Anyway to create a seamless archive system?

Not sure if seamless archive system is the best way to describe it, but here is what I mean:
I would like to be able to mark a file as archived, but keep it in its current place in the folder/group structure. This I have already started doing with tags. However, I am looking for some way to easily hide or otherwise separate archived files from non-archived files. An ideal scenario would be a button or keyboard shortcut to hide/unhide archived files. A less pretty workaround would be welcomed as well.

The intended purpose is to have a working database full of all the documents I am currently engaged with, as well as keeping old documents not currently in use, without having to move them to a separate organization system. For example, I have a group for tax documents with subgroups for each year. I would like to be able to keep all the years in one folder so they are easy to navigate to if I need to access old documents. But otherwise I would only want to see this year and last year when I open the group. Or, I would even be happy with the archived items being pushed to the bottom or something like that.

Its not critical for the above use case, but across all of my many files in many groups, it would go a long way toward cleaning things up and simplifying my filekeeping process.

Thanks in advance for any ideas anyone has!

If you import a folder as an indexed location, you can apply tags to files. The tags will appear as Finder tags on the file.

The files will remain in the filesystem in their current location. If you sync to a sync store (you can have more than one) that is set up to synchronize indexed items, you’ll get that part of your filesystem synced along with your database.

If that’s not desired, create a sync store that doesn’t sync indexed items.

Smart groups in Devonthink can show you “tag is” or “tag is not” search results.

The downside is that a smart group will show you a flat list without the hierarchy.

Does that help?

I use Archived/Completed tags

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I think I might do things the other way round, and have a smart group for things I am currently working on.

Welcome @stvnc

Are you importing your documents into DEVONthink?
If so, why don’t you just use a separate archive database with a duplicate group hierarchy in it?

I don’t know your actual situation, but here’s a simple example in a home situation…

-> Insurance
 -> Auto
 -> Life
 -> Home

-> Insurance - archived
 -> Auto - archived
  -> 2020
  -> 2021
  -> 2022
 -> Life - archived
 -> Home - archived

I appended the group names with - archived so the location woud be more clear in search results. And you can also easily select either database or search All Databases in the scope bar when searching.


If I understand you correctly you are describing a way that I can organize all of my files in DT while keeping the files in their original location in finder. This is a great tip, but not necessary for the moment. I am only trying to work with the files exclusively in my database. Thank you for the reply though.


Yes I have already started using an “Archive” Tag to track what should be archived.


I do have a folder I use for current projects. However I would like a further separation in my system. So I would have

  1. current files that are in use on an active project, stored in my “Active projects” Folder
  2. current files that are not in use on a project but are still relevant to present day activities and potentially needed as reference, stored in the appropriate location in my general hierarchy
  3. archive files that are unlikely to be needed on a regular basis but that need to be saved anyway, stored ideally in the same place as before but tagged as “archived” and able to be hidden someway or another.

Doing this would eliminate me having to look in multiple places for any file, and having to maintain more than one hierarchy.


So that is actually my old/current system, I have a totally duplicate archive hierarchy. This works, however if I am able to I would much rather not have to maintain separate hierarchies and have only one place to look for any given file. Of course, this might not be possible, but I figured I’d see if theres something I don’t know that would allow me to do that.

Thank you all for your replies! I wonder if this is something that could be accomplished with a script in some way…

since DT has no way to hide files (correct me if I’m wrong) is there any other function that could be called upon by a script to hide files that are tagged or otherwise marked as archive?

Or, heres a thought, perhaps I could utilize finders hide function by having a script that for every DT item tagged as “archive” in DT finds its location in the finder, and hides those files. And then another one that would show the files.

Does anyone know if it is reasonable to expect that to work? I don’t have a ton of experience creating scripts, though I have done it and I’m sure I could piece together something.

In particular, would hidden files in finder also be hidden in DT? and while hidden, would they still be searchable in DT?

This works, however if I am able to I would much rather not have to maintain separate hierarchies

I’m not sure how it’s maintaining separate hierarchies.

  • You have an active database for the current year / projects / etc. This is where you do the bulk of your work. This one is maintained by your modifications to the database, e.g., additions, organizing, etc.

  • You have an archive database that only receives last year’s / finished projects / etc. It is just for searching in. No other maintenance I can think of.

Or, heres a thought, perhaps I could utilize finders hide function

I would not use the Finder to try to hide things in this instance.

In particular, would hidden files in finder also be hidden in DT?

DEVONthink is a database; it’s not a filesystem. You are essentially looking at entries in a massive table (this is great over-simplification but it practically serves the point).

and while hidden, would they still be searchable in DT?

This seems like an illogical proposition. If they’re hidden, then they shouldn’t be searchable as what would be shown in the results? :thinking:

Surely, the active and archive database solution is a great one, and what I currently use. But if I could have a prettier and more elegant solution (in my eyes at least) I would spring for it.

Thank you sir, for taking the time to answer my questions

You’re welcome.

Due to this I have duplicate group hierarchy, too. One for the current year, and in a group-folder, groups for 2023, 2022, 2021 with their subgroups. This has a disadvantage, that “see also & classify” does not suggest the right group for sorting new items (but want’s to sort them to groups of the archive with similar items). Having a possibility to use only one group with subgroups, and at the end of the year, tagging all files in the group and subgroups with “archive_2022” for example and in the following year all items without an archive tag with “archive_2023” and a possibility to hide all archived items of the previous years in DTP and also by drag and drop of a database to the finder at the end of the year might be an interesting solution. If anyone else has a better workflow to solve this with DTP just let me know. If not, and if others have similar needs, we could suggest an implementation to the DTP developers… (I know with scripting parts of this is already feasible). But I am wondering how you are doing this…