Devonthink does it support linking of Notes

I’ve been a very long term user of SOHO Notes. I got Devonthink Personal in a bundle and at first I had no idea what it was. Now I know. I’ve read that this is the most powerful of the three: SOHO Notes, Yojimbo and devonthink.

I’m not sure. SOHO is very powerful but I want to make sure I’m not missing something here. Linking of Notes I find handy to be able to jump to directly related info so that’s why I was curious if Devonthink did this.


If Devonthink does link items it is not very obvious. I have just tried to link 2 items, and lost all the contents of one item totally. Having spent 30 minutes inputting the data, I am not happy. I have managed annotating in the past, but even that is not as intuitive as it should be.
Devonthink is very powerful at finding items within the databases, but curiously rather poor at organising the information.
I like Chronos Notes because it now handles tags very well. Devonthink is very flexible with tags, but the handling is nothing like as good.
Devonthink resembles an old fashioned database, with modern search facilities whereas Notes really started as a sophisticated Note taker, so they are fundamentally different. I suspect that if my version of Notes carried as many files as Devonthink I would see a serious deterioration in performance.
Devonthink does have far more facilities - only you can decide whether you need that level of sophistication. Path Finder may be an easier option if it merely an organiser (which would be even better if it handled tags.)
Devonthink’s iPad app is better presented than Chronos Notes, which still uses the iPhone app despite the upgrade having been promised on a number of occasions. On the plus side for Notes it does bring everything across to the iPad, whilst with Devonthink you have the facility to chose what you Sync. I think I prefer the Notes approach because I never really know what I what until I want it.
Notes does organise things better on the iPad than Devonthink.
I have commented on integration with the iPad because with the Air and the iPad it is likely that people will carry their information around with them more readily in the future, so programs that sync well between all products are more highly desirable.
It also raises a question of future information usage. In the past a database has generally be a large collection of information dumped in a central facility. Recent improvements in software means that it is incredibly easy to accumulate information from a vast array of resources. Both Devonthink and Notes are good in this respect.
With this and the advances in hardware it is easy to drown in the information storage. The particular advantage of Chronos Notes is that it is easier to causally flip through, reminding one more easily of older information that has become forgotten, but could create serendipitous thoughts. I currently use both, but find each of them limited in the way one organises the information to create intellectual projects, such as linking items, which I believe will become critical in the future.
I a delighted to have both programs, but they both leave me feeling the there should now be something better coming along.
Hope this helps you put your own thoughts into perspective on the respective programs.

I apologize for only giving a direct answer to your question. I normally try to add a bit of detail and guidance. But I’m puzzled as to how you lost content in experimenting with links in DEVONthink.

Clickable links can be inserted in rich text notes in DEVONthink in a variety of ways, and the ‘link’ commands are documented in Help and in the user documentation PDF .

One can get the Item Link of any target document (and in the case of PDFs, the Page Link to a specific page) and paste it in as a clickable link in a rich text note.

A text string in a rich text document can be selected. Control-click on the selection and choose the contextual menu option, Link To, then navigate to the desired target.

A text string in a rich text document can be selected. Control-click on the selection and choose the contextual menu option, Add Link, then paste in a URL, Item Link or Page Link.

Control-click on an existing link allows one to choose a contextual menu option, Edit Link, or another option, Remove Link.

Another approach, which also works in plain text notes, is to use well-chosen “cue strings” from a document that one would like to return to, and paste the string (enclosed in quotation marks) into a note. If one then selects that string in the note (including the quotation marks) and presses the keyboard shortcut for the Lookup Service, a new Search window will open with the string entered. Press Return and the desired document will be listed in search results. Select it and (for several filetypes) the document will be displayed, scrolled to the first occurrence of the cue string.

An Annotation note template (with a keyboard shortcut) can be invoked for any selected document. It is already linked to that docent and is associated with it as well by the inclusion of the Name of the annotated item.

And then there are WikiLinks (which I rarely use myself), a feature that can be turned on in Preferences > Editing. Type or paste the Name of any existing document in an open database in a rich text note, and it will be automatically linked to that document.

DEVONthink differs from other database management applications by including artificial intelligence algorithms in the kernel of the database. A your databases grow (especially if they are reasonably well organized) the AI assistants such as Classify (which prompts for possible group location(s) of a new item) and See Also (which suggests other documents that are contextually related to a document you are viewing) become more and more useful.

When I’m doing research and writing in my main database, which holds about 25,000 references and about 5,000 of my own notes, See Also makes DEVONthink the best research assistant I’ve ever had. (There’s a related assistant, See Related Text, that one can use for selected text such as several paragraphs, or a section of a report, for better focus on a concept than if the entire document were examined and compared to all the other documents in a database.)

If I Option-click on a term, I’m presented with a list of all the other documents in that database that contain that term. Or select a phrase and choose the Lookup Service, and a search can be done on all the items in the database that contain that phrase.

Such tools provide a very rich environment for exploring and thinking about the information content of a database. And the best preventative of writer’s block that I’ve ever found. :slight_smile:

Thanks very much for the info. Both replies provide excellent info. There’s obviously a lot of power in DT. it my be overkill for my needs though. I’m used to soho notes and that’s a big plus. Bill’s explanation of linking was very extensive and I appreciate that. As I read it though I went whew. In Notes a link is just a drag and drop operation. In DT it strikes me as there are many methods and if you were to get on to it the algorithm in DT might make finding what you are looking for more useful. But just looking at just this one function in DT I feel a touch overwhelmed.

One thing I really like is in the Office version you can scan in searchable PDFs. I am trying to figure out if I need this and am also testing Finereadernand putting it’s results in SOHO. The advantage of Finereader is there are more functions and I find it faster than DT.

Thanks again.