Convert incoming PDF automatically

I have to add on a daily basis PDF’s to Devonthink . I have to convert them to searchable documents with OCR.
Can this be automated ? Putting a PDF in the Inbox and starting to do the OCR immediately ?

Thanks in advance

Which version/edition of DEVONthink do you use? In version 3 smart rules can be used to automate this.

I just bought 3.0. But i’v updated to 3.0.1 already, Pro Version

In that case a smart rule which is performed on import and using the conditions…

  • Kind is PDF/PS
  • Word Count is 0

…could perform the action OCR > Apply.


i did this :

but it doesn’t seem to work .

Am i forgetting something ?

forget it … never mind. I found the error. Works now. Thanks for your help !!

The action has to be performed on import, just in case that somebody else reads this.


Please share the error and fix. I’ve not tried this yet and would like to know of potential issues.

This works for me …

Silly question perhaps here…

I have my Settings under OCR set to “Convert Incoming Scans” to PDF/OCR.

As far as I can tell, all PDF files I import via Drag/Drop or through the sorter get converted to OCR format.

In what situations would I add a non-OCR PDF that does not get OCR run on it when added to my database?

As far as I can tell, all PDF files I import via Drag/Drop or through the sorter get converted to OCR format.

Dragging and dropping a PDF into DEVONthink will not do OCR on it automatically without smart rules. That is not an incoming scan.
That setting is for input detected from apps like ScanSnap Home.

Many PDFs don’t require OCR, e.g., ones from Word or apps like InDesign, print to PDF from macOS apps, web clippings as PDFs,…

I have tried out the intelligent rules, to create a OCR over the dropped pdfs or mails in the “Eingang”. No effect.
Can You tell me, how must I set the actions?

My goal is: after dropping a pdf from external applications to the Eingangs-folder, the OCR process should begin. I just want to get always searchable pdfs.

Thank you so much.


This works for me:


@amalis’s example is a simple an effective one.

This works so great! Thank you very much amalis.:clap:

Glad to help.


how can I avoid the duplicates?

Tanner, I don’t get duplicates. The “word count=0” clause is only true on files that haven’t been OCRed, so that should prevent duplicates from occurring. You might want to file a bug report on that.

Avoid duplicates… in what way?
Duplicates created by OCR (which shouldn’t happen with OCR > Apply) ?

Hi Bluefrog,
If I right-click on the pdf, choose “OCR -> in durchsuchbares PDF”, than I get a second copy of the pdf and the original is still there. In this case, I get a lot of duplicates.