A complete and utter newbie

Bear with me. :blush: I am a writer, novels mostly, and I bought DT Pro today on the advice of a number of my fellow scribblers from another site, as preparation for better organizing myself for my next “project.” It’s a steep learning curve for me, but I’m forging ahead. I’ve created about 7 databases and spent some time this evening moving various files and folders from my Finder into the inboxes I’ve created in the sorter. All is going well, so far.

But here’s my question–am I using up way too much space on my hard drive, essentially duplicating files by copying them into DT? I think what I want to create are mostly Replicants, so if I change one file it’s “replicated” in its twins, but by dragging and dropping files into the sorter inboxes, have I unwittingly sabotaged myself?

I’m sure I’ll figure this out at some point, but feedback from the informed would be greatly appreciated.

Many thanks.

@Mollys Mum
Now are you sure that Vic and Keith know you’re hanging about over here?
You might try indexing rather than importing. You can do so through the inboxes in the sorter, and once you drop the file into DTPro you can make a replicant. The original document is not imported into DTPro so if you want to change anything, you need to do it in the original document and then sync it since sync only goes one way. To index rather than import, you can drag the file into the sorter inbox holding down the option key.

Hope this helps. If I’ve misstated anything, others will chime in to help. Good luck.


Seems like a lot of work from the get-go. If these are related to the same project, do you think that groups and subgroups in a single database might be easier to manage?

Nope. You can restructure by moving things around any time (or eventually use the AI built into DTPO). It’s like the writing process itself – experiment, restructure, experiment more, restructure again. Your intuition about using replicants is important. Don’t let DTPO’s flexibility and power intimidate; just use the features that seem natural at that time.

With public beta 7 it is possible to change some types of indexed files inside DTPO and this changes the original (e.g., RTF files, text, etc.). Files that require a proprietary editor (e.g., Pages, or Word) still need to be changed outside the database. But, if you open the file in Pages, change it, then save it, the changes will be seen in DTPO without needing to sync. Hint: customize your toolbar and put the “open externally” item there for quick access to the proper editor for each document type.

I am being stalked. :laughing: Jpars, how did you find me so quickly?
Korm, the databases are not all related to the same project, they’re separate projects (i.e. separate novels, and then I created databases for Home stuff, Horse stuff, yadda yadda). They’re all pretty distinct from one another.

Thanks for the hint about customizing the toolbar to open externally. Great idea.

Now, in SMALL words, explain this:

Tell me how to take one of the files in a database inbox now in the sorter and put it into the database as a replicant. I’ve pulled up the database window for “General Writing” and in the inbox I have a doc which is a poem by Emily Dickinson. Is it a file or a replicant, or does it even really exist in DT yet, as it’s still in the inbox for that database? And how can you tell whether something is a file or a replicant?

And WHY in the preview is my spelling of D i c k i n s o n changed to “thingy”??? :laughing: :laughing:

(I’m not quite as dense as it would appear; once I get it I’ll be fine.) :blush:


Poor Emily. :frowning:

Files held in one of the inboxes in sorter are imported or indexed into DT when the respective database is opened, i.e., open a closed database and you will hear the sound signaling the sorter inbox has been emptied. If the database is already open when you drag something into its sorter inbox the file–imported or indexed–immediately appears in DT.

You probably know by now that you can command-option-click-drag-and-drop to index. And import by just click-drag-and-drop.

Once the file–indexed or imported–is in your database you can choose to duplicate or replicate, which are indicated by the file name/info turning blue or red respectively. With replicants you can use scripts-data-find replicants to show which version of a file is a replicant and which is an original, though in the case of indexed files they are both in essence representative replicants of the original file which sits outside DT.

Hope this helps and again anyone more knowledgeable about all this than I am, please way in to help Mollys Mum. My workflow doesn’t include indexing many files.

MM, after years of keeping some stuff in the Finder and some stuff in Devonthink, I’m now keeping nearly all my stuff in Devonthink. Anything to do with words, anyway - numbers and images have other homes.

You can put stuff into DT with ease–too much ease, it encourages wanton packrat behaviour–and if your material is from the web or an email it carries a link to quickly get you back to the original source material. DT’s Search facility provides more focused results than Spotlight, and once you’ve accumulated a good store of material, the AI becomes surprisingly useful for filing or reminding you about related things that you might otherwise forget.

Don’t get too carried away about making separate databases. That said, I have about 15, but just one for work that holds some millions of words. If your writing all follows a similar theme, you might find you leverage DT’s capabilities better by putting all your material into a single database so that material you collect for one book can inform another. Isn’t that how it works in your head?