New script to export notes to RTF or OPML (now with RTFD for images)

Dana Leighton's Avatar

Dana Leighton

03 Aug, 2010 02:21 AM

**** There is a new version of this script - click here for the most current version.

**** Update: 16-Aug-2010 - If you're running Mac OS 10.5 Leopard, and have trouble invoking the script from the Scripts Menu, see the workaround below - click here

**** Update: 25-Feb-2013 - If you're running Mac OS 10.6.8, an update to Sente's Sqlite engine seems to have broken the script's functionality. For a fix for this see this post

Suggestions seemed like a reasonable place to post this, although it's not a suggestion, but rather a solution.

I use a writing program called Scrivener, and wanted a way to export Sente notes to it. I used the houthakker script that exported to DevonThink, then exported the DevonThink files to OPML and imported to Scrivener. After the DevonThink trial ran out and I decided not to license it, I decided to modify the houthakker script to write out to OPML for import to Scrivener.

Well one thing led to another, and I created a script that exports Sente notes to either OPML or RTF. I learned a lot about Applescript and relived my previous career as a software developer, but I'm an academic now, and have to get back to some real work.

Anyway, The attached file is a disk image which contains the script, an installer that installs it in the right place, and installation and use instructions. It is licensed under the Creative Commons GNU GPL license which means you can use it, modify it, and redistribute it to your heart's content. i just hope it's as useful for you as it was for me. It is distributed without any warranty for its fitness or usefulness. Details of the license are in the disk image, or here:

I created a video tutorial on using the script to export notes from Sente into Scrivener. It is available from the following link:

If you do find it useful, and you feel the urge toward reciprocity, please consider donating to my favorite charity, the Lance Armstrong Foundation, which does great work for cancer survivors:

If you run it and encounter any problems or have suggestions, use the email address in the Installation Notes or post a message in this thread. I'll do my best to work on it some more, but I am getting really busy with research. Better yet, if you find a problem and can fix it or modification to improve it, send me the details so I can fix it for the next release (if there is one).

Dana Leighton

**** NOTE: Do not download the dmg linked to this comment. See the newest version linked to at the top of this comment! ****

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  1. 152 Posted by Dana Leighton on 19 Apr, 2014 10:55 PM

    Dana Leighton's Avatar

    Sarah wrote:

    First, is there a way to modify the script so that it would also export any attachments connected to the reference?

    I do not think so. The attachments are outside the Sente database, and I have not investigated the database structure enough to know if there is a way to determine the path to the attachment. I also am not sure what I would then do with it. Sorry. I use this script from Michelle Gill when I want to export attachments.

    (edit) Perhaps there might be a way to integrate Michelle's script with mine, but I'm not able to look at it right now.

    Second, and far less importantly, is it possible to edit the script for formatting (e.g. change the font)?

    It should be. However I have had trouble doing so. See this post above. If you modify the script and it works on your system, would you let me know please so I will know if it's something wonky about my machine?

    Thanks again for a great script!

    You're welcome! I am glad it is helping you.

  2. 153 Posted by Marcelo on 20 Apr, 2014 10:26 PM

    Marcelo's Avatar

    Any ideas why the opml format cannot be read by other outliners apps, like OmniOutliners ou mind maps apps, as MyThoughts?


  3. 154 Posted by Dana Leighton on 20 Apr, 2014 10:51 PM

    Dana Leighton's Avatar

    Marcelo wrote:

    Any ideas why the opml format cannot be read by other outliners apps, like OmniOutliners ou mind maps apps, as MyThoughts?

    Actually, it works great with either one. I specifically modeled the OPML structure after what OmniOutliner used, and I just tried importing to both. Screen shots attached.

    If you read the installation notes, you will notice that The OMPL "specification" is not a specification. It is more of a half-baked idea for a formatting specification. Thus, there aren't really any standards for the file. I intuited what I could from how OmniOutliner does things, and it seems to work in My Thoughts (a very nice looking app by the way), but because of the lack of a specification, it may or may not work in other software.


  4. 155 Posted by Marcelo on 21 Apr, 2014 12:01 AM

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    That's weird... it doesn't work for me (screens attached).

    Well it, worked with MyThoughts, but not with iThoughts.

    But with OmniOutliner it doesn't.

  5. 156 Posted by houthakker on 21 Apr, 2014 12:32 AM

    houthakker's Avatar

    OO4 (Marcelo) vs OO3 (Dana) ...

    OO4 seems to contain a number of glitches and regressions. Perhaps this is one of them.

  6. 157 Posted by Dana Leighton on 21 Apr, 2014 01:15 AM

    Dana Leighton's Avatar

    Thanks houthakker. That's too bad OO changed something in their files. I will have to upgrade and see what the problem might be.

    As I said in the Installation Notes, OPML is not a specification as much as it is a general idea developed by Dave Winer - see here. Although he outlines the "spec" for it, there is so much (intentional?) flexibility for the definition of attributes that any given developer can specify all kinds of attributes in their file format that can be meaningless, or worse, toxic to the importer of another OPML supporting program. See this page for the bloody details.

    For example, I am using the attribute "_note" which OmniOutliner uses (or at least used to), but may or may not be supported by any given OPML processor. It really is a bit of a mess.

    Anyway, enough of my frustrations with OPML. I'll see what I can do about looking at OmniOutliner 4 to see what I might need to fix. Hopefully that'll be backward compatible!


  7. 158 Posted by frh2106 on 21 Apr, 2014 02:01 PM

    frh2106's Avatar

    Houthakker, your script Sente6toDevn73 seems to have broken with 2.7.5 version of Devonthink Pro Office.

    Namely, it seems that the attachments are no longer moving over into Devonthink. This is a key part of many people's workflow, would you be able to check and see if it works for you or what the problem might be. Thanks!

  8. 159 Posted by houthakker on 21 Apr, 2014 02:33 PM

    houthakker's Avatar

    I don't currently have a copy of Sente on my system, but the developers should have a good sense of what it is that they have changed, and I will, I think, be able to advise on what edit might might be required to the script.

  9. 160 Posted by frh2106 on 21 Apr, 2014 02:47 PM

    frh2106's Avatar

    Ok, that would be great because I think there are a lot of people who use this. Any help would be greatly appreciated. I wish I knew how to maintain it, but I just don't have the programming skills (yet). Is there anything I could do to help? I've been in contact with DevonThink to ask them to give me a link to version 2.7.3 at least in the meantime.

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