Do you store proprietary files in DEVONthink?

Title says all, but do you store proprietary files that DEVONthink itself can’t read in DEVONthink?

For example if I have a Apple Pages file, I currently store it in iCloud/Pages. But now I’m wondering if it makes sense put it into the respective DT project, to have everything in one place instead of my project scattered across numerous apps (DT, iCloud, Obsidian, etc).

(Currently I only stored finalized things like an exported PDF, but it’s getting a pain if I actually do have to edit it again)

But I guess that would probably cause issues when opening/saving directly and dealing with ‘recent files’, wouldn’t it?

How are you personally handling this?

1 Like

I index my files and folders in Devonthink and do not store items in the database, and have no problem at all with proprietary file (I have a lot of pages documents, for example).

I don’t think that storing them inside the database could cause problems tho, they still are in a folder structure on your Mac, but you might want some more confirmation on this.

same here. I index folders rather than storing in the database. That way I have 2 ways access to the files and also can support 3-2-1 backup strategy and remote access. Lean database syncs easier as well.

1 Like

DEVONthink can handle any kind of file. I store almost everything in there, the exceptions being zip files, disk images, and any kind of binary file that’s not a document. For proprietary documents, as long as macOS can generate a quick look preview DEVONthink can show the file properly.

I have Word, PowerPoint, Pages, Numbers, OmniOutliner, and OmniGraffle files in my database… to name just a few.


I use the index function. Then I basically have an alias of the file in DEVONthink 3. I don’t understand the technicalities really but that is how I see it. As @memex does I sometimes wonder why I just don’t index everything. I just got a note from Jacob who does the useful Trickster app and that now works with DEVONthink 3 so I don’t need to think about it for a bit.

I store most files in their. I never index. DEVONthink can read most proprietary files.

1 Like

I sometimes wonder why I just don’t index everything.

Help > Documentation > In & Out > Importing & Indexing, especially the Indexing and the filesystem subsection.


I store everything. Don’t seem that DT has any issue with this but has the nice effect that I only have one big thing to backup.


The default mechanism is importing for a reason :slight_smile:


I used to, I had one database that was indexed but most of my others were all imported. However, FWIW the indexed database never had any problems with the DTTG bug that still causes files to go AWOL, sometimes without an ability to get them back from backups because you didn’t realize they were missing for months.

Going forward I’m eliminating DEVONThink as my primary data storage tool.


Eh… what bug is this? Missing files? I’m using DT as my primary file storage… maybe I shouldn’t?

Go check out the ghost files and threads on the DEVON forums for the issues and there is no real resolution. Some recent releases supposedly fixed the problem but not really. I just recently had more files lost and now on the forums over there the answer is file a support ticket but my previous one was not fixed so why bother. I’d rather spen the time and energy getting critical stuff the heck out of DT instead. I’m focusing on the imported files as so far it seems like indexed files are less likely to have been caught in the bug.

To be fair, the bug appears to have happened years ago and it was only the newest DTTG that allowed it to surface. I say that because in my case I lost over 200 files that I only look at every 2-3 years and by the time I realized that the files themselves were in fact empty, even with doing all the database verifications etc that Devon recommends on a regular schedule, I had already scrolled off my extensive backup system so they were unrecoverable. Because they were imported and so hidden in the DT package on my hard drive any tools to check the lengths of the database didn’t help because I would expect that to change over time so mearly seeing a change in the DT database did not alert me to the problem. YMMV but I lost all faith in a system I depended on for over 10 years.

1 Like

Yeah I thought about it. You know it works so well for me now I don’t want to touch it really or feel the need to modify my workflow, Houdah Spot and Trickster can both pick up files in it. I would spend more time rationalizing than I would save if you know what I mean. Perfection is the enemy of productivity!

I put notes and stuff straight in there now. Half the time, to be honest I don’t know where the file I am using is really. It means I have to have good system wide back up. Which is a good idea anyway. 3-2-1 and extra copies. I used to store my ‘Documents’ folder as a back up on thumb drives. It isn’t a good way anymore. Other than that I can’t see any problems. I do store my DEVONthink 3 database on a thumbdrive now and again.

We don’t advocate this as thumbdrives aren’t meant for sustained I/O and the build quality is sub-par. A connected external drive, especially an SSD if you have the cash laying around :slight_smile:

1 Like

Based on what I had read previously and now your post, I too am going to move away from DEVONthink. I think I can use iCloud along with robust back ups to store all of my necessary files. I will only used DEVONthink as a utility, e.g., converting files, OCR etc.


Erm this post is rather worrying… what to do? Do I move everything out of DT?!

Until or unless oyu get caught with data files being emptied and unrecoverable.

I know, really I am belt, belt and braces. I have it backed up on three SSDs too and back blaze

I thought I was well covered too. I do a daily bootable backup of my internal drive on all machines. I have a rotating set of 3 backups with 1 in a media rated fireproof safe here in the house, one in a similar safe in another building on the farm and one copy in a similar safe in another city. I also have a time machine backup both on an external drive and on our NAS server. I also have a few OSB (Oh S*** Backup) drives of varying ages but I usually clean them off about 6-8 months after I make major system changes. None of that helped with the data loss I experienced with DT because by the time I went to look at my older archived files in DT they had already been corrupted to zero length and were also now off the end of my oldest backup in the chain. So totally gone. I had no clue there was a problem. The first 200 or so that it happened to was not a huge deal but just a PITA, the second couple of hundred I was able to recover some and the latest ones I caught the issue before I’d run off any of my backups. But the entire thing totally soured me on using DT for mission critical data.

I was doing regular verify and repair database and even the occasional optomize and about once a quarter rebuild the database, all the things suggested by DEVON to maintain good database health but it all failed.

1 Like

Is this really still an issue? I found four or five threads on the DEVONthink forum and except for your post of a few hours ago there had not been any discussion since February.