Deleting indexed files that I've copied into a second database

I now have 18 files that are indexed in two separate databases. How do I delete the files in one database, but keep the files in the other and in finder?

The manual says if I delete the files in either database, they’ll be deleted in finder. What’s the most efficient way to get the indexed file out of one of the DT databases, and keep them in the other & finder?

For that matter, if I have other files indexed as a group and no longer want them indexed, but kept in both finder & DT, how do I do that? Or if I want some of them to no longer be indexed?


This is interesting. I just tried deleting an indexed file, and it was not deleted in the Finder.

Don’t take my experience as gospel, though. There could be other reasons why indexed files aren’t disappearing in the Finder when I delete them in DT.

Does this help? (From the user guide (also available through the in-app Help).)


  • Since the files are indexed in two separate locations, deleting one set will not delete the original files in the Finder.
  • If the group is a parent group, you’d be safe. If it’s a child of an indexed parent, it would be removed.
  • The only way you can make some files in an indexed group to be non-indexed is to import them or remove them from the folder in the Finder.

Is it safe to say that Devonthink always asks before removing indexed files or folders from the OS (the Finder)?

Is it safe to say that Devonthink always asks before removing indexed files or folders from the OS (the Finder)?

Definitely not.

Check out Help > Documentation > In & Out > Importing & Indexing > Indexing and the filesystem

Does this help. These are the possibilities…

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Thanks, Blue - I think I understand.

If I index a folder, I’ll be warned about the filesystem if I delete the folder from Devonthink.

If I’m in Devonthink and delete a descendant (file or folder) of an indexed folder, I’ll be taken at face value and the delete will take place at the filesystem level.

If anything is indexed in more than one DT database, it won’t get deleted from the filesystem until it’s deleted from all DT databases where it appears.

Which raises a question, something I’m often guilty of, possibly beyond the scope of this discussion.

If Devonthink keeps track of what else has an item indexed by hard links, how would it keep track across volumes?

Indexing doesn’t create hardlinks. It stores a reference to the absolute path.