Adding tagged items to a group

This is probably a simple question, but I can’t figure out the answer.

I have items with a tag representing the source of the information. When viewing the items with a specific tag, I want to be able to move them to a folder to arrange the information topically, but I want the moved item to keep the tag.

If I just drag the item to the folder, it moves to the folder and loses the tag.

If I drag and hold the option key (so the plus sign appears), I get an item in the folder with the tag (good), but there are two copies of the item under the tag (the original and the new copy), which is not good.

Currently, I’m having to drag the items, then re-tag them. I’m sure there’s a better way - can someone help?

Tags travel with the file unless you’re using Group Tags. If you are your Groups will be yellow and the Tags will be gray. These Tags are dynamic and change with location. For Tags that “stick” you should enter normal Tags in the Info pane or in the Tags bar under a document preview.

I’m really confused by the terminology of group tags and non-group tags. I’ve never heard that distinction before. Can you explain what that means and how I would apply each one?

Right now, my process is:

  1. Create a tag. Here’s a screen shot of the top of my tag list for one database.
    Screen Shot 2015-09-17 at 11.24.52 AM.png

  2. Create a clipping and assign that tag to the clipping. It looks like it’s a non-group tag, if I understand you correctly.
    Screen Shot 2015-09-17 at 11.27.25 AM.png

  3. When viewing the items in the tag list, drag the item to the folder I want to put it in. This is the step when the tag disappear, as described in my first post. The item appears in the next folder with no tag.

If I need to use a different process, please explain what I should do. After reading your reply, I’m not clear if I should be using group tags or non-group tags, and whether I need to change my preferences or if you were just showing me where a setting is located.


That’s the expected behavior. You are dragging the document out of the tag group, which is the same as removing the tag. If you are going to work with your documents from the tag list, you will need to replicate the documents to the respective group(s) to maintain the tag(s).

There is one exception to this. One can turn off Group tags entirely, assign a regular tag to a group, and all documents in that group will inherit that tag as long as the document remains in the group. Move the document from the group, and the tag does not travel with the document.

The Tag Groups have a replicant of the files. It is a best practice to not use the Tags group for filing. By this I mean, when you Tag a file outside the Tags Group, a replicant is made in the appropriate Tag Group. If you need to move the file, don’t move the file inside the Tag Group. Move the one you originally tagged (and no, I don’t suggest filing items directly into Tag Groups).

When you import (or create) documents never import (or create) them in a Tags group. Import or create them into “regular” groups. So, in this image I made a document inside a regular group, and tagged it “Yellow”. When I tagged the document “Yellow”, DEVONthink created “Yellow” as a child of “Tags”, and replicated my document to “Yellow”. (“Replicate” ==> make a copy of a document that’s like an alias in the Finder.)

That’s the way to do this, IMO.

Never drag an item out of the Tag – drag it from the group where the file is located. So, if I move my document from “I’m a regular group” to another group, the “Yellow” tag will remain assigned to the file.

Play with it. You’ll see.