DevonThink or Finder/Synology - Record Keeping

hey MPU,

After investing in another of @MacSparky field guides, it’s an addiction. I liked the Paperless Field Guide and DevonThink Field Guide, both taught me a few new things at looking at things, helped solidify previous practices, and confirmed my thought process on some areas of how I manage things.

With that in mind, after sitting and reviewing my DevonThink, I think it’s best to see how much I can really utilize DTPO and also do some ‘winter/spring cleaning’. For the past year, it was my hoarding ground for anything and everything.

Rather than discuss previous/current setups and get into all that, I am ‘closing’ my previous databases for now and starting fresh. I find it much easier to work than to see ‘old things’ that I don’t have a clear answer for yet.

Currently on my Synology, I have a folder called Records, contains everything broken down by several categories (Auto, Banking, Medical, Utilities, Taxes, etc). Each folder has several sub-folders and then the appropriate PDF statement or document for it.

As far as ‘Paperless’, this area gets a checkmark and completed.
As far as ‘Recording-Keeping’, I am not sure, what the appropriate solution would be. I just created a new database called “Records”, and just dragged/dropped my structure into DTPO.

  1. Did I just create double-work for myself? I now have 2 places to manage all this data?
  2. Is there a simpler way that I am not thinking about?
  3. Is DTPO the place that I want to store these types of files, how accessible would it be for other family to access?

The other idea I had was to remove everything from DTPO (work, personal, reference, etc) and treat it more like Omnifocus. In the sense of that DTPO should only have ‘active projects’ open and everything else that would be considered ‘archival’ should go on the Synology.

Looking forward to hearing feedback. Thanks,

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I’m not sure how relevant this is but… I’ve changed the way I’m working too. I tried working without DT but particularly missed the scripting ability which I use from time to time.

I’ve also closed all my previous databases and started a new one. I am not importing any content into DT directly, but rather indexing files stored on iCloud. That means I can access them through Finder if necessary.

I’m not using DTTG on my iPad any more, but just accessing the files directly as I need them.

Seems to be the best of both worlds - I can use the search/organisation/scripting features of DT, but not have files limited to DT - they’re in Finder, synched on iCloud, so I can access them through my phone or iPad as required. They’re also easy to back up. If the DT database were to become corrupted, it wouldn’t really matter.

I use a folder structure to organise, so don’t (yet) really need separate databases. I can just search within a group.

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I think @nationalinterest’s suggestion to index the folders from Synology to DEVONthink makes sense – especially if others in your household need to access the data.

There is a “server” version of DEVONthink that would enable letting others access your database, but that means your computer and DEVONthink on it need to be running when they access it – as well as a new mortgage on your house to pay for the bloated cost of the server edition.

A few years ago I got tired of faithfully storing receipts in subject-oriented folders in DEVONthink, and started throwing all receipts in a DEVONthink folder named, creatively, “Purchases”. I have never not been able to find the right receipt in seconds because DEVONthink’s search capabilities are excellent. This is a case where organization and filing do not matter.


When I went paperless 9 years ago I used the @mcsparky book for reference. For storing my documents I used a folder structure modeled after my old paper files. Looked at DevonThink but it was way too much for my simple needs. Spotlight does a good job of finding anything I can’t navigate to directly.

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