Tuesday Tip: Sheets of external data

One of the coolest features in Microsoft Excel is the ability to link a spreadsheet to a delimited text file (like comma- or tab-delimited) in the Finder. This allows you to populate and update the spreadsheet with the data from the text file without having to type in the data yourself. When the text file changes, Excel reflects this change in the spreadsheet too.

While DEVONthink’s sheet format is not a spreadsheet per se, it can function in a similar fashion. In the Finder, locate the file that’s being externally updated, e.g. by another person or computer program, and in DEVONthink use File > Index (or Command-Option drag the file) to index the file into your database. The delimited text file will be displayed in a table format automatically.

Every time you select the file in the database for viewing, it will be updated automatically and the content changes will be shown. If you make changes to the sheet in DEVONthink, these will be seen in the external file too. Attention: If you have an application writing to this file automatically, your manual changes might get overwritten by the other app.

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