David Sparks Field Guide on Devonthink and DTTG

The aim of this note is provide the forum with my ssessment of the recent field guide on Devonthink (mac and ios) by David Sparks and to alert the forum that it exists.

David is a well-known commentator on Mac related topics. When I first moved to the Mac in 2010 his Macpower users podcast cohosted with Katie Flloyd was an invaluable resource for getting the best out of the Mac operating system and learning about available applications.

It was about this time (2011) through serendipity, that I stumbled across Devonthink. This proved a great blessing of enormous intellectual, competitive and ultimately financial advantage and value for my area of environmental and public law. But as you can imagine for a new Mac user it was like taking a tiger by the tail.

At the time I was surprised that David was not a user of the Devonthink app given his deep interest in Apple scripts and computer automation.

In the last few years David has reported that , like me, he is using DEVONthink to support his practice as a lawyer . Given his knowledge of computing is vastly is greater than mine I was therefore interested to see that he had produced what he calls a ‘Field Guide’.

The link is here.

The Field Guide is useful for all types of users from the beginner to the experienced user of DEVONthink. For example, David enlightened me about how to use the app Hook with Devonthink to improve contextual computing. This capability is already strong in Devon think. However given the options now for integration with other Mac apps , Hook is another useful tool.

The Field Guide is made up of a comprehensive suite of videos organised according to topics and sub topics. These are accessible through the browser and hosted by teachable.com

Devonthink now has its own excellent support function and documentation. The David Spark’s Field Guide is complementary to these and helps people who have particular need for visual representation of the use of applications. Especially for those apps like Devonthink that have a steep learning curve.

My own experiences is that learning involves both, using the application, reading the documentation and using visual materials. And the first two are essential.

The Field Guide is comparatively expensive for non-US customers. However, to the extent that it helps you to become a dedicated user of DEVONthink with all the efficiencies that come with that, it is well worth the price. Especially, if visual material is your preferred way of learning.

The enduring value of this resource will probably be that it will enable many new users to pass the pain threshold and develop expertise with Devonthink. In that way David Sparks has again shared his knowledge and educational talent generously. I am grateful for his ongoing endeavours to help people get the best out of their devices.



I purchased the course and binged it. I think it’s excellent! Highly recommend anything David Sparks does.


Thanks for sharing your opinion on it. :slight_smile:


I really appreciate this endorsement as I own several of the MacSparky Guides and am a long-term user (disappointed) of Evernote and sit on the fence of “when to switch” to Devonthink, not an “if”. David Sparks is a real asset to the Mac community (and the Devonthink community, I suspect). Thank you for your input, it is very much spot on, and in good timing to the needs of many in this community.

Welcome @Doug_Cranmer
We’re glad to have you here. We hope you enjoy MacSparky’s presentation :slight_smile:

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+1 on the great field guide by David Sparks.

In my opinion, any new user of DT would tremendously benefit from getting the guide together with the software. This will save countless hours of researching on-line. You get a one-stop solution from very basics down to complex use-cases. As a more experienced user, you might find many small interesting tricks and trips on the details on the software. Especially great was a section with “power users” where David interviewed multiple power users of DT and how they use the software (many of these folks are on this forum as well).

On additional highlight of the guide, especially to the new users of software, is an exemplary database which can be used to understand the database mechanics before starting to work with your own data.

I wish this guide was available to me a couple of years ago when I first discovered DT.