Devonthink as Finder or bust

I’m using DT 3.6.3 on a MacBook Pro Big Sur. 11.2.3.
I’ve been a Devonthink user for 3 years or so.

I want to use Devonthink with all of my files - a finder replacement. I can use Hazel to move files from download folders into DT, so no problem there. Here is my problem:

Is DT as Finder just stupid - not what the system is intended for? If so, how do I get all of my files out of DT and back into the world of the Finder?

If not, I’m sure I can use Hazel to move files into DT from Download, etc. But, when I am using other apps - say Microsoft Word - when I make the default auto save folder the Inbox, I get dozens of iterations saved in the Inbox. How can I avoid this?

Many thanks for any guidance

Finder (a view into the entire OSX file system and other attached file systems) and DEVONthink (a view into its own database and any indexed files that “appear” to be in the database) are two completely different applications with different purposes and to try to conflate or replace one with the other will probably only end in tears. I recommend you get off that starting point.

As a new starting point, first start by re-reading the free (compliments of DEVON Technologies) e-book “Take Control of DEVONthink” available on their web site which will give you perspective of what you can do. Also available there is the DEVONthink Manual, which is an outstanding teaching and reference document.


Many thanks for your reply.

I have read (skimmed) the references you mentioned, so I’m just going down the wrong path, getting increasing confused.

Can you point me in the direction of instructions how to get my files out of DT?

…I should say that I imported all my files…there is no indexing involved.
Thanks again for the help…

Menu/File/Export is a good start, or drag and drop out. See page 54 of the DEVONthink Manual

Try using the export function? :wink:

@BLUEFROG Jim, perhaps I’m missing it, but I can’t actually find the Export/Files & Folders function specifically described in the handbook.

@stpls If you use the above named function from the menu, your files will be exported into the same folder structure you have put them into in DT.

Bless you.
I just exported the global inbox, and it worked (I’ve tried before…not sure how I screwed it up)
The files now show in two places: in the Finder and in Devonthink.
In Devonthink, are the files duplicates or indexes?

Effectively, yes, in that you now have the files in two place. They are, however, completely independent of one another.

When I attempt to export a DB, File>Export is grayed out.
File> Database Archive is my only option. Is the Database Archive the most recent version of the files in the database?

If you simply highlight the complete contents of the database then you can use the Export/Files & Folders entry in the menu, and all will be exported.

god love you for your kindness blanc

Each DB has groups and sub-groups. It doesn’t look like I can select all the files in a DB in one pass, but rather sub group by sub group.

Is there a way to see and select all documents in the DB that I’m missing?

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I think you were answering my question as I typed it
Let me give that a go…

Give it a go :slight_smile: If you select the database from the sidebar and display its contents as a list in the list view (the middle part of the main window), then you can select all entries using the usual macOS method of highlighting the first entry, holding the shift key and highlighting the last entry. The select Export/Files & Folders and I think you should be happily on your way :slight_smile:

Export is on page 133 of the DEVONthink Manual, and there is a whole chapter in the “Take Control” book called “Get Information Out of DEVONthink”. Hope that helps.

Indeed, that does it, many thanks.
I think I was a kid given a microscope who couldn’t figure out why he couldn’t see the moon.
You’ve been very gracious with your time, many thanks


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yes it is, in all glory and detail; I’m at a loss to explain how I missed that after searching both for “export” and for “Files and Folders” in the manual, and should probably go back to bed :crazy_face: @BLUEFROG just ignore me, please :smiley:

You are really most welcome :slight_smile:

Help > Documentation > Menus > The File Menu > Import & Export: Export

Welcome @stpls

When I was 10, I took a picture of the moon and made sure to use a flash… you know, because it was dark out :roll_eyes: :stuck_out_tongue:

@rmschne is spot on and it’s been said many times before. DEVONthink is not a Finder nor a Spotlight replacement. I’d suggest digging into the Help > Documentation > Getting Started chapter to get the basics down.