Contextual menu is Slow, Slow, Slow


When I attempt to display the Contextual Menu for a text selection in a rtf text, there is a delay of about 25+ seconds.

This doesn’t happen in any other application that I have ever used.

Please fix



You need to provide more information on the issue as you’re describing atypical behavior.

How many databases do you have open and how many words / unique words are in them (found in File > Database Properties)? It could be your machine is running low on system resources.

Does a restart of the computer fix this? The system-wide handling of sharing services can sometimes cause such delays, especially after installing new apps.

Restarting doesn’t help.

The issue seems to exist in rtf, rtfd, and html kind documents.

Text and bookmark kind documents display the contextual menu instantly. So does Safari.

From an entire DEVONthink Pro rtf kind document:

Double clicking any word to select. Right click on that word. Wait 20+ seconds and the contextual menu appears. Repeat with the same word and wait another 20+ seconds.

Nisus Writer Pro takes about 2 seconds to display the contextual menu in an rtfd.

Here are the different menus that eventually display


Any ideas?



I have the same issue with my MacBook Pro 2016, 2.9GHz i7 with 16 GB RAM. I’m assuming it’s because I have databases of 150-180 million words (150,000 files) open at the same time, though I was hoping the upgrade to the MBP would speed it up.
I try to use key shortcuts (DT menu, Applescripts and Keyboard Maestro) to replicate some of the contextual menu commands I frequently use.

The contextual menu doesn’t access the databases, therefore the size of the databases shouldn’t matter.

Could you please launch Apple’s Activity Monitor application (see Applications > Utilities), choose DEVONthink in the list of processes, click the “Sample” button in the toolbar right (!) after trying to open the contextual menu and send the result to cgrunenberg - at - Thanks!

email sent Wednesday afternoon USA CDT

Thanks! Do the opened databases contain lots of items with custom icons or thumbnails at the top level? Or are the databases stored on slow volumes, e.g. network servers?

For me, Christian’s question about the number of files at the top-level (seemingly only accessible via the Home icon in the toolbar) was the key - it’s a level of the database I almost never look at, since I focus on the Inbox. For my workflow, I put a lot of image-only PDFs, etc. into the Inbox, then move them to a provenance Tag (e.g. which archive collection they came from). Later on, I go through them and move excerpts from them to topical Groups, since each 200-page PDF will relate to dozens of different topics. But in the meantime, I don’t want the original PDFs to remain in the Inbox after my first-pass processing, and somewhere I’d read about making an ‘Untagged’ group, and move the tagged files to the Untagged group, and then run the Remove Tags script and remove the “Untagged” tag from the selected files. I guess that deleting files that have a tag but not a group shifts them to the top-level group (though it retains the appropriate tag). Everything else worked fine, so I chalked it up to having a large database (150m words…).

In short, after I moved the 46,000 files from the Home top-level directory to a generic Group (with Exclude from Classification checked on), the contextual menu now pops up right away. Presumably the contextual menu needs to look through all the top-level groups (and files!) for it to load.

Thanks Christian!

That’s right, the Insert Link To and Link To submenus process the top level items immediately. But it’s always a good idea not to store too many documents in one group (or at the top level) as this slows down loading & sorting (and especially contextual menus).

Ideal would be to file the documents in many groups to improve the AI (if desired).

Moving thousands of documents to a lower level group with Exclude from Classification checked on also solved my problem.