Tinderbox Forum

Setting up drag/drop or copy/paste from Devonthink

I’ve been trying to get the drag and drop or copy and paste facility to work from Devonthink Pro Office – it’s not working, so I’m obviously setting it up wrong.


  1. Create a new TBX document.
  2. Highlight multiple documents (all RTF for simplicity) in DTPO, then drag them into the TBX document.

What I get is a new TBX note for each DTPO document – but all of them apart from the last one have $Name=“New”, and the URL is blank, although $Text, $SourceCreated, $SourceModified and $Tags are imported correctly.

The bottom note sometimes has the correct name (sometimes it’s just ‘Untitled’) and it always has the correct URL.

The notes are imported in reverse order to the order in DTPO, so the bottom one in TBX (the one working more or less correctly) is actually the top of the list in DTPO.

Switching $AutoFetch on for the notes corrects the problem with the bottom note, but of course can’t do anything with the others as there is no URL.

I’m clearly missing something obvious: so how should I configure both apps for this to work please?

I’m using TBX 7.2.1 and DTPO 2.9.15 on MacOS 10.12.6 – i.e. up to date everything I think…

Thanks for any help.

EDIT: testing further – the problem only occurs with multiple files. If I drag them one-by-one, everything’s imported properly.

Tinderbox 7.2.2 will address the problem with multi-item drags.

That was quick! The email about 7.2.2 arrived just as I was reading your post above…

Yes, it does fix the problem – thanks again!

i’m still using Tinderbox 6 - haven’t been able to buy the latest upgrade yer.

anyway, what’s the best way to export a section of highlighted text from an RTF file (stored in DEVONthink), and export it to Tinderbox so that it also links to the DTP document & section of the highlighted text?

i’ve dragged the highlighted passed from an RTF (in DTP) to Tinderbox – it copies the text, but doesn’t link the to DTP document & section of the highlighted text. i’ve also tried converting highlighted text to links, and dragging them to TB but it’s still a bit glitchy. is there a better approach?


If you are not having success you will need to copy the text from DEVONthink and paste it into the text of a Tinderbox note, then copy the “Item Link” in DEVONthink (Edit > Copy Item Link) and paste it to the URL attribute of that Tinderbox note.

Alternatively, there are numerous scripts in the DEVONthink forum for exporting OPML from DEVONthink and importing it into Tinderbox. Search in their scripting forum, or ask and someone over there will point you in the right direction.

I have a long and close relationship with those scripts so for full disclosure be aware that most of the scripts available have not been updated in several years – due to the more recent data integrations – and might not work as expected.

Great. Thanks so much for your assistance. I’ll take another look. I actually did poke around a bit and searched for scripts that might do this, but mostly found scripts that would export entire documents from DEVONthink to Tinderbox – not highlighted text, per se. Do you know of any scripts in particular that do this?

Also, does Tinderbox 7 offer significantly improved functionality in this respect? I’d love to get the upgrade, but cannot afford the cost right no.

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Yes. Very improved. Get a trial and judge for yourself.

Will do. One quick follow up… Does the drag & drop feature mean that it automatically forms links back to the source doc/material? Thanks!

Yes; the $URL field will contain a link to the DEVONthink Pro Office record.

Brilliant… Thanks so much!

Hi, I’ve upgraded to TB 7 (actually 7.3.1), and have become far more familiar w/ how to use it thanks to some amazing help (esp. Mark Anderson! @mwra). So, I’ve been revisiting the drag/drop or copy/past from Devonthink to TB.

Specifically, I’m mostly copying/dragging sections of notes from RTF documents from Devonthink into Tinderbox. Selecting and dragging those sections of notes over from DTP->TB isn’t a problem, but Devonthink’s url doesn’t seem to carry over.

Do I need to do anything to help carry over the DTP url’s for these note sections? Or do I simply need to go to DTP, click on edit, select “Copy Item Link,” and then paste that URL into TB’s URL window for that note section?


If you drag or paste the item from DEVONthink to make a new note, then Tinderbox automatically grabs the item URL.

If you select some text and paste it into Tinderbox, Tinderbox assumes you want the text but not the URL. But you can (was you see) easily grab the item URL yourself.

Thanks for your reply. I think I’m doing something wrong, and maybe it has to do w/ my set up… When I drag the section of a Devnothing RTF file and drop into a TB file, TB creates it as an agent – and there’s no url attached to the dragged/dropped note.

But it also looks like all the new notes and containers I’m creating w/in this particular TB file keep defaulting as agents.

What am I doing wrong and how do I fix this?


Dragging an item from DEVONthink should not create an agent, nor should creating new notes make agents. I’ve never heard of such a thing. Are you sure you’re not mistaking something else for an agent?

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It’s definitely appearing as an agent. Whenever I hit return, I get an agent and not a note. Happy to send you what I’ve got if you’d like.

I’d love to see it! Thanks!

Just messaged you w/ an uploaded file that shows the problem that I’ve described. Thanks for your help!

Ok, so it appears that the dragged/dropped notes from Devonthink to TB weren’t turning into agent after all, as I had feared.

But…even though I’m able to drag/drop Devonthink notes to TB, I’m still not see the Devonthink url appear in the TB dropped note. Is there something I need to do to make it work?


You should be able to see the DEVONthink URL in the key attributes appearing above the text pane when a note is selected.

If not, make sure that the key attributes are visible by clicking the disclosure triangle pointed to in my image. If URL is not shown, then you can add it to the KA list by clicking the “+” pointed to in the image.

Thanks. I’ve created the URL KA to the note, yet no Devonthink URL appears. Is there something else I ought to do?