DevonThink Consulting

I am looking for a DevonThink consultant to help me jumpstart my DT implementation.

I can be reached at 310^308^4489

Here are my rough notes on what I need

My main reason for wanting to get DT working is that I spend way too much time looking for information.

I hate the share sheet feature on iOS. It has made it very difficult to develop a standard methodology for storing information when all of a sudden the option that you want is not available.
As a result I have my stuff spread out everywhere. OneNote, Dropbox, OmniFocus, QNAP, Documents by Readal, Drafts, Notability, GoodNotes, Craft and even just a little in Notion.

I am retired. I have two rental properties and I do hard money lending.

I manage the family bills and submitting health claims. I struggle with health claims. It is hard to match up what has been submitted with what has been paid.
I would love to be able to set up a standard process for this. My Health Insurance company correspondence does not make it easy.

I am working on a project to help High School and College kids make good career choices.

I find Hook and Houda Spot very helpful. I would like to integrate DT with OmniFocus so that I have the data necessary to do the task linked to or in the task itself.

I have a ScanSnap scanner hooked up to my Mac and PC w a Switch. I would like to have it just scan into DevonThink. I have it working but I don’t really scan there now as I don’t trust DT

I use SwiftScan Pro to scan from my iPhone. I would like to get it readily syncing to DT.

I have Hazel and was planning on using it to name files and move them where they belong but I have heard that some of the functionality is also present in DT. I do not have Hazel implemented.

I have iCloud and might keep my Dropbox account if you think that it would be helpful

I have a lot of disk drives that contain files that might also be on my Mac but I have taken a snap shot of the files/folders and I am now struggling to determine what I can get rid of. Thank God drives are cheap.
That said I think that I would like to move to an annual system for my files so that I only keep the working files 2 years back online and the other later years could be stored on secondary storage where I could still quickly get at them.
Not sure just how workable this would be but it would probably make the databases smaller and searches faster.

I have a QNAP NAS with 16 TB of storage.

I have a M1 Mac mini, Late 2013 Mac Book Pro,( I have heard that it won’t support macOS Monterey, if so I will be getting a new notebook) iPad and iPhone.

Hopefully we can Zoom/Facetime and share screens to set up the databases. I guess that I could point a camera at my iPhone.

I break my life and file system down as follows:

But then it gets a little more complicated. This needs a bit of cleanup

Questions / Action Items

Index folder or bring into DT
Advantages vs Disadvantages
How do I Clean up duplicate files in a safe manner
I want to take the duplicates to a folder so that I can back them up.
In testing I got a Failed Databse Verification, Plz repair the database.
This is not bad while in test mode but if I was in production and had moved the files into the database, what would I do?
Can I move the files into the database, clean them up and then export the files back to finder - iCloud
DTTG - How do I set up a comnon database between my Mac, ipad, iphone.
Would you just set it up as a inbox and then have to go into move the files where they belong
See note with Finder layout of files in icloud
How do I consolidate App directories
How do I capture a web page so that the links remain live
Do you recommend capturing as a bookmark, web archive or as a PDF

15:10 q
Clip to DEVONthink
Web Archive
Web Archive (clutter-free)
Markdown (clutter-free)
PDF (clutter-free)

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I have a few thoughts, when I get back to my mac I’ll write them out a bit more in depth.

Basically, if I were you, I’d step away from the computer and grab a pen and paper and write out a few things. Make it a mind map, outline, or whatever suits you best, but answer these questions.

  1. What am I responsible for?
  2. What do I need to track, and why?
  3. For the things I need to track, what is my ideal goal for how to track it?

Once you have the answers to those questions you should start to see a hierarchy that reflects the reality of your life.

Next, I’d list out the places for the information to live. Still in pen and paper! For example, I might put task management in Omnifocus, and reference documents in Finder. The important thing is not the applications, but the mental model for how you want to interact with your computer and your data.

I say “if I were you”, but the truth is this is exactly what I’ve done in the past. I had to simplify, simplify, simplify till I could wrap my head around what I had and where it was. It’s the only way I could manage a full time job, teaching part time at the community college, managing my home, and raising my family.

For more specific answers, I’ll post again later.


Nuts, I thought you were posting this thread to offer DevonThink consulting!

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My 2¢:

I bring all my documents into DT. That way I get the encryption and sync benefits, and I’ve always been confused by how much DT interacts with the indexed documents.

Of DT in general?

There’s a smart folder for Duplicates in DT, you can drag all the duplicates out of DT to the Finder to back up, then select them all and run the “Move Duplicates to Trash” script that comes with DT.

I’ve never run across this, but again you can drag and drop everything out of your database to the finder, destroy the database, create a new one, then drag all your files back into it. Kind of a nuke and pave approach, but it’ll work.

Yep, you can just drag and drop documents into and out of DT to the Finder.

Set up Sync with whatever backend you want, I use iCloud CloudKit, and it works fine. You can pick and choose which databases you want on each device. I download just about everything to all devices.

This might be a good use for Hazel, if what you mean is how to get the documents out of the different app directories in iCloud. The best approach is to reduce the number of places where data can live.

Printing the page to PDF should do this. Or importing it into DT as a PDF.

PDF, that ensures you get the original content in an open format and aren’t reliant on the Internet keeping the content around.

@MacSparky Field Guide in 4…3…2…1…


Or just use the Take Control book that was free with DT 3. Reading is quicker than videos.


yep, I read that the night I got DT.


Do note that duplicate detection in DT is weird and doesn’t work the way most would think, but works The One True Way that DT thinks is right. It is based on the rendered version of documents like markdown, rather than the source.

One of many of my annoyances with DT.

I agree with @ibuys ‘ recommendations above, develop your systems and mental models, then select tools that can help implement those systems.

As has been discussed before, Devon Technologies is one of the Henry Fords of “artisanal” software development. They produce software they think works the way you want, and generally are not open to feedback about what people actually need.

People have also experienced unexplained data loss (files being emptied of their contents). There were no indications from DT that it had corrupted the files, and in some cases the corrupt files were discovered after old backups had been overwritten, leaving no way to recover.

For me, DT has trust level 1 out of 10. I only keep things in it (or indexed by it) that I can recreate from other sources if needed. For instance, I store invoices for autographs I’ve bought to which I’ve added pictures of the autographs. I could recreate those from the auction’s website or from paper records. On the other hand, I would never let DT touch my source code, figures, writing, etc. for my research.

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I believe this happened once in the entire history of Devonthink - and they implemented a fix very rapidly which restored almost everyone’s data.

It’s hard for me to think of any software or hardware with a better track record than that. Even Amazon AWS - at a much higher price point - has suffered unrecoverable data loss. To me, if I put my critical data in a DT3 database and then zip that database and archive it on a NAS drive and somewhere in the cloud, that’s as close to rock-solid data storage as I can possibly imagine and fit for anyone other than maybe a national intelligence service.


and following up on that, on their forum it is uncountable how many times the response to a suggestion or bug report was “will be in the next version” or something like that.


Advantages and Disadvantages of moving files into the database vs just indexing.

OBTW, Thanks for your input.

According to them, it has not been fixed. They have a workaround that relies on your having a backup. They do not know what caused the problem.

From this thread:

We still have not located the root cause of this effect but firmly believe that it is caused by an issue in earlier versions of DEVONthink To Go 2.

  1. Identify the corrupted documents and try to replace them from your backup, best on a Mac or on another iOS device not affected.

And here’s a very long thread discussing the problem.

Due to this reminder of data loss, today I moved all my data out of DT, deleted all databases, and set up a DT_safe_store folder. Into that folder, I have ChronoSync do an hourly one-way copy of data from my working folders. I then created a new database that only indexes the data within those folders. This allows me to continue to use DT’s “See Also” function, without it having access to my working data.


I’m having a hard time understanding why you don’t stop using it given the risk your perceive and report.

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See Also is helpful.
As I’ve said, it’s fully quarantined now, and I can continue to get some value for the $300 or so that I’ve spent on it.

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Your quotes are from February 16th (when the problem reared it’s head). Since then there have been ~ eight DTTG updates and I don’t believe the problem is still an issue


Let’s hope.

The second thread I linked above shows it’s still a problem as late as June. There may be others who haven’t discovered their data is corrupt.

If I were them and had a locked post about my software causing data loss, I would certainly update it when the cause was found. But I don’t think the cause was ever found (I’m happy to be updated). To me, that is disconcerting. If they reused code or logic, that same problem could be in DTTG 3 or elsewhere, but at this point I don’t think they know.


I would trust DEVONThink with my life…and, indeed do. :grinning: I have 60+ years of daily diary (journal) entries in one database—and many other databases with other critical information. I have never epxerienced any data loss.



Treating the underlying source of files as the determinant of duplicates is not the expected behavior from the majority of our user base, hence the default behavior (noting the behavior is from us listening to our user base, not merely an individual opinion).

However, there is a hidden preference coming in the next release to index the raw source of Markdown files.


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Have you read this in DEVONthink’s Help or manual: Help > Documentation > In & Out > Importing & Indexing, especially the Indexing and the filesystem section?

This is a must read, especially if you’re indexing items in cloud-sync locations.

There was one the day before you made this post. DTTG 3 is corrupting files - #270 by OogieM - DEVONthink To Go - DEVONtechnologies Community

More properly, workarounds, as the cause is still unknown.

Finally, the problem I reported with duplicates involved files that had different links with the same display text.

So files that differed like this:




would be treated as duplicates.
If I, for instance, saw those two files listed as duplicates, I might delete one or the other thinking they are actually duplicates, when in fact one was correct and the other not.
I’m surprised the majority of users would want this behavior.