suggestion may be useful. I’ll get to work on it tomorrow.

If you used the rumored version 2, you certainly have done the impossible :exclamation:

If I ever get my hands on version 2, I will try it as well, and se if it is efficient enough for me. There is a world of difference between something that is possible if a lot of time and effort is spent, and something that is convenient, elegant, and efficient. Sometimes you can make do with clumsy, cumbersome and slow workflows, and sometimes you can’t. I hope of course that in version 2, it will be convenient, elegant, and efficient. Maybe then we can all finally put the clay tablets aside :smiley: