Word documents

If I try to add a word document to my database, I get a converted .rtf file. Is there a way to not do this? I would prefer that my file remains as a .doc file so that double clicking it opens word rather than textedit. I don’t want to change my .rtf associations system-wide for word to handle, as I prefer to use textedit when I decide I want to use an .rtf. If the file is a .doc file, I want to be using word.

How do I keep DT from translating it automatically (I’d prefer DT just to be a launching point/organizer for certain .doc files). Is this possible?

Yes, it is possible to have DT merely link to Word documents – use File -> Link to -> filename.doc. Double-clicking on the item name in DT will launch the file in MS Word.

But that approach sacrifices much of the power of DEVONthink, as the linked file isn’t searchable in DT.

I much prefer letting DT import the Word file as text or RTF, with a link to the original Word document. Then I can search the content of Word documents, use "See Also" and other features of DT. And I can immediately launch the Word document under MS Word by Control-clicking on the DT item name and choosing "Open Externally."

Or, I can click on Show Info, then click on the Go To button next to the item’s path.

Or (I don’t know whether Christian would approve) I can copy the item’s path into the URL field, and immediately launch it from the URL Go To button.

There is a downside to importing the text of Word documents into DEVONthink – the DT content doesn’t update automatically if the Word document is edited. A future version of DT will provide some synchronization possibilities, but not yet.

So if I edit a Word document that’s been imported into DT, the safest thing to do is delete the existing DT item and reimport it. Here’s another trick. If I’m going to be editing a Word file, I display it in DT, press Show Info, insert a flag to myself, such as UPDATE ITEM in the Comments field (use such a flag consistently). Then open the Word file externally from DT, and edit it under Word. The value of the flag is that I can search the Comments field occasionally to check whether I’ve remembered to delete the old DT item version and import the current version of the Word document.

Hope this helps.


Thanks for your thorough reply. It does help, to an extent. I’ve got a couple of concerns about your strategy: when I use “open externally” in DT, it automatically launches TextEdit because I’ve got it associated with .rtf files. This is precisely how I want it because I’d rather use it for .rtf files. Where TextEdit doesn’t do what I need, I’ll use Word (and a .doc extension). The second issue is that it seems like an awful lot of work to keep tabs on what I’m trying to use DT to organize. Importing, tagging, deleting, re-importing, ad nauseum is more trouble than tagging the original file with a comment (searchable in Panther) or a label (also searchable) and going from there. I suppose I’d be missing out on DT’s content searching this way but I haven’t yet decided I trust it enough to use it regularly. I had been hoping to use DT as an organizer/digital binder of sorts rather than a search engine.

As it stands now, if I can use DT in the binder metaphor, it’d be more than worth the price of admission. If it can get to use Word docs more seamlessly, as seems to be hoped, I would be standing on the rooftops proclaiming it’s greatness. :slight_smile:

I wonder, though, why it can’t use .doc extensions since that’s built into 10.3 frameworks. For backwards compatibility?

Well, perhaps I’m missing something but I’ve appeared to find a solution to the “not searchable but double clickable to open in Word/searchable but .rtf” dilemma I was having. File -> index appears to have the best of both worlds. The file is searchable but also a double click will launch Word. It’s not editable from within DT, but that’s ok. I’ve got Word to edit. Am I missing something or is this the solution I’ve been looking for? (And why can’t I have it default to that behavior with .doc files?)

Actually this should be the best solution for your needs (but a future release will export Word docs under Panther).