DevonThink Help

I am struggling with something that seems like it should be simple. I’ve learned it’s best to organize my DT database on my Mac as it’s too cumbersome on iOS. However, I want to do the reading and markup of my research on the iPad. How can I flag articles for reading later on the iPad so I can easily find them later? Smart Groups don’t sync. I’ve tried flagging the articles, but I don’t see a way to search for flagged articles either. What am I missing?

I suggest using the Global Inbox in DEVONthink to Go as the hub for your reading, annotation, collection, and note taking on the iPad. Labels and Flags can be applied to work-in-progress, and you can set the Global Inbox to only show labeled and flagged items. Labels and Flags sync fine.

Use the View Options (three bars at the bottom of the Global Inbox left-hand column) to control these settings.

If you sync your major or larger databases, then move you finished work to the database(s) on the iPad. Otherwise, sync and then move things out of the Global Inbox on the desktop or laptop main DEVONthink version.

I personally sync major databases only when I want to carry around a lot of files for a meeting or something. I prefer the Global Inbox or even a small research-only database for day-to-day data collection in DEVONthink to Go. As you pointed out, it’s not always simple working with a big database on DTTG.


I use @reading as a tag. You can access tag lists for each database easily.

I sometimes also use a tagging approach - but @anon41602260’s suggestion would certainly work well too.

That said, my preferred option [YMMV, obviously] is to replicate PDFs that I want to specifically annotate on the iPad, into a specific Annotation folder.

Over in DTTG2, when I have finished annotating them in Goodreader etc., those changes are then automatically reflected back on the DTPO, after the sync, to both the PDFs in that Annotation folder, and the ‘original’ files, in their original groups/folders.

Trashing the PDFs in the Annotation folder, then leaves only the originals, with annotations, remaining. So you don’t have to move anything yourself, which is useful if you have plenty of nested folders, or are systematically collecting files to annotate, from a wide selection of folders/groups.


Maybe that’s my problem. I don’t want to leave everything in the global inbox. I am doing all my organizing and tagging on the laptop, but then I want to be able to find it later on the iPad very quickly.

I’ve tried the view options to “show flagged,” but when I do that nothing shows up at all — even though I’ve flagged the article on the Mac. When I go in and I find the article, it does show as flagged, so I’m not sure what is going on with that.

Yeah, that was an option I was considering next. I was just trying to save the trouble of UNtagging @reading after I read it. But it does seem the simplest solution. I wonder if DevonThink will ever get smart folder sync over to the iPad. I have them all saved to a smart folder now, but it doesn’t sync to the iPad.

Interesting! I had not thought of this approach. It seems more automated. I have not messed with replicating items yet, but I think I will give this a go. Thanks!

This is a set of commonly reported shortcomings of DEVONthink to Go @doty – lack of global smart groups that look across databases, lack of database-centric smart groups, lack of a robust Search feature. Also the failure to sync flags correctly 100% of the time is a good example of the endless bugs that seem to plague DTTG. At this point, DTTG is probably a heroic effort that may never fully succeed above the C+ quality level until tighter cross-platform document management is available from Apple.

@bradg’s approach is in line with my thinking. Keep the structure on DEVONthink to Go simple and limited.

Yeah. I’m new to DevonThink. I’ve tried their forum, but a) it’s super hard to read and b) a lot of the posts are seriously outdated. So, I hopped over hear to post and you guys never let me down! Thanks. I’m off to figure out replicating PDFs!!!

Wow. DTTG was one of the few reasons I had thought to give DT another go but with that review I will look elsewhere.

I love the app and it’s one of the few if only things I’ve found that can hold all my research (including videos and photos in addition to articles). For me, it’s worth these growing pains to figure out how to work around it’s limitations. Good luck to you @dfay

@BradG I’m struggling to figure out how to do this. Where do you replicated the PDF to? I have replicated it to a group (called “to read”), but the group is not showing up on the iPad.

This is an excellent approach and it highlights one of the great advantages (there are others) of DT’s replicate function, which many people don’t seem to grok completely. The Take Control book on DT explains this nicely, right close to the beginning.

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The new group is no different from any others that you have created inside DTPO, and synced to DTTG. It’s just a group, that happens to contain Replicants.

I wouldn’t know why it’s not appearing that side - but as mentioned above, nothing different needs to be done.

On the main screen of DTTG, tap Edit in the upper right hand corner of the navigation panel. There you will see options for different default smart groups. Tap Flagged and it will always show on that devices main screen.

I usually have Unread, Flagged, and Recently modified selected.

@joshsullivan oh my gosh thank you!!! They are all gray, so it never occurred to me I could click on them and make something happen. That is so much simpler!!!

If I may be so bold to ask another question… Sometimes I have two articles that are very similar and/or I want to compare them. Is there any way in DT to “link” the two so I see the other article and can quickly jump to it for reference?

You could just open them in separate windows. There is a DT script called Open in two windows that will open a single document in two windows (which can be VERY useful), but it can also open two documents in separate windows if you select both before invoking the script. In this case, I don’t think it does anything other than simply opening the two, which you can do without the script.

Or, am I misinterpreting your question?

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You’re right, that is super useful. But no, I’m wanting an actual link to another article. I want something in DevonThink to remind me that the other article exists. Sometimes there is a followup study related to a prior study and I want to reference both of them, but I forget the other exists in a large database.

I think the only way to specifically add a link would be to place the item links for each document into the other. But if you don’t want to sully the documents I don’t think that would work.

DT also does a good job of identifying similar documents in the “See Also & Classify” pane. If the two documents are as closely similar as you say, then I would expect the top item in the “See also” window for one document would be the other, closely similar one.

You could also create a unique tag that would be applied to the two documents.