I have looked into Obsidian & Logseq, (linking notes) & Tana, etc.
Also organizational systems; PARA, CODE. But I keep asking myself, can I do all this with DEVONthink???
Please share with me your valued thoughts?

Very many posts on just this topic already here for your perusal, along with the free “e-book” called “Take Control of DEVONthink” that is available free of charge from DEVONtechnologies on their web site.

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Thank you for responding, greatly appreciated! One question? Do you use DT the way I ask the question? Thanks again!

The way you ask, the answer is yes.


I suggest you don’t follow the crowd on these matters. Things quickly go in and out of fashion, especially amongst people who can’t refrain from installing every new app or following every productivity system that appears.

Do you actually need and use inter-document linking? If not, don’t worry about it and don’t use it as a criterion for the decision. And just being able to display a web of links doesn’t mean it’s universally useful.

Does a system like PARA make sense to you, not just intellectually, but practically? It doesn’t fit everyone’s style of thinking, just like Zettelkasten doesn’t.

Decide for yourself based on how you think and work with your data.


Yes, without going into the specifics of “all this”
My Devonthink use is augmented with Applescript,
and I sometimes export data to a spreadsheet for detailed analysis

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Maybe do as I did: use it, grow into it and let it teach you new ways of doing things. It’s really good at that.



I feel I am saying this all the time recently. I use DEVONthink 3 for everything I need to keep over any kind of time period. I do have Ulysses for first drafting some notes and whatever. However anything I need to keep goes into DEVONthink 3 within a few weeks. Including some mp3 files of lectures and so on.
I back up those databases and that’s it, I do have everything backed on Backblaze and a time machine backup system too. All that matters really is the thumb drives with DEVONthink 3 databases though. Even if my Bookends gets lost, everything is duplicated in some way in DEVONthink 3. I use the bibliography program purely to format really.


My most recent revelation is how handy file-based to do or kanban utilities are with Devonthink. I put the to do list files in Devonthink, sometimes more than one to do list.

At work, I have lots of irons in the fire. An observation, policy, or task may relate to more than one task.

So, I put what I need to do in the to do app, linked to a Devonthink tag for the work item. In a meeting, I’ve got one click access to little portfolios of what matters.

There are lots of possibilities.


No to-do app; my project/task to-dos are stored in Devonthink as tagged records
For a to-do list, I use a filtered note list (smart group)
displayed in a gantt timeline view
via an applescript export to a spreadsheet
The spreadsheet is stored in Devonthink; entries are linked back to the original records

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All that matters really is the thumb drives with DEVONthink 3 databases though.

Please clarify what you’re doing with the thumb drives.

You can use DEVONthink, Obsidian, Logseq, etc. to take notes. They all allow you to take notes. The question is, what kind of workflow do you use?

Do you want to heavily take notes in a daily note file with links to other notes? Logseq might work for you because the paradigm of that app is centered around the daily note.

Do you want a lot of flexibility to build a note taking system the way you want, with a large community of plugins? Obsidian might be a good option.

Do you want an app that you can take notes in, clip web pages, annotate PDFs, store videos, etc.? Do you want an app that will help you file away your documents? DEVONthink might be best for you.

I work in academia and deal with a lot of different files. Because of that, DEVONthink is my main app. The other note taking apps just don’t handle alternative file types very well.

Also, to answer your question above, I do use a PARA organizational structure in DEVONthink. I use a new database for every year to prevent any database from getting too large (I can always open the previous years databases from the “Recent Databases” section in the sidebar). Within the current database I have only 4 top level groups: Annotations, 01 Projects, 02 Areas, 03 Resources, and 04 Archive. I have the 4 PARA groups at the top of my favorites so I can easily access them. Just yesterday I went through my Projects folder and moved some things into the Archive folder. It works well for me but might not be for everybody.

Also, my $0.02, if you want to use the PARA method, it’s way way easier in DT than in Logseq or Obsidian. Navigating links or Obsidian folders is not nearly as easy as DT groups. DT’s “Classify” is in a league of it’s own and something I use every. single. day. 99.99% of my items start in the Inbox and get classified to where they should live.

Long story short (too late), I’d recommend thinking about how you want to take notes and then think about the app that will most easily accomodate that. In the end, all of those apps allow you to take notes, it’s just how everything is organized that makes the difference.


I back up the data bases using thumb drives. I am not running DEVONthink 3 from them or anything like that. I have several back ups really in various ways. Back blaze, the thumb drives and more. I keep a separate back up of DEVONthink 3 in other words. Every week at the longest I plug in a thumb drive and do a back up of my DEVONthink 3 then put the thumbdrive in a safe place.

I now run the risk of incurring the anger of some people.

But I’m afraid that anyone who thinks that links or something similar is the most important tool for organizing documents of any kind is mistaken.

What you need above all is a good search function. And what DT offers here is first class. :smiley:


I now run the risk of incurring the anger of some people.

If someone gets mad about an opinion as innoculous as “links in notes” then they need to spend some time re-evaluating their life!

I think the reason people like linking notes together is because it creates connections that they can use to build out new ideas. Or re-discover connections to ideas that they didn’t have before. Its probably important to some people.

And honestly, DT is pretty good with links. I’ve read “Taking Smart Notes with DEVONthink” by Kourosh Dini and I think a person could get pretty close to something like Obsidian while also retaining the great search functionality that you mentioned.

Or just use Obsidian and Index the vault in DEVONthink and, again, you’ll have the best of both worlds.

Personally, I don’t really link notes together. It’s too much overhead for me. I’d rather take notes in the Inbox, put them in their respective folder, and search for them later.


I agree, I have to say the whole linking notes is one step too far for me. However extensive links in articles and other things are now routine so maybe it is just me being a bit old fashioned.

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I think this goes to the heart of the original question on this post. DEVONthink isn’t a hugely opinionated app. A person can develop a workflow that suites them. Whether that’s using a lot of wikilinks or just searching through files. Do you want everything in just one Group with a tag for everything or nested Groups? Or do you want nested Groups AND tags?

For comparison, I think Logseq is a lot more opinionated. If you don’t want to use their workflow then you’re going to have an uphill battle trying to get what you want.


I would not have formulated it so “brutally” :joy:. People get annoyed when you try to talk them out of what they’ve been telling themselves for years.

Exactly. I am convinced that many people spend too much time to organize their thoughts, to link them and the like, than to have a thought. I’d rather not find a thought or a note in the worst case and have time to have three more thoughts.


Pshew! :sweat_smile: Thanks for the follow-up!

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Too opinionated
I appreciate Devonthink providing us various options for organizing notes; folders, tags, links, text search, smart groups, ….