Apple notes other notes taking integration with dttg

Hello. Have been using devonthink to go for a few weeks. One thing really intrigue me is how I can include my notes taking workflow sith DTTG. I usually use apple notes to take notes, sometime with Apple Pencil and mix with text. When I save it to DtTG, it becomes problematics. I just wonder can import as it’s origisnl apple note format? And if it is just text in apple notes, any tricks to open it back with apple notes for edit? If apple notes is not supported, any other notes taking app will work?

The notes taking function in dttg isn’t that useful. So a third party notes taking app is needed. Nebo is not supported, right? .

(I don’t have a note taking “workflow” – so I have no idea what that concept means.)

I never use DEVONthink to Go for note taking. There are numerous very good apps for taking notes. I recommend looking for one that syncs with iCloud or another service across devices. If I want to export a note to DEVONthink to Go for some reason, I can do so. Usually as a PDF since my notes, which are mainly taken on iPads since the phone is too cramped included handwriting, drawing, imported images, etc. At this time, I’m using Noteshelf 2 or Notability for note taking.

I usually avoid Apple Notes because it seems to have intentionally been designed to be stand alone and not play well with other apps.

@bluewings666, if you search these forums, you will find numerous discussions of note-taking strategies with DTTG that may help you.

As korm points out, there are many choices for note-taking apps. Most differ just enough in features and function to satisfy some users and not others. In my exploration, the apps which integrate most easily with DTTG are the plain-text and Markdown editors. It sounds like you prefer note-taking apps that enable rich text, handwriting, and drawing. It is not difficult to store a copy of these types of documents in DTTG as PDFs and RTFs. However, editing the documents once they are in DTTG is more complicated and may be impractical for some users. You might want to consider leaving your rich text documents in their native form/app until you export them as PDFs or RTFs to DTTG for archiving along with related materials.

I am currently experimenting with using Agenda as my project note-taker. Some advantages for me are that it has one more level of organization than Apple Notes, and it easily exports notes in Markdown format, which is reasonably well supported in DTTG. For you, the current lack of Apple Pencil support might be a deal-breaker. But, I still exclusively create and edit the project notes in Agenda, exporting to DTTG as Markdown only after the project is closed. I use Apple Notes for all other note-taking, because most of it does not end up in DTTG. If it becomes necessary, I can export notes as either PDFs or RTFs, depending on the contents. They display well in DTTG to suit me.

If you manage to work this out to your satisfaction, please share the details with the rest of us!

@pstalker’s recommendation of Agenda is excellent. It’s a beautiful app, very functional, and works as well on macOS as iOS. Agenda is calendar-oriented in that it’s main use case is taking notes tied to particular events – but that’s a feature and not a limitation. You can take notes that are independent of events just as well.

If you want to integrate text + handwriting + images, etc., then Bear is a good choice. Export from Bear to DTTG as markdown, PDF, HTML … whatever.


I agree with all the above and have used both Notability and Noteshelf. they are both good. I switch to and still use Goodnotes. It’s organization fits my brain better than the others. It also has a mac version. Try them all and see what is most comfortable.

You can also import images, pdf’s, and whole documents/books into Goodnotes. Either into a notebook, like a client or project notebook, or have the document/book as a standalone where it is easily annotated.

I can export into Devonthink a page or a whole notebook.

You can export from Apple notes into Devonthink and I do, but Korm is right, it is more of a standalone so it is more tedious to export.

Thank you all for the good advice. Yes… I am still not figure out my workflows with notes taking. I don’t really want to store a copy in the third party app. I shall explore othe options, if available. But u already mention the most popular and recommended notes taking apps.

Thanks again!

I use GoodNotes. In version 4 they have an auto backup feature that has not been implemented yet in version 5. I would configure the auto backup to a cloud storage such as Box. I configured the backup format to be PDFs and the categories in Goodnotes became subfolders.

In DT on the Mac I would index the folder which then makes it available in DTTG. What I like about GoodNotes is I picked it because I wanted my note taking to be handwritten. I use the large iPad Pro with the pencil and the auto backups in PDF are searchable with my handwriting (printing) interpreted very accurately. This allows my handwritten notes to show up as search results along side emails and other documents I have filed in DT.

The other nice thing with GoodNotes is that you can use the lasso tool to select some handwritten text to convert to text via the OCR and then use the Share extension. I use this for action items and can send that straight to OmniFocus.

In version 5 of GoodNotes, I change my workflow slightly. I use less notebooks (on per main category) and I add a page for a new meeting. After the meeting I finish off the notes and then export that as a PDF to DTTG. That way the notes are in the main category notebook, but the PDF page(s) are in DTTG to be associated to the particular project. So my main category could be Work Subject Matter Expert (SME) and the DT group I have for a project might be a review of security controls in Application A. That DT group will have a markdown journal to track my progress on that project including a link to the OmniFocus project to track next actions. That DT group will also store screenshots, emails, and anything else related to the project. The OmniFocus project also has a link to DT so when I act on the next action, my reference material in DT is a click away. I do more of the planning and organizing on the mac, but the links work great on ios for taking the next action while away from the Mac. If someone need a status to the project then I just refer to the journal in DTTG within the project group.


Thank you so much for sharing. I am still working out my workflows with dttg a key part of it. I have liquid text, and nebo my script. I am considering getting Goodnotes because of the new feature of the latest version 5. Your sharing esp the workflows with Goodnotes is very helpful.

I must say, still quite a lot to learn.

I agree it gets overwhelming always looking at different tools and a source to fuel my procrastination. Now the things I have settled on are typically supported on the Mac, iPad, and iPhone. DEVONthink excels at allowing me to find my information on either platform. I use TextExpander for some markdown items like checkboxes and image links, that way the same command is available to me in Sublime Text 3 on the Mac or Textastic, and Drafts on the ios devices. I have PDF Expert for both iOS and Mac, but I’m starting to replace that with MarginNote 3, which is similar to LiquidText in that you can add notes outside the page boundaries, but can do a whole lot more if you can get used to the UI. I think LiquidText is much more intuitive, but what sold me on MarginNote 3 is the ability to have highlights added as color coded nodes in a mind map. MarginNote 3 is not the best mind map program out there, but it exports to iThoughts which I have used for years on both iOS, Mac, and Windows. MarginNote 3 has a Mac version too, so I find that easier to use when rearranging mind map nodes on the large monitors attached to the Mac. I had ended up with a complex workflow for PDFs with Zotero, ZotFile, PDF Expert, Box, and DT. I picked Zotero for ZotFile had the ability to extract the color highlighted text from PDFs into notes. The problem I had was I had to manually run the extraction and then run a report in Zotero to get the notes into DT. MarginNote 3 simplifies this process for me by interactively extracting those highlights into the mind map and/or outline which can be shared to DT as a PDF with the option to include the just the highlighted pages of the original PDF or all the pages. The nice thing with PDF Expert is that have a Keyboard Maestro macro that I can execute while selecting an item to read in Zotero that would create an OmniFocus repeating task to open PDF Expert with that PDF on either Mac or iOS.
Unfortunately PDF Expert does not support their own URL scheme with the Mac version, but you can launch the default app with this link. This setup leverage ZotFile for Zotero to use my Box folder for PDF storage and PDF Expert could be configured to sync Box on iOS. That allowed me to annotate on any device, as long as I gave it time to sync. I primarily wanted to annotate on the iPad Pro with the pencil and be able to find the results in DT or send an attachment.

MarginNote in this case would have to import the PDF into its store that it syncs via iCloud to other devices. That changes things in that Zotero will not have the annotated version

------------Links to shared PDF document on Box for PDF Expert Mac and then iOS----------


I just tried a test with MarginNote 3 which is to backup a study notebook and chose clip to DEVONthink on my iPad. I went to the DT Inbox where it was imported and not surprisingly it is there, but cannot be viewed within DT. I can however share from DT to “Copy to MarginNote” and it others to Merge or Replace the existing notebook. I did not test any further than that.

I think exporting as PDF to DEVONthink is better in that it gives you the ability to search for keywords and on the Mac version be able to leverage the “See Also” feature to find related items. Once I see it is MarginNotes or GoodNotes and need to continue to edit the document, then I can go to the right application to edit. For me, the problem was finding out where I had something before I got DEVONthink. I would search email, Slack, iThoughts, FreeMind, Notability, Box Notes, etc.

You could always try to export both the native and PDF versions to DEVONthink and group them together, but that is starting to sound too complex to maintain consistently.


Just quick note to endorse this suggestion and to add that Notability has a feature allowing you to automatically back up your notes to PDFs in a specified directory while retaining all of the original notes in Notability (for additional updates later). You can then use DT to index that PDF directory making the info available in DT and in DTTG. Handwriting recognition is now also supported in Notability as well.

For me, the individual files in Notability work better for this than the Goodnotes “notebook” structure.

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Hi there, I am exploring some options of note taking in Devonthink and I read this discussion from very beginning. I am also using a notabiliy as my note taking app and would like to integrate it with my devonthink. Can you please tell me what you mean by indexing the exported pdf document?

Thank you in advance.

Indexing is described in the DEVONthink documentation (and discussed regularly here, too).


There’s two methods of adding content to Devonthink from a folder on your Mac

  1. Import files from the folder; they now reside in the DT database
  2. Leave the files in the folder and have Devonthink “index” the file
    It’s a link to the file, and DT scans the data for search purposes

Personally I prefer to import the Notabiity files after completing editing


And DT can search in these files?

Confirmed - Notability exports an ocr’d pdf, even for handwriting


And they point here is that the notes are AFTER completed editing. Good use of the tools.

Perfect, thank you for your answer. I think I will go with option of completely switching to Devonthink regarding the notes creation as well. There is a certain risk, that the index is not working properly in the note taking apps. On the other side, I can´t do a lot with the export to the devonthink since there is a need to rearange or edit my already created notes. Thank you though for your help.