Beginner - Create notes with images

I am quite new to Devonthink and for note taking I am a bit confused. I was used to using evernote where I can quickly create a note add some images and then resize the image.

So now in Devonthink I am not sure

  • what note type to use? (Markdown / RTFD etc?)
  • should I create it in Devonthink or using another editor?
  • Can I easily inline resize the image? I am using cleanshotX for screenshots.
  • Can I easily create a link to another note?

Sorry for my stupid questions :slight_smile:

Welcome @gnaffle

I don’t see any stupid questions :thinking: :slightly_smiling_face:

PS: Remember DEVONthink is not Evernote and they functionally created an HTML editor for their notes. A ≠ B - This is not that. :wink:

  • what note type to use? (Markdown / RTFD etc?)

That’s up to you. Many people like RTF(D). Others are Markdown advocates (ahem… cough, cough :wink: ). Some like formatted notes. And some love even plain text though obviously images and formatting aren’t supported in those.

  • should I create it in Devonthink or using another editor?

Up to you. I, and many others, create and write in DEVONthink. The other camp likes to use external editors for a variety of their own reasons. No right or wrong choice here.

  • Can I easily inline resize the image? I am using cleanshotX for screenshots.

Not dynamically within the document.
With Markdown you could apply CSS styling to affect the image’s size but there’s no click and drag the handles to resize behavior in the document.

  • Can I easily create a link to another note?

Generally speaking yes, but easily is an undefined term. DEVONthink’s linking capabilities are pretty powerful and highly touted by many.

Note: Thes things are covered in the Help > Documentation > Documents chapter. :slight_smile:

Only if you use something like a Wysiwyg program, eg Pages or Word. It is possible to size images in HTML using CSS, but I would not call that “easy”. You might also be interested in some of the threads in the forum, as this topic has been discussed quite often already. It all boils down to “there is no ideal format”, everything depends on your needs and the limitations/possibilities of each format.

Evernote stored notes in enml format (basically html)
Images were stored as note attachment files,
with a reference link in the note.
Images are displayed inline

Imported to Devonthink, the note format was converted to formatted note (basically html)
Images are embedded in the note file.
Images are displayed inline

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Coming at DEVONthink new, there will be a lot to take in, so I urge you to take it slowly and not give up easily.

With respect to Markdown documents that contain images, the flavor of Markdown supported by DEVONthink (MultiMarkdown) does have syntax to control some attributes of images, including size. Unlike RTFD [1], you have to store images in separate files, outside of the Markdown document itself [2], but in your Markdown document’s references to the images, you can dictate the size that the image takes up in the overall displayed document – you do not have to resize the images themselves. (Indeed, it’s usually best not to resize the images just because they seem to big for a particular document; instead, it’s better to say how big the image should look in the document.)

The syntax to set the size of an image simply involves adding width=W and/or height=H after the image path. Example:

![image caption](image.png width="200px")

[1] Despite that RTF/RTFD seems like it should be a more portable format on macOS, my experience has been that it is poorly supported on macOS, and editing RTF is often frustrating because of some buggy behaviors coming from macOS and not DEVONthink. Personally, I stopped using it.
[2] Not strictly true; you can embed an image directly into a Markdown document, but it requires the use of a somewhat advanced and awkward-to-use technique, and the result is fragile and kind of frustrating to work with.


Does that work with other units as well or only with px?

It works with % too, but I haven’t tried other units such as pt or rem or such.

Edit: just tried em, rem, and pt, and they all worked.

Thanks! px is not very practical any more, with all the different screen sizes.


Thanks all for the replies!
I wanted to just start taking meeting notes with devonthink in one single database
and build up notes per customers etc. Probably using tags to quickly find back notes.

Somehow Devonthink always comes back but I have to admit it is a bit hard at first to know how to start using it.

I was trying out and that had a very nice way of resizing the image and some easy backlinking. I will see how far I get with Devonthink. As for a research tool it seems perfect as you can dump and link pdf files etc. As a notetaking tool I am still a bit searching what the best approach is with Devonthink

I see Devonthink more as a note storage tool
Not clear what your note taking requirements are.
Certainly Devonthink provides various editors
We can also use external editors and store the files in Devonthink

coming from Evernote, too - and some things are really very different in DT (esp. if you want to use the mobile version also - then there are even more aspects to cover).
For simple text notes I’m using Markdown (sometimes I use an external App iA Writer) - you can use basic formatting, linking and even tables - BUT it’s more PROGRAMMING a note instead of WRITING a note :slight_smile: (I’m not a Software developer, so I’m allowed to say it this way :-))
For complex notes (incl. Images) I’m using - those docs are very nice previewed on both, Mac and iOS, using DEVONthink (DT)
I fully agree to @DTLow statement: compared to Evernote, DT is much more a storage system

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In the context of taking meeting notes (which I do too), it’s worth mentioning the idea of using template documents. DEVONthink supports the ability to create template documents that can serve as a starting point for new documents. The documents can be in any format – they don’t have to be only in the formats supported directly by DEVONthink. (I use OmniOutliner myself.) You create a new document in DEVONthink from the template, then open it in the (external) application for that document, and start typing.

My scheme is pretty straightforward:

  • All my meeting notes are in a single common group/folder
  • I consistently name my meeting notes starting with the date in YYYY-MM-DD format followed by a short name for the meeting (e.g., 2022-01-10 dev meeting)
  • All meeting notes are created from a template file (an OmniOutliner file I created myself)
  • I tag the meeting documents with the projects involved in that meeting

FWIW, the content of OmniOutliner documents is searchable in DEVONthink, which means they show up in DEVONthink searches.

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My favorite meeting note taking process is on an iPad with the Notability app and an Apple Pencil
The document is store in Devonthink in pdf format

name my meeting notes starting with the date in YYYY-MM-DD format followed by a short name for the meeting (e.g., 2022-01-10 dev meeting )

My name standard for all notes is yyyy-mm-dd type [details] keywords
By default I include the time with the date, but remove it for most notes

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Ok so actually the idea for devonthink is more that you could have notes in whatever folder in a format that devonthink can read (eg. text / rtfd / markdown / pdf) so that when you import it into devonthink you can search for it, link notes together, tag them ,add them in groups etc?

Then for some things you can use Devonthink to edit the notes if you want in stead of an external editor like pages or a markdown editor?

Yes, either method you’ve described here is valid.

Have you tried creating and editing a file in DEVONthink?

Hi I started to create some notes etc.
A couple of additional thoughts, coming from Evernote.

I use notes a lot to make a summary of the meaning of different documents.

Eg. After some product research I make an overview of 5 products and link to the pdf of the product manuals etc? I also add some screenshots etc of the products.

→ Where are these images and files stored?
→ Are the images also searchable for text?
→ Which file types are automatically ocrd?

Which note type fits the best here? (Looks like RTF can handle attachments but formatted notes not really?)

My idea would be to make sure that my devonthink databases always include the files and images so that if I just move to a new computer and copy the database that I have everything with me?

I noticed a setting where you can set the images can be zoom to fit?

Does this make that when you copy paste an image it will fit to the window? As thats my main grip at the moment that I just would like to have a simple thumbnail size image so that my notes are still readable without large images cluttering it up?

Gradually crawling through the options and learning so bear with me!

You can set a preference in DT for images if you’re talking about Markdown notes. For other notes, like “formatted note”, the image is probably not stored but just linked to.


Unless you set up a smart rule, none.

There’s no silver bullet, afaict. Every format has its benefits and drawbacks, and all that has already been discussed extensively in the forum. I doubt that any new aspects will come to light any time soon.

As to image size etc.: You might want to consider that you’re not always reading your notes on a desktop. So setting anything, including images, to a fixed size might not be a good idea: 1024 pixels on a desktop are fine, on an iPhone not so much. Therefore, I’d probably go for markdown with custom styling. But then I’m not a very visual type and can very well live with a less than perfect image display.

In a formatted notes, base64 image data is embedded. This is also why pre-scaling images before adding them to a formatted note is the best idea. It keeps the file size down, especially important for DEVONthink To Go.

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I do something similar
If you’re referencing files by link, the files can be stored anywhere
It’s not necessary, but I create a group (folder) and store all the files together
**Warning: When using type formatted note, the linked-file image is converted to an embedded image

No. It is magnification for a selected image, just how it displays in the view/edit pane.

I suggest you try Markdown.
Set Preferences > Files > Markdown > Import Images to Group, and give the group a name (it defaults to Assets).
Then write raw text and drag and drop of copy paste images into the document. They will be created in the Assets group in the document’s location and properly linked automatically.