A more visual view of DEVONthink database(s) and groups?

Okay, so bear with me here… Does anyone know of any ways to more visually access and interact with groups, or even an entire DEVONthink database?

I’m a video producer and do a lot of brainstorming, mind-mapping, mood-boarding, storyboarding, etc. etc. when I’m working in pre-production for a project. I love DEVONthink for a million reasons and decided it was still the best option for me out there amongst all of the other tools (also, I know I got carried away with the bar graph and it made me happy, please don’t judge)

but… the best I can do as far as visualizing anything inside my DEVONthink database is setting the view to “Icons” or “Cover Flow” but I remain unable to move things around, and a whole bunch of other stuff that other apps have in spades. For example, Milanote, who scored the lowest on my comparison above, has incredible support for moving items around, resizing their thumbnails, adding big notes, linking “cards” to one another, etc. There are other reasons it falls short, in my opinion, but that’s just me.

I had given up until I thought that maybe DT could serve as a database for another app to utilize? Maybe there’s some obvious choice I’m not thinking of that could give me the best of both worlds? (rare, I know.)

I’m just throwing this out there, and I’m almost positive there aren’t any great options other than just dragging content out of DEVONthink whenever I want to brainstorm with it. That might be the way I end up dealing with it (putting it in MindNode, Notion, or Milanote), but I’d really prefer a way to keep all that DEVONthink database metadata in one place and retain the search-ability of it all.

Does anyone out there, smarter than I, have any ideas or workarounds? I would seriously pay so much money for an app like this. :disappointed:

DEVONthink 3 doesn’t do much of this. In the “Concordance Inspector” the “Cloud” tab has a tag cloud and this related-words graph:

The “visualization” topic in DEVONthink’s forum does have a lot of search hits – going back a long time. I don’t recall anyone actually coming up with a solution.

One thing ($expensive) is to use Tinderbox to “Watch” a group in a DEVONthink database – and then use Tinderbox’s map view to organize and create relationships among the documents in that “watched” group.


Ah yes, I did hear about Tinderbox, I need to read into that more and see if it’d be good alternative. Thanks!

It’s also unfortunate that Tinderbox doesn’t have any iOS apps, as I love to be able to view while out and about. But it’s not the end of the world. I do most of my “real work” at my mac.

Have you looked at Zengobi’s Curio?
Seems like it would be right up your alley.
You should be able to use aliases for files in Curio, thus leaving them in place on your file system, then have DEVONthink index those folders.
DEVONthink and Curio are on opposite ends of the visual spectrum.


I second the suggestion from @JohnAtl about Curio. It will give you:

  • tags (grouped to one level)
  • any file type (embedded or aliased)
  • exportable (as PDF … HTML)
  • folder organization
  • inline GIF … (*** I think ***)
  • resizable figures
  • macOS app

It will give you the story-boarding and mind-mapping that may not compete with the dedicated apps for this but that does a robust job at the basics.

Curio will NOT give you automation, aniOS app, smart folders, or a browser app among others.

You may find that you can use DT to do smart searches on your indexed folders, then pull the content to Curio to story-board and develop.



Another possibility with Curio (or iThoughtsX and some other apps) is grabbing links to DEVONthink documents and pasting them into Curio.

  1. In a group of documents in DEVONthink select all the documents and use Tools > Create Table of Contents > As Markdown
  2. Select the resulting “Table of Contents” document and copy all of the contents, which will be a group of markdown links - each one pointing to a different DEVONthink document.
  3. In Curio, use Edit > Paste As > MindMap. (Or Edit > Paste Markdown As > List.)

You’ll have a mind map (or list) as a cluster of figures, each one pointing to a different document in DEVONthink with an active link back to that document. You can drag figures out of the mind map (or list) and rearrange or do whatever visualization manipulation you want to do, as @JohnAtl and @DrJJWMac pointed out.

This avoids depending on indexed documents or aliases.

If you want do work with documents from multiple groups in a DEVONthink database, or multiple databases, then use the process outlined about with a tag group**. Documents from all over the database that have the same tag can have links aggregated in a table of contents document and then the selection of links can be refactored as I suggested above.

** One case is to perform a search or use a smart group to create a list documents from multiple databases; select the search results and apply a tag to them; then open Tags in the Global Inbox where the tag aggregating all these documents will be listed; Grab the Table of Contents doc from that global tag.


I forgot to mention @pete31’s recent work in the DEVONthink forum on his graph view script:

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Thanks for that. I’m trying to get it installed now, not successfully, so may give up until tomorrow. Might negate the desire to move to Obsidian for me …

Thank you! I did find Curio, but didn’t look too hard at it since it didn’t have any iOS apps… but, I’m slowly starting to rethink my need for iOS apps for a tool like this, honestly. I think I’ll take another look at Curio – it seems perfect for what I’m needing…


If you have info in Curio that you need access to on the road/couch, you can set it up to create a PDF of your idea space in a folder. When you exit Curio, it will update the PDF.
You can also link it to your reminders, so that creating a todo checkbox in Curio will create a reminder. If you check the reminder off on, say, your phone, it will be checked off in Curio too.
It’s really an under appreciated program.