DEVONthink two way database sync

I’m a new user so forgive me if this is an elementary issue. I’m trying to setup a two way database sync between my iMac and Macbook air. I have followed the instructions on the video tutorial ( and have managed to sync one way from my iMac to mba. However changes made to the same database on my mba are not synchronised back to my iMac.

Can you someone give instructions on how to do that?


When you change the iMac you need to sync from the iMac. When you change the MBA you need to sync from the MBA. Is this the sequence you are following? Good practice is to use a database on a machine. Sync that machine. Close the database on that machine. Use the other machine. Etc.

It’s possible to be less precise about the sequence, but I like the conservative route just to be sure.

Also, double check your sync settings on both machines.

Thank you for your answer korm. After setting up the sync settings on the mba I received a message alerting me that DEVONthink would keep my databases in sync, which is what I needed.

I will be conservative as per your suggestion regarding the sync. However I have noticed that I need to have the database open on my mba to be able to perform a direct sync from my iMac. That sometimes prompts me a sync conflict dialogue.

Finally, I managed to figure out how not to break DThink’s sync process. For my setup, and I suspect that this may be generalizable, the key factor was that indexed file entries in the database have to be visible from both machines. If not then you get sync errors and no amount of Verify & Repair will fix things.

I was very frustrated with this for many months, spent quite a bit of time with tech support and tried many variations. This single factor seems to be the key one. I suspect that others have already figured this out or regard it as obvious but it had me stumped for a long time.

I think what threw me off what that prior to v2.5, if you only did your sync in one direction, indexed files that were not visible from one of the machines would not clobber the sync. Your database entry would complain that the file was missing but sync would still occur for other files. v2.5 broke that but it was not obvious.

Workarounds are hinted at in many places but I hope I can make it more clear here. If you place the indexed file somewhere like DropBox (note that this is not the same as placing your whole DThink database into DropBox), then because it is visible to both machines, sync works fine. Also if you duplicate the folder hierarchy on both machines and then use some sort of file sync utility to keep them synchronized separately (or if you are clever, automatically by using a script), then DThink’s sync will not notice that the file is not missing and will not complain. I have not tested whether it can detect changes in such files - I suspect that it cannot. So diffs will not be flagged or merged.

Note also that you need to manually add entries to the DThink database when you do place something in your DropBox folder, if you use the above approach. I have come across some interesting posts that describe scripting automation of this, so that when you do drop a new file into such a folder, the DThink database entries are partly updated.