Getting started with DevonThink - Question

I have decided to start playing with DTP as an alternative to Evernote. So far it has been a good experience and the ability to import my Evernotes has been a great way to start climbing up the hill.

But I have a question. One thing that I common do in Evernote is create a new note and add some text like "This is the presentation that I gave to xxx about yyy. Then I drag the file to the note. So now I have the file and some text information all in one place. Sometimes I will add subsequents revisions with other notes.

What is the best way to do something like this in DTP?

Thanks in advance.

I just tested that. I created a new Rich text note in DEVONThink Pro Office, typed in some text and then dragged a PDF file into the body of the note. Seems to work just fine.

When I click on the note I see my text and an icon to the PDF and if I double click on the icon it comes up in Acrobat for me to read.

As you have discovered, notes in Evernote are containers that can have text and other attachments. There is nothing but notes in Evernote. This is different than DEVONthink where things just are.

I have several suggestions:

  1. Use note links. In your note (whatever format that not may be, .txt .md .rtf, .docx, .pages or whatever), paste the item link to the file you are referring to. You can copy the item link for anything in your database (groups/folders, tags, individual files or documents, specific databases) with the cmd-opt-ctrl-c command (or from the right-click menu).
  2. Use tags to group related things together.
  3. Think of DEVONthink Groups as if they were Evernote notes: Create a group that has a meaningful title, such as what you might have named your Evernote note in an alternative reality. If you don’t want to actually store the text note and attachments in this group, create/store them where they make sense and replicate them all to this group. That way the text note and the related files can live in whatever group/folder makes sense, but also appear together as replicants in the single group that would replace an Evernote “note”.
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I just actually tested dragging a file into a note in DT and it worked thoug, so while your solution also works the simpler one appears to as well.

Yes, this is possible with .rtfd files, but there is limited cross-platform compatibility for .rtfd files and I’m always a bit wary of their overall compatibility over time and between programs.

But definitely in a pinch this is certainly an option. Just an option with a caveat or two.

Thanks for the suggestions. I guess I have a few things to play with now. Changing work habits is always a bit daunting on one hand (and a little bit exciting on the other hand).

I added some pictures to DTTG and put the info in the comments section of the file. Maybe that could be an option too?

I don’t recommend using RTF files with images dragged into them (RTFD) since there are limits to their usefulness, as @Scottisloud.

I suggest using a Formatted Note (DEVONthink > Data > New > Formatted Note), which DEVONthink Help describes as:

Formatted notes allow to write simple formatted text including embedded images that can be viewed on any system with just a web browser. While the range of formatting options is smaller that that of rich text they are much more compatible to today’s standards. You can find all available formatting commands in the Edit and Format menus. By default formatted notes use the font set in Preferences for rich texts and notes.

Technically formatted notes are based on HTML, the language of the world-wide web. Images are embedded directly into the HTML code so that formatted notes are completely self-contained. The HTML code is also cleaned from unnessessary tags and an identifying meta tag is inserted that lets DEVONthink Pro Office distinguish formatted notes from normal HTML pages. Form tags, e.g., for checkboxes and input fields are not removed and the status of checkboxes and form fields is retained.

Under the covers, Evernote is doing something similar with XML. Formatted Notes can be exported into Word, and other formats. And if you are using them as a replacement for Evernote notes, they are cross platform between DEVONthink on the desktop and DEVONthink to Go.


Good point with that option. I think the take-away is that you can replicate that feature in DEVONThink but the OP will need to decide which system works best for them.

I usually do the opposite as OP mentioned. The - fi - presentation file get a comment with the info. When there is more to add I will create a markdown file named exactly like the presentation. This file gets a link added to all relevant content files.