DEVONthink - Editions

I am so tempted by DT… I want to get away from EverNote and DT keeps coming up…

Am I being really stupid though? Will I need the Pro to search PDFs, scans and images like EN does so well? Or will I need to use a certain scan for OCR to work?

I want to store my life in a program, my paperless house, but I cannot decide if DT is the way forward.

Presumably you are all on a Pro license?

I am sorry if this has been asked many times before… maybe having a new born and lack of sleep is finally taking its toll but I do feel like I am being really thick here! Thank you so much in advance.

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DEVONthink/Pro can be downloaded for free from the DEVONtechnologies website, and the download offers a trial-period of 30 days or 150 hours of runtime, whichever is longer. So you can decide for yourself.


I would suggest that’s probably not a good starting point for organizing things. Best to slice the problem into achievable chunks. Like “I want to store my bills somewhere”, or “I want to store my child’s school work somewhere”.

Jumping out looking to store your “life” is going go result in a lot of second guessing and might end up disappointing.

So, yeah, long winded way of confirming @bowline’s advice. And take a deeeeeeeeeeep breath :smile:


good advice from others here. I will say that I think you need longer than 30 days to fully harness DEVONthink 3 's power. I would buy it, Pro version too. Go for it. I think your approach is good. The only way to go paperless is to go paperless if you know what I mean? I do use notebooks in various contexts but I have a system for data entry from them. Too complicated to interest anybody else. Again just go for it.


DEVONthink is one of the harder apps to wrap your head around. I too would advise against attempting to overly optimize your DT paperless office during the initial setup.

I currently own a Standard edition license and am looking to upgrade to Pro edition soon. The primary limitations of the Standard edition to me is lack of OCR. [1] Custom metadata and concordance may also prove useful to me.

[1]: In case you’re wondering, Standard edition can search PDFs etc., but only if the PDFs already have a text layer.

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One thing to note about the trial mode is that it includes access to all features, including the server edition. The app in trial mode identifies in the menus which features are premium, so it is beneficial to learn what is standard, what is Pro, and what is the server edition so that these is no confusion if you purchase a license.


Agree with recommendations by others here. Go for trial first and am sure you’ll end up buying. But it is a complex & powerful app that will take some time to master.

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I was hoping to hear this!

Perfect. Thank you. Just as I thought.

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That was my frustration. There was no way to distinguish whilst playing with.

Pro/Server features are marked with a blue dot in menus. The only difference between Pro and Server is the server


I didn’t realise that any PDF already in DT needs converting before its searchable (unless as you say it already has a text layer). Similiary using say a scan app it needs to be imported as a searchable image. Whilst that is a hassle for anything before it will need to be considered going forward I guess…

The limitation I mentioned only applies to the Standard edition. The Pro edition, which you’re considering purchasing, does have a built-in ABBYY OCR module.

You can set up a Smart Rule that automatically applies OCR to any “non-searchable” PDFs. It’s pretty sweet.

That is fantastic! Thank you. I am sold!

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I used to have a Fujitsu scan --> Devonthink OCR setup.

My Scansnap is too old, so when I moved to DT 3 I just bought a standard licence and use Readdles Scanner Pro App which does OCR for me. I have set it to automatically scan to Devonthink. So I can go about my day scanning things and everything will go to DT inbox.

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Ah brilliant - that’s my scanning app on iPhone. Do you have the OCR automatic recognition turned on?

Also, how do you set it to scan to DT automatically? Do I need the iOS app installed first?!

Yes turn on the OCR, and iCloud syncing and it scans to Readdles iCloud folder, which gets synced to the Mac. A simple hazel rule copies it to Devonthink.

Thank you very much. You have just saved me a lot of money!!!

I have purchased DEVONthink 3 but don’t know where to start to learn the program. I picked up the latest edition of the ebook “Take Control of DEVONthink 3”. Is that a good starting point? Thanks.

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Yes I would say so. I read that and that sold DT to me. Loved the book.