A question concerning MANUAL & INEXPENSIVE DTP3 backups

I’m sorry to ask such a noob question, but after reading through just about every thread on DTP3 backups in the forum, I’m still confused and I don’t want to screw this up.

To put it simply, I’m looking for the least expensive, manual way to run a weekly backup of my DTP3 database and save it in the cloud. Will the following concept work and will the backup contain my .pdf source files should I ever need to restore everything from scratch?

  1. Highlight the database I wish to backup.
  2. Run the, Export/Daily Backup Archive script.
  3. Locate the Backup folder and copy the .dtBase2.zip backup file onto my iCloud Drive.

Will this plan work? If not, I’m open to any suggestions. Thank you!

Welcome @winmker

Are you importing the files into your database?

Why does it have to be manual and only once a week?


My goal is to find the least expensive option for backing up my DTP3 database and, since I’m new to this, I was making the assumption that performing a manual backup once per week would be the least costly and less time consuming option. I’m open to any suggestions you might have. Thank you!

Like @chrillek said—“why manually”?

My solution is that I slightly altered the onboard Daily Backup Archive script and set a reminder for each database to run the script. The reminders set the intervals, the scripts hold the target folders. Which in my case is a cloud folder, just not iCloud.

The script save the databases as .zip files so there are no troubles with cloud services.

Please note that I use the online .zip files as backups in addition to local backups, both created with Time Machine and otherwise.

Time Machine is on board and can back up continuously. Arq can run at scheduled times and back up to the cloud. There are other similar products.

I’d not go for manual backup because humans tend to forget things or have other, more pressing concerns. Automated backups run in the background whenever you want or it’s necessary.

Also, this question has been raised often times here. Searching in the forum should give you plenty information.


That’s part of my backup strategy (weekly archive)
Instead of manual, I have it launched via the reminder feature
Warning - this is a single copy with no versioning

I also run Mac Time Machine backups for a local copy with versioning
It runs hourly in the background
Cost will be for an external drive

will the backup contain my .pdf source files

Yes, if the files are imported into the database instead of being indexed

Your backup strategy should reflect the value of your data. You may have missed Jim’s question in the second post in this thread, but the answer to it is important. If you are indexing rather than importing records, your backup may otherwise not contain all the data you expected it to (or, of course, you may be fully aware of all the caveats).

Some while back I initiated a thread on backup strategies, which you will find here if you are interested.


Thanks for your response! I never use File/Import to bring my files into the database. I mostly drag and drop the .pdf docs into the Global Inbox or I print them as a .pdf into DTP3.

Thank you for explaining this. I’m sorry, but I didn’t fully understand Jim’s question. I didn’t realize that there was a difference between indexing and importing. As I said to DTLow, I believe I’m indexing my records. I never use the Import function. I also agree with your point about backup strategy. I will checkout the link you shared in an effort to learn more.

I’m sorry… as you can see from my reply below, I didn’t understand your question. I think I understand it now. I’ve not been using the Import function.

Drag and drop functions as an import
Indexed files are identified with icon

That sounds amazing! I’m unfortunately not skilled enough to alter any scripts, but I think I understand what you’re saying about the .zip files. I read somewhere that .dtBase2.zip files can get corrupted if stored in the cloud, is that correct? I never thought backing up would be so difficult, but I need to figure this out.

If you are dropping/printing your files into DT (in any place, but Global Inbox is the most common place), you are doing the same as in File/Import: your own files are inside DT databases. And you discard original ones in case of dropping, as you at that moment have two same files: the original one outside of DT database and a dropped copy into DT, and I expect you discard the original one.

The other strategy is File/Index, that does not put your files into DT. DT reads your file, gets whatever it needs from it, and updates the database.


  1. Import/Drop/Print-into: your metadata and files are inside DT database.
  2. Index: your metadata is inside DT database but your files are outside and in original location. Indexed files have the icon that DTLow has shown above.
  3. You can have a mix of both situations in your DT Database if you want.

It seems you are using scenario number 1, then doing your export into a ZIP is a valid backup option.

Scenarios 2 and 3 will require that you manually copy the files that are not inside Database and it is your task to give the faculty of, in case of restoration, external files must go in the exact same original places.

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Related to Databases into ZIP files: no, there is no danger in put those files in a cloud. Well, not more other danger than normal risks.

The real danger comes when you put your using Database in a cloud service. For example, create a new Database inside a folder in the cloud.


And finally, you can test your backup:

  1. Get your backed-up ZIP file.
  2. Unzip in whatever place far for a cloud folder :grin:
  3. Go to DT and open that dabase: File → Open Database or double click over it.
  4. Run verify and repair database and check file integrity of that DB.
  5. Now you are sure that you are doing your backups well.
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@winmker is there a reason it needs to be backed up to a cloud service?

I ask because I am also relatively new to DT and it’s been years since I did any kind of backup of my computer, so I wanted the most frictionless and cheap option just in case something catastrophic happened. After thinking about it a while I just bought an external hard-drive and hooked up Time Machine. It’s a one-off cost (for the hard-drive) and will run automatically (if the external drive is plugged in) so it will always be up to date. It seemed the most sound option.

(Hard-drives are of course vulnerable to physical threats, but since I’m assuming most of us are on the EU and live in houses that are reasonably safe from electrical fires and the like, I decided the threat from disaster was low and that if I lost my databases it was more likely to be due to an IT problem. And if I ever flood, I will have time to retrieve important things, including my hard-drive! Although in that situation I would obviously grab my Mac too….)

An assumption common to every single person I have spoken to following house fires and floods. Whilst I cannot speak to your personal situation, my experience in disaster relief suggests that flash flooding is unpredictable to normal mortals and is more likely to leave you fighting for your life on a rooftop rather than retrieving belongings; the devastation wrought by a critical mass of water is comparable only to that brought on by war. I possess no statistics on the probability of flooding or fire, so I have no basis to guide you or anyone else. I would say, however, that in my experience the complete loss of important documents is a major component of these occurrences. I recommend protecting yourself against such loss by use of offsite backups.


You might be right, but I’m not willing to risk the loss of my data
It’s such a simple solution to upload a copy to the cloud

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That’s why everyone should have both local and remote backups. And of course more than just a copy of the latest version which might be already corrupted too.