Good arguments to buy Devonthink Pro

After trying to get this sorted out for the last week, thankfully I still have a good chunk of time left on my trial, lost out on the $15 for iOS.

Here are my findings. (For me at least) I’ve been an Evernote user for a long time.

DevonThink in my opinion, is not meant to start “writing notes” into it. It’s your storage, your cabinet, reference, etc.

Evernote, while it has limitations, does the storage and cabinet concepts, maybe it lacks a bit in searching, but I can also start my notes in there, if I choose.

For me that’s a difference that matters to me.

On iOS, I start out with Drafts and in ends up at Byword or Evernote, depending on the scenario.
On Mac, I start out with Byword or at times Evernote (if something came up in my searches), but at the end of the day, the note ends up being stored in Evernote.

I think if I were to develop my use in DevonThink, I would probably utilize an external editor more frequently (perhaps Evernote Basic Free, no subscription) and just store in DevonThink.


Each person’s needs and preferences will be different but I take all of my meeting and conference notes in DT. I do not, however, do short or long form writing in DT, I use Ulysses for that purpose. I can also use Drafts or Ulysses to write notes and send them directly to DT via the share menu.

Hi Joe: I am taking the plunge to DEVONThink, and dump Evernote. I did she DEVONThink offering Devon Nagent Pro. Have you had any experience with Devon Nagent Pro? please let me know & hope you are having a good week.

Do you have Pro or Pro Office? why one over the other? thank you

Thank you, you answered my question about purchasing Devon Nagent Pro. Yes!!!

You are most welcome. It is elegant, but works. :slight_smile:

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I have DEVONAgent but have not used it enough yet to determine if it useful for me. I need to make a concerted effort one of these days.

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I blew a few hours trying to get useful results from DevonAgent - discussion here : The other Devons...Agent, Sphere

Self-hosted WebDAV would be the way to go…

You can do both. Have DT index your zettelkasten files.

Indeed, but at least now DT looks cheaper and easier =)

Last year I gave DevonTHINK a serious try. I wanted to build a repository for my tech support business, which meant that the database(s) would hold pdfs, web links, and sometimes rtf/text documents. It had to be accessible on iOS (iPad especially), and seamless to put stuff into and to categorize.

After about 8 months, I gave up in frustration; it just doesn’t live up to its promises.

Why I left:

I couldn’t get sync to be 100% reliable. I had too many times when stuff just wouldn’t appear on my iPads, and I wasted lots of time troubleshooting. (I know: it’s getting better. But looking at the forums, it’s always getting better. Sync is hard.)

Getting stuff into DT’s “inbox” was easy, but you couldn’t easily put it into the correct place on iOS. If I know exactly how an article should be categorized, then I should able to put it where it belongs as I’m adding it to DT — every time, correctly. I don’t want to dump a bunch of stuff and then triage it later, since I have to re-read it to decide where it goes.

The automatic categorization stuff never worked. Ever. After doing so much up front work, I expected DT to be able to learn from my organization, but it was dumb as a bunch of rocks. The one thing that could have kept me using the app was if I could just throw content at it and DT would properly categorize it for me, as their marketing promised. But it simply could not.

Search often couldn’t help me find what I need in my databases, possibly because the difference between various articles was too slight. I was usually better off scanning for what I needed.

The interface is incredibly cluttered, full of “junk”. To someone as visually oriented as myself, this made it really hard to focus on my work.

Not much of the interface is obvious, and while it is possible to learn, it’s not a pleasant experience. It’s a significant hurdle.

(It reminds me of Photoshop, actually. They’re both horrid interfaces. But I stick with Photoshop because (1) I have been using it for more than a decade, so I know my way around and (2) I don’t have to pay for it because I need to purchase an Adobe subscription for other applications.)

The text editor is, likewise, inelegant. I found myself not wanting to take notes there.

None of this invalidates other people’s views, of course. We all have different needs, and obviously there’s lots of good in this program. But with DevonTHINK’s high cost in time and money, I wanted to put my experience out there to help others avoid wasting theirs.


I am very curious to hear from Rosemary Orchard on your challenges with DEVONthink.

That experience is quite consistent with my trials of DT. I know some people love it, but it has never stuck for me.


Almost exactly why I’m trying Keep It…


I’m trying to keep it also, but trying to see how it can better serve my workflow. I don’t want to get stuck with an app that I barely utilize

ok i’m about to be all in on Devon Think - i d/l an instance to my mac mini - as I’m one of the ones impacted by Evernote dying a slow death/having issues

i imported a few PDFs and I like what i see thus far… my question is about storage/ and sync management and having DT installed on multiple machines

so I presume I always have to have enough local storage based on the size of my DT databases? how does cloud sync work can you not store data locally? I’m just a bit confused at the sync/storage concept

and I’m worried due to my 4k notes in EN ill quickly run out of HD space on my mini or mac air

If someone could explain how this works I would appreciate it

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IMO, the recent versions made sync setup a lot easier to use when they got iCloud syncing to work. There are several other options available but they do take a bit of knowledge (IMO) to get them set up.

Basically, at least how I understand it, to sync a database you can either do a point-to-point sync between two devices or set up a repository to hold a copy of the data that each device syncs against. DT calls the latter respository a sync store.

A sync store can contain one or more database. Also, each device can sync all or a subset of the databases in each sync store that has been configured on the device. Lastly, you can choose whether to download the files or just the metadata when you set up syncing on secondary devices. I believe, if just the metadata is downloaded, the full file gets retrieved (presuming you have network access) on demand.

Presuming the sync store location has enough space, you could keep all use it to sync all databases then sync certain databases on devices with limited storage (sort of like Dropbox’s selective sync feature; if you don’t sync a DB, it doesn’t exist on that device).

At one time, I was using multiple sync stores each containing one database. My sync store resided on a NAS in my house. This worked OK when I was home but had issues when I was off my home network.

With iCloud support added, I set up iCloud as my sync store for all databases and then point all devices at it. I have enough storage on each device got be able to keep full copies of all documents but it did make the initial sync for each device a long process.

Of course, people who don’t want to store a copy of their databases on a cloud service, they can set up one of the other options such as using a WebDAV server they control. I thought about it but, at least at the time, found it more work than I wanted to deal with given I currently don’t have anything that sensitive in DT.

JoePreiser has a good description of your choices.

In my case I run the Server app on my main iMac. It’s sole purpose is to run WEBDav for my sync of both DEVONThink and Omnifocus as I am very cloud adverse and do have lots of very sensitive information in both software packages. I put all my databases onto the DAV folder and sync to there. I have separated my databases so that the ones I wnat on my mobile devices are fairly small and the ones I only need access to on the macs are large.

I pull the full contents down into the mobile devices rather than waiting to pull the info down as I access it.

I know things would be a lot faster if I had a separate Mac to run the server app but all my other macs are in use and this works. Occasionally it gets slow but livable.

It is true that when I am out and about I cannot sync my devices but that isnt an issue for me as I can get back to my home base and sync easily. I could set it up so that my WEBDav is visible to theoutside network to give me mobile sync but I haven;'t botherd to yet as I don’t need it.

I only wish you could in the iOS Files App search for words inside the documents.