Can anyone recommend me an external editor for Devonthink?

When it comes to an external markdown editor, what are the criteria for compatibility with DEVONthink? From reading of different users’ experiences, it’s clear that some editors play more nicely with DT than others. (And I’ll probably revert to using the built-in editor, but before I get married I’d like to play the field a bit.)

It’s not necessarily compatibility with DEVONthink; it’s avoiding proprietary features in those other apps. Sticking with vanilla Markdown is always the best option. However, DEVONthink specifically uses MultiMarkdown v6.x.

I use COT Editor, an open source text editor and has syntax highlighting for bunches of things like Markdown and code.


CotEditor is chiefly a code editor. It does not have a built-in markdown preview or automatic syntax completion – niceties when taking notes. It doesn’t offer an iOS app.

I like that CotEditor is lightweight and macOS native. But VS Code has better syntax highlighting for more languages, plus a great breadth of useful functions (either built-in or via plugins). And VS Code is not prone to crashing randomly, although with the latest version (4.8.7) of CotEditor I have yet to experience a crash.

I am a fan of Coteditor but use it for very specific internal things. I also use VS Code for some internal things but I honestly dislike it.

I too use both: CotEditor as a distraction-free scratch pad for my reading notes, and VS Code for when I’m in my capacity as a novice amateur coder and prolific bug producer.

It appears to me that everyone has something to say about VS Code, but still uses it to get certain work done, because it has some very specific features not offered by the alternative editors.

That’s exactly how I use it. Mostly a scratch pad with syntax highlighting. I rarely use VSCode (I personally don’t like the feel of bloat).

That said, Dendron was nifty for the spike in Graph-all-the-Things PKM world.

Unfortunately, Dendron is no longer actively developed. According to its developers, the primary reason for project termination (occurred in early 2023) was unprofitability. It’s form of existence as a VS Code extension likely had played a role, for it’s nearly impossible to coax non-programmers into using VS Code.

On a side note, I stopped using Logseq some months ago, in part because I feared Logseq would go down the same road as Dendron’s. Both are open-source PKM software backed by venture capital. Both are developer-oriented and, consequently, have been struggling to attract followers outside of the programming community. Logseq is still alive as of July 2024, though their bugs-are-fine-as-long-as-they-don’t-crash-the-app development strategy and poor codebase quality had deeply unsettled me then and now.

Thanks, Bluefrog. I killed some time this week fiddling around with a few external markdown-capable editors and came back to DTP’s built-in editor, at least for notes and other markdown files that I’ll be storing and searching in DTP.


You’re welcome :slight_smile:

I’m currently using Logseq in a work context.
I’ve avoided the sync issues by using Git to get the graphs on a MacMini, MacBookPro, iPad and iPhone working well together. But I am also keeping it simple, meeting notes, To do tracking, problem solving idea dumps, personnel issue tracking.
All proper documents are kept in DevonThink and linked to in Logseq (I’m not an annotation person, mostly they’re technical reference docs and spreadsheets in DevonThink)
Logseq works well as idea capture and (re)discovery, and task management.

The devs are supposedly working on a new self contained database version (currently it’s all based on individual markdown files) but I could continue to use it as is, as I am not bumping up against any of the instability other people have.

I would REALLY love it if Logseq got to the DevonThink model of being able to have multiple databases open at once but that’s just because I hop from production to production and I keep separate DT databases for each one and closing and opening the different graphs in Logseq is a bit of friction.
For me, Logseq is very complementary to DevonThink for the way my brain operates.

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That used to be the case for me as well, until I realized that (1) only a specific kind of blocks in my Logseq graphs are ever referenced, and (2) search is much more important than block properties for my use case. Then it became apparent that an outliner is, although desirable in certain aspects, not a must-have.

Notes in paragraphs are like conversations with myself. Notes in outliner format, on the other hand, feel like descriptions of myself using tokens borrowed from a natural language. I conclude from my experiments that I’m happy with either, although the two are not exactly interchangeable.

With iA Writer, on Mac, iPad and iPhone, you could write to iCloud and have this also indexed by DT!

iA Writer is also available on Windows.

Drafts does not work on files, but on an internal database.
Here you would need to share text to DT.

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I used Panda editor. It is basically the Bear editor in a standalone app. It is in beta but is and seems to work perfectly. It is free.

Link to Panda Editor

I would recommend Typora. A Markdown editor with live WYSIWYG.

It is only MacOS and not IOS.

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