Best Practices: Single vs Multiple databases

I recently moved my project folder out of my main database which also contains legal, financial and personal documents. The reason was that the projects contain so much information that, when combined with the rest, makes search results and browsing overwhelming. It simply feels cleaner that all project info is separated. Another reason was that if an assistant were to use the database they wouldn’t have access to the other stuff.

But then I realized that when wanting to log an invoice for a project expense, I either have to open the other database and put it there, and not having access to it directly in my project, or duplicate the doc in both places, both have their disadvantages. Also there’s no replicating, linking, tagging, etc across databases that I can see.

So neither solution really solves it, but wondering what others may be doing or if anyone has any advice on a better solution, or at least a better of the two above.



This appears to be the main reason why you split the databases, is that correct? Splitting it up can be a solution to solve this problem, but there might be other ways to reach your goal.

For example: is it possible to limit the search scope of a project by tagging all relevant documents with a project code and include the tag as a requisite for the results?

There can be other reasons to split databases though, such as the use by others as you mentioned. The DT handbook discusses database creation and organization, and the topic of multiple databases specifically on page 12 and 13:


thanks @Solar-Glare … I do try to use tagging and targeting certain databases, but it still feels overwhelming (to me) to have to do that each time and it seems I get a lot of false positives unless I’m very specific which takes more time. When in just the specific database, I seem to get better/quicker results. I’ll read that section of the handbook.

  • Create a new group and name it e.g. “Excluded from search”
  • Exclude the new group from search
  • Replicate every group that you seldom want in your search results into the new group

This would solve:


I don’t currently use this approach but did in the past and it worked ok.

See also Script: Temporarily exclude group from search. This script could be modified for the above approach.

thanks @pete31

How much time do you spend searching for project-related items vs how much time do you spend “logging an invoice” ?
If you’re only occasionally logging an invoice, I’d consider the ease of search to be the critical factor to address, i.e., using separate databases.

I think I will use separate databases for all the reasons in the handbook as well, but I guess if I’m logging project expenses in the project database, I’ll just duplicate those folders in my financial/taxes database. unfortunately I cannot totally separate out business/personal so dont want to combine those two databases. not ideal (replicating would be better), but the other advantages might outweigh the downsides. thx!

No problem.
Yes, follow that path and see how it fits. Perhaps you’ll need to modify again but it’s worth giving it the old college try :wink: