Feedback on DevonThink workflow (and some issues)

I’ve recently bit the bullet and purchased DevonThink Pro. My plan is to use it like so…

I’ve got my documents organized in folders in Dropbox. I thought of high level categories for reference documents in my life. I’ve got:

  • Work
  • Creative
  • Maintenance (House, Kids, etc)
  • Community (photos, things I make to help friends, etc.)
  • Reference
  • Archive

and I created a Database in DevonThink for each one of those folders, and then Indexed the dropbox folder into that Database so that I can quickly view and search docs. I don’t think I’ll be storing a ton of files that aren’t indexed in DevonThink - just using it to reference my pre-existing Dropbox folders (I have been saving web clippings directly on DT though). Am I losing some key benefits here? My feeling is that I’d rather mostly use DevonThink to view files, search, and also for OCR.

Issues so far:

  • At one point, I tried changing something in my database, and then the app crashed. When I opened it again, half of my databases were gone. Not sure if there’s a way to roll back but this worries me.
  • Sync on mobile seems pretty terrible!
  • Sorting files seems overly complicated. When I add something in Omnifocus for instance, it’s super easy to file it away in the right project and context. Is there a similar workflow in Devonthink? Right now I’m just clipping it to the GLobal Inbox and then I have to drag it to a deeply nested folder later… it seems inefficient but also I figure there’s a learning curve.

If anyone has A) feedback on how I’m using it, B) tips to use it more effectively for my needs and/or C) any solutions to the issues I posted, that would be very helpful.

Crashes are very unusual on DEVONthink. It’s always a good idea to contact when a crash happens. If you run into a bug, then open the Help menu, press Option, and choose the Report Bug command that appears while Option is held down. This gathers all the info needed by Support to diagnose issues and adds it to the body of any email.

I think every user has a different way to do this. Personally, I set DEVONthink > Preferences > Import > Destination to “Select Group”. This means when I use the DEVONthink share extension (say, with a document selected in Finder, or an email, etc.) the Group Selector opens. The Group Selector lets me browse the group (folder) hierarchy in all databases and choose the destination of the file, or web clipping, or whatever.

The Group Selector can be display continually on top of all open applications by choosing the menu command Tools > Show Groups & Tags. When the Group Selector is open then you can drag files, web clippings, etc., directly into database(s) and folder destination.

The DEVONthink Clipper for Safari or Chrome is useful for capturing web data.

Some editions of DEVONthink also support the Sorter – a shelf that can pop open on the side of the workspace and capture notes, files, etc.

Finally, the Take Note window at Tools > Take Notes is a useful always-on-top panel for capturing notes while working with other programs.

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Very good advice by @anon41602260 above!

And I must just echo his experience regarding crashing/stability - it stays open on my MBP, with several DBs open - and I cannot accurately think of the last time I had a crash. So if that happens again, contact Support - that is not the norm.

You can right click on a file and choose to move it using the contextual menu, that cascades out to show your full structure. Also, as you use DT and add content, it will get better at automatically suggesting where to file things (using the Classify algorithm). This doesn’t work from the Global Inbox though, so you do need to put it in a database Inbox. Then select the file, and click the “magic hat” icon to bring up the drawer to see filing suggestions.

That should not happen, have you contacted DT support? their rep (Jim) is listed on the website, and any time I’ve ever had any issues, which are rare, he’s been able to fix it for me within a day.

on DT to go my experience is that sync is super fadt, what are you running DT on? Dropbox, webdav, icloud?

Thanks for your replies! It’s good to know that you haven’t had similar issues with DT. I think I’ll just rebuild my databases as I had just gotten started and I’ll reach out to support if it happens again.

I’m syncing over Dropbox. Is that maybe why?