Keep It v. DevonThink

I am looking at both Keep It and DevonThink for my knowledge database. As the former is half the price of the latter, I am weighing carefully whether DT is worth the extra money. Other than the AI feature, what else makes it worth more? I like the idea of backlinks and contextual computing, so if KI doesn’t have that, then that may make the difference. Also, when is it ever worth quadruple the price to get the Pro version of Devonthink?

DT is a fully fledged document manager that is miles ahead everything else. It does everything, it’s rock solid and has E2EE. That might prove invaluable if you’re a lawyer as your handle suggests. I also find Keep It fiddly and unpolished. Finally, it’s a subscription. DT is not.

They’re two different leagues of software, frankly. It’s like saying: well, there’s Pages, but I can make do with TextEdit. Yes, you can, theoretically, but it depends on your needs. What are they?


you might find some info on the matter in this topic. :slight_smile:

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I highly recommend taking it for a test drive. They have a trial that is quite nice. I also think it’s really difficult to understand the power of DT until you use it for a while. Check out some screencasts and some of the MPU podcasts to get a better understanding.

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I’ve been using DEVONthink for (> 10 years?) and I’m still learning valuable stuff. That’s the kind of software I appreciate and keep.


My experience with Keep It was that its syncing was unreliable to the point where I stopped using it because I did not trust it to not lose information.

That is not everyone’s experience, of course, but others said similar things.

DevonThink recently had some sync issues with v3 of their new iPad app, but I believe that was quickly resolved.

Keep It is, I believe, the work of one person. DevonThink is the product of a company.

While Keep It might be cheaper in the short term, its subscription model would eventually exceed DevonThink’s price, although I’m not familiar enough with each to know how long that would take.

But the end result is that I went back to DevonThink and upgraded when the new version was available.


I also had a bad experience of unreliable syncing with KeepIt. After several years using KeepIt, I ended up going back to Evernote.

Same issue with syncing on keep it. Don’t know if it’s a problem with iCloud or the app.

This is not good to hear. I tried DT and I know I didn’t give it enough of a chance but it was so complex to me that I felt I would stop using it.

So I opted for Keep It. Seems much simpler. I only got the iOS sub and just downloaded the Mac trial so learning about sync problems sucks.

I am in the middle of trying to figure out what to do with all of my stuff as well. I have 20 years worth of ministry documents, sermons, Bible studies, church budgets, receipts, articles, and other items saved in a variety of places, including Evernote. I have been going back and forth between Keep It and Devonthink. I want all of my stuff available everywhere and want it searchable. I am a little concerned with DT using up a ton of my onboard storage space. Most of my stuff is in iCloud or Dropbox currently. Any suggestions for my use case?

I have used both DEVONthink and Keep It and honestly I much prefer Keep It. I have never had any sync issues with it and find it much easier and straight forward to use. While I used DEVONthink for quite a while I can’t say I ever enjoyed using it or really found anything compelling enough to justify the cost for me. I know many people use it and swear by it but I never got it, I guess. Keep it allows me to keep all my documents organized and has been great.

Lastly I disagree that comparing DEVONthink to Keep it is like comparing TextEdit to Pages. Keep It is quite a mature and capable program. While I agree DEVONthink has more, it’s not quite that stark or a comparison.


I completely agree with @asfrank16 - I have used DT for 10+ years, but have found that it is designed around a complexity that I just don’t use. I also find it ugly, which is an issue for me - aside from my dyslexia making this an issue for me, it also makes you not want to use the app. KeepIt however, I moved to 6 months ago and am very happy - the sync between devices have been rock solid, and very quick, and the interface is excellent. I miss DT’s auto filing/intelligent filing suggestions, but other than that KI is ace.

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It seems to me that Keep It is much more similar to Evernote than it is to DEVONthink.

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Another question: I love what David says about Contextual Computing. So my question is: I know DT has backlinks to entries, but does Keep It? Can I click through directly to a Keep It entry? That may be the decider.

If you care about back-linking, then DT is the winner. You can link between documents in Keep It, but it is 100% manual.

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Keep It has back links : Reinvented Software - Keep It URL Support

Test both apps and decide which work best in your workflow. I did and settled for DEVONthink; initially because it has a wider range of users and informative forum. It’s one of my most used apps. Though learning curve is steep and editor especially for markdown is very basic. Sometimes wondering whether should have gone with Keep It because it looks better and features are good enough for me. You can’t go wrong with either.

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I tried and tried with KeepIt, but had so many syncing problems that I had to abandon it. That was back in 2019. Maybe it’s improved since then?

It does but it’s 100% manual. This means if you want to link from one note to another you have to right click on the item you want to link to, copy link, then paste it into the note you want to link from and then repeat those steps in reverse to get a link in the other direction.

Compare that with DT that can auto link titles and tags, use brackets to link to titles, aliases, etc… and has a back link inspector to see where the document is linked to in the database.

Saying Keep It has backlink support is like saying my dishwasher supports automatic dish washing. Well it does but I still have to put the dishes in it, add soap, and turn it on. Where as DT can actually put the dishes in for you, auto add soap, and even start it (if you want). :joy:

All that said, I like Keep It a lot. It’s editor is better in many ways and the way it organizes documents clicks better for me. But if backlinking is important I wouldn’t ever recommend Keep It unfortunately.

So what is the use case for the Pro version, as opposed to standard? I can already scan with OCR, so I’m cool with it being a separate step. Standard is already expensive for a Mac app, so I am hesitant to go for Pro without some compelling reasons. Thoughts?

DEVONthink is not an expense. An expense is a recurring cost, like your caramel lattes every morning or the monthly electric bill.
DEVONthink is an investment: in your business, in your learning, in your health, in your life,…

There is a comparison matrix you can look at. Everything on this matrix is in the Pro and Server editions, not the Standard edition.