Accessing DT3 database on a remote computer

Hi folks,

Trying to figure out if DevonThink is a match to my needs – thoughts appreciated!

I teach classes and workshops. Sometimes, I present using my Mac laptop. Sometimes, I don’t – I use the technology podium or whatever that is native to the place I am visiting. (Yes, I do preference my laptop, but that’s not always possible.)

Generally, I have a core PPT plus lots of other random things that I may pull in (memes, videos, quotes, activities, etc.) based on the needs and flow of that particular class. This means I have a HUGE and growing haphazard and frustratingly hard to corrall collection of these random things.

DevonThink looks perfect for organizing it all – with one problem.

Right now, if I’m stuck using a PC podium to present it’s a pain, but no biggie – hop into Dropbox, snag the PPT, leave the browser open to hunt down any other random things I want later. Assuming I can find them in the mess of folders.

Am I right that if I shift to DevonThink, it’ll make my life a LOT easier when I’m on my laptop, but make my collection inaccessible to me when I’m on a remote computer / podium? Much as I hate to say it, that would be a dealbreaker.

Any solutions / workarounds that others use, that might be applicable here?

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Welcome @waystone

You are essentially correct in that DEVONthink only runs on Apple systems - macOS / iOS / iPadOS.

If you have an iPad you could use, you could run DEVONthink To Go to create, capture, and organize things. You could then open a file in DEVONthink To Go via the mobile version of PowerPoint and do the presentation.

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Thanks, Bluefrog!

I do have an iPad – but, if the location I’m presenting at has messed up laptop connectivity (otherwise I’d just be using my MacBook), I doubt it’ll let my iPad on either. The situation I’m facing is one where I need the flexibility to access my files from pretty random other computers that aren’t mine.

Food for thought, though. I’ll have to play with that. Much appreciated!

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I use a Mac and iPad; full databases sync’d to each
My backups include a Files&Folders export stored on iCloud that I can access with other devices


I use Server edition so that when I am at work and on a PC, I have remote access to my database. It is worth trying during the trial period. It is not a full-fledged interface, but does give me access to my entire database.

It does require a mac at home running DT all the time.

It works for me and is worth every penny.

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Very interesting, @DTLow - can you tell me more? What have you found in terms of positives/negatives/things to take into account?

Not much to say other than I have access to my files from a remote machine or non-DT platform
It will also be my fallback after the DT Apocalypse :open_mouth:

I’m also thinking of my family (non DT users) inheriting my notes after I’m gone

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I’m really thinking this could work for me – especially if I build the primary tag structure with awareness that it will translate to my basic access-elsewhere folders. I can store the export on DropBox, and, my workflow at presentations can stay nearly unchanged.

Thanks! Does your backup happen manually, or do you have it automated?

Automated via an applescript

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You are essentially correct in that DEVONthink only runs on Apple systems - macOS / iOS / iPadOS.

You do have the option to run it on a Mac then use Remote desktop software from any platform.


I use DEVONthink To Go on my iPad. I use DEVONthink on my Mac. They are synched. I have a full copy of my desktop databases on my iPad. What you can try is to physically connect the iPad to the PC. Do your searching on DTTG, then transfer the file to the PC. You do not need special permissions where you are doing your talks.
I have not tried this solution yet but the iPad manual tells you how to do things with the PC. Transfer files between iPad and your computer - Apple Support (CA).
Good luck.

Ok. I tried what was suggested. I connected an iPad Air (3rd edition) to a USB3 port on a Lenovo running Windows 10. I installed iTunes for Windows and could see my iTunes content. Unfortunately, DTTG is not sharing its files.

I tried another approach. I plugged a Thunderbolt camera adapter into the iPad. I plugged a thumb drive into the adapter but was told the thumb drive was drawing too much power. I plugged power (the iPad’s normal power supply/cable) into the proper slot on the camera adapter. I was then able to copy files to the thumb drive using the iPad’s Files app. I removed the thumb drive and plugged it into the Lenovo and was able to copy that file and view it.

I have assumed that whatever you have at the client’s site is locked down so you cannot assume access to wifi. Obviously, if wifi is available, you have a number of options. If the client’s machine is not locked down, the easiest thing might be to share a Windows 10 folder. If the iPad is on the same network, you can search DEvonThinkToGo and copy what you are after to windows shared folder.
If the PC is locked down, there are still some ways to allow something smooth but that would require some technical chops on your part.

Hi @rpallred - I’m looking to run a server edition also. Thinking of installing it on a headless Mac mini that I have some other things running on and using the web interface for everything. Is this how you are using yours, or is the server sort of your main computer at home and you use the app instead? Have you run into any issues or limitations with the web interface?

I have it running in a headless Mac Mini with a virtual 4K monitor.

It runs DT Server, Plex, and a couple of other minor services.

I use the web interface to interact with it when away from home and/or screen sharing when in need (am too lazy to deal with CLI) gui access.

I can write up a more detailed description and/or message me offline.

@rpallred I’d greatly appreciate that if you get some down time! Could you also include any details on how one could interact with Devon via CLI as well if this functionality exists? You can email me at jaydee182 outlook com.

Note there is no CLI for DEVONthink.

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AFAIK, @rkaplan has written software to access DT server (?) remotely and programmatically.

Yes but not via command line directly

An API app runs 24/7 on my main Mac (based on ). In turn the API accesses DT3 via its standard Applescript capability.

Yes the net effect is that you can access DT3 remotely via command line API commands.

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Thank you! Just threw it out there for @rpallred in case there was a command to start/stop the server application. Appreciate you mentioning that.

I’ll try to write something up soon—I’m a bit swamped at work—but I was referring to CLI to interact with my server generally, not DT specifically.