Bookmarks Workflow

Hi all,
I have occasionally added bookmarks to DT via the sorter application that I have them stored and can find them back. I am wondering if anybody has a complete workflow? How are you dealing with bookmarks? Auto-Tag them? Sort them? Does it make sense to have a dedicated database only for them? What are your thoughts?
Thank you very much in advance and all the best,

The more pertinent question is: How do you deal with them? It sounds like you’re clipping bookmarks but don’t know why. Can you explain why you’re clipping them?

Hi Bluefrog, thank you for asking and I agree - that’s indeed a good question. :smiley:

From time to time I am clipping bookmarks via the sorter when I think the content is

  • valuable or informative
  • I would like to read something later
  • I would like to archive something
  • I have found a (potential) solution for a (potential) problem

And unfortunately you are right - I’ll clip them to come back later but then most of the time I’ll miss that step. So I do not have them tagged or any page information or content downloaded or added. Can DT download the content or “a summary” and attach it to the link? In that case I could use the search function to find something back. I would also love to tag them automatically, maybe with the tag “bookmark”, the year and/or similar things.

Do you use DT for booksmarks? What is your workflow?

Depending on the browser, with Safari being the most useful, if you have text selected on the web page, it should be captured as a comment on the bookmark.

I usually clip to a format, usually webarchive or PDF. I clip to bookmarks only when it’s a page with data that will change over time, e.g., our forums.

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Thank you very much. Is there a way to automate things AFTER I have added a bookmark? For example when I cannot use Safari. Is there a script (or can be created) that downloads a summary for all added bookmarks and saves that? And maybe adds tags as well?

@BLUEFROG Jim, do you intermix webarchive and pdf clipping without a specific purpose for each format? Or is there a reason you might choose one format over the other? Also — which would you advocate for storing data (ex: any news text, a blog post…)

I’ll jump in here as I save too many web pages. There is no “best” way, IMHO. I chose what works for me. There are so many different technologies on all the web sites (straight HTML, Javascript, this security, that security) that not every DEVONthink “clipper” way works all the time for all sites. I have a sort of triage way, checking “did it work” at each stage.

: I prefer Markdown as easiest to read and smallest to store.
: My focus is on the text but sometimes the included graphics (usually technical graphs and tables) are needed. If the page has images (graphs, for example), I might save as Markdown, then inside DEVONthink convert to PDF so that the graphs are all embedded in the single file. Markdown doesn’t integrate text and graphics in a single file easily if at all. Not designed to do so.
: If Markdown doesn’t work (and sometimes it does not), I’ll use DEVONthink to clip as PDF.
: If I get a PDF and if it’s huge (technical term), I’ll use PDFPen to “create optimised PDF”. My settings I currently use are in the screen shot below.
: If security or something on the web server prevents all of the above, I’ll cmd-P in the browser to get the Print dialog box. I’ll either save direct to DEVONthink, or will send to PDFPen for optimising.
: If even cmd-P does not work, I will as a last resort try a web archive, and then inside DEVONthink try to make it markdown or PDF. Usually that does not work.
: not all web sites really want users to save printed copies and they put a lot of technology in the way to stop it. Life, I guess.
: if all above fails, I give up. Probably not important anyway. Might save the bookmark to ease future reference.

All the above “triage” steps are to get something. Anything. Then, when it’s “gotten”, I prefer in future reading the markdown as I said above. But then you may think differently and want PDF so that the web page is sort of the same, or the webarchive to be exactly the same, but then if webarchive it may change. All down to what you want.

  • For content I want captured in a constant state, I use PDF.
  • For more transient content, quick captures that I know may disappear, I use webarchives.
  • However, if a web page is very long, I will clip to webarchive as overly long PDFs don’t display optimally, especially in DEVONthink To Go.

That being said, I make my own notes – usually in Markdown – so even transient data is usually not lost forever.


Supplementing this posting from last year … I’ve changed how I do things.

Most of the time I view the web page in Safari Reader view, then Command-P to print dialog, pick “Save PDF to DEVONthink 3” which puts the PDF into the “Inbox”. If that view not good enough as sometimes all graphics don’t display–don’t know why–I do same with the native page view in the browser. I sometimes add tags.

Periodically, daily or weekly–whatever–I drag and drop numerous PDFs into “PDF Squeezer” and batch compress them. Mostly using “Strong Compression”, but where graphics are needed, I used “medium”. Does a good job. I don’t care with Strong Compression photographs sometimes are very fuzzy. I always have the source URL to get them if I need them for a presentation or something. Then save them back to same location in DEVONthink (Inbox).

Periodically, daily or weekly–whatever–I use “See Also & Classify” inspector to everything still in Inbox and move them into appropriate DEVONthink database/groups, replicating where it occurs to me. I sometimes add tags.

I’ve grown to prefer PDF’s rather than Markdown because all the graphics are inside the files, reading and annotation tools are easier, especially in iPad where I do most of my reading of these files. Yea, I know others use Markdown because “easier”, and again I don’t care and won’t try to impose my will on others. Just passing on what I do in my world.


Thanks for sharing these insights. I’m mostly bookmarking things when I come across them and then process my bookmarks and capture them to PDF while processing (adding tags, moving to the right groups) in DEVONthink. I’ve got a small script that I use to view the website (if it’s still available) instead of the PDF in DT. When enabled I can use that to simply copy/paste specific parts in an annotation file.

My main point is that I also like browsing or viewing the URLs / websites of captured PDFs inside DTTG (like when viewing a bookmark). I don’t want to create an accomapnying bookmark for a captured PDF for just that purpose, but haven’t found a way to do that yet (other than navigating to the captured PDF, clicking the link under Info and viewing them in Safari)

In light of the general discussion, I too like @rmschne, prefer clipping PDFs - it’s the most future-proof format IMHO and indeed images and layout are saved which helps me often understand an article / website better when I visit it later (sometimes years later). But there are definitely some problems: sometimes issues with glyphs can garble up the text layer, or copy-pasting text means you end up with a lot of hard breaks in lines. I’ve thought about capturing Markdown _and_PDF but don’t like more versions of the same content cluttering up my database.