Beautiful writing environment

Once again, I am amazed by the speed (and quality) of reaction in this forum. Thanks, I’ll try this and post my experience.


This. And then use KeyboardMaestro to give it an easy to use shortcut :wink:

Welcome @jobed77

You use a KM macro for opening a file in its system default application?

⇧⌘O does that natively, doesn’t it?

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I’m not sure I object to the industrial look of Devonthink. DT is reliable. I’ll take reliable over pretty any day.

I’m also not sure that packages in DT are so dangerous (here, hold my beer).

Best advice is not to use them but you might find you’ve already done so. I think Mind Node defaults to storing documents as packages, for example.

If DT were to think of sprucing up, being able to do things like tell a tag or group it should display as a mind map would be pretty cool.

Or, in a similar vein, tell a tag or group it should display as a corkboard. That would be fun, too.

The new version of Aeon Timeline has functionality somewhat like that. You create a mind map within an Aeon file and drag anything you want from your timeline to the new map and arrange it how you want.

Edits can be made anywhere an event appears.

Aeon also supports a narrative view, which is a little like a corkboard. While you can have as many independent mind maps as you want, there is only one narrative view. It’s still probably a useful thing. You get to arrange your events in a narrative order without disrupting the timeline view.

The prime directive for Devonthink, though, is keep the data safe. A frumpy old librarian in desperate need of a makeover wins any day over a pig puckered up with Paree’s finest lipstick.

No offense to fashion-forward pigs intended.

I use different apps for markdown files. From DEVONthink I use iAWriter which isn’t the default. But I must admit that I wasn’t aware that there was an option to go for the system default app… Used to map menu items to shortcuts :smiley:

Great question. I was concerned with a writing setup as well. Here are my 2 cents:

DT UI can be overwhelming (which speaks to the power of that app!) but great news is that we have all the flexibility in the world to adopt it to our needs depending on the scenario we are in.

In my case, I did the following for the case when I want to work on the notes inside of DT**

  • view as list + preview widescreen
  • no inspectors (hidden)
  • view > hide toolbar (this is the key in that setup)
  • go > workspaces > save as “Beautiful writing environment” aka BWE:)

Now any time you need a BWE you have a shortcut or just go to go>workspaces>BWE

View > Fullscreen > Document will just show your document on a full screen.

** alternatively I can recommend to set-up a default markdown app for e.g. Typora [insert your fav editor] and use a split screen with DT on the left and Typora on the right.

P.S.: now i need to adapt your naming - I do love BWE a lot!


Like @BLUEFROG, I’m curious what @Michaell considers lacking in DT’s esthetics for writing. I work in Markdown, and I think DevonThink looks good, once you hide all the controls, which is easy to do—even easier thanks to @jooz’s tip. I had not considered that possible application for workspaces.


On the contrary, it keeps Scrivener projects close beside ancillary research files that you may prefer to be in DEVONthink. Plus, they can be synced in the variety of ways that DEVONthink allows you to sync - and manually, if you like, too (meaning when you want to sync them), which you can’t do with Dropbox or iCloud on its own.

I use Scrivener “package” projects in DEVONthink without problem.

Having said all that, one does have to jump through a few template hoops to get decent RTF files to write in, and the columnar widescreen list-view (the best it can manage on my big iMac), is severely lacking visually, in comparison to say, Keep It.

(Don’t get me on DTTG, though - editing RTFs on that on iOS is a no-no, again, quite unlike Keep It.)

DEVONthink is mainly useful for its centralised databases and its syncing mechanisms. Apart from text files (at a pinch), you open things in their default apps, just like in the Finder. You’re not supposed to think of DEVONthink as a Finder-enhancement, but that’s precisely what it is.


In the same way a moon orbiter is an enhanced family saloon, yes :crazy_face:


Glad to hear another rebel has success with packages in Devonthink. I just treat them the same as documents and everything is fine.

Not really, no. The simile is inappropriate.

I’ve never had problems with Dropbox sync, though I can’t speak to iCloud.

I’ve got this bizarre fixation on privacy. I don’t sync much in the cloud in any form.

I use a thumbdrive and a local sync store.

I make weekly archives, too.

Yep. You are correct. And like with a lot of things involving computers, a lot of things can be made to happen. And there may be no problems (although I can think of a few risks e.g. sync conflicts). Fine. I just don’t feel the need to fix a problem that I don’t see.

Me: I keep Scrivener Projects (holding the writing and a repository of research files that hold supporting content for the writing and DEVONthink (holding the research files for the writing project plus other stuff that might appear when doing research, you know by searching, relating, etc. using DEVONthink’s tools) by doing one simple thing–They are in side-by-side MacOS Windows each taking of 1/2 the computer screen.

MacOS is the integration tool! That’s what it’s designed to be.

So yea, bring Scrivener Projects into DEVONthink. If useful to you and accomplishes something, go for it. It is surely possible and many find it’s a good idea. For me there is no real purpose given that MacOS does it for me.

Thanks for this Booz, I have never used workspaces before but now suspect I will do so.


Thanks for that @jooz ! You opened my eyes wiiiide! Now if I only could adjust line spacing…

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Enjoy! Just another useful tip which I learned somewhere on the internets a few days ago: if you keep your reference data (pdf, books, etc) in DT (you should!) and want to quickly link to them in a 3rd party markdown editor (typora, obsidian etc) using devonthink links: click alt+cmd and drag and drop the file into the markdown. You will get a nicely generated devonthink link in your markdown :slightly_smiling_face:


Actually, the look and feel of DTPro comes with every new version closer and closer to what I imagined as my ideal and aesthetically most pleasing work environment since I first laid hand on a computer. So, zero complaints here!


Thanks @AndreasE ! We appreciate hearing that. :heart: :slight_smile:

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Concur that the aesthetics of DT3 are pleasing and practical. As to the writing environment: using a purpose-built external editor that saves back to the file in DT is so swift and easy that the DT editor doesn’t really need to have writing-app polish. That said, the DT editor is no-nonsense and just There: I find myself using it more often than not.