Document Managing System with DevonThink Pro

as a database developer, I got a customer who needs a document managing software for digitized paper-doc’s (besides of the Database-Solution)

Proces goes as follows:

  • office creates (paper-) outputs of documents of every kind
  • these docs are processed (i.e. sent to customers (invoices, offers, correspondance, etc.)
  • afterwards, these documents were scanned by a ‘ScanBlackboxMachine’ by Canon (maybe WIN-based, maybe UNIX/Linux, don’t know at the moment)

then, the doc’s should be available by a authorized group of users

I’m thinking about DevonThink Pro for this management

in general: Do You have experience here?

I would be interested to hear if/how you use DT Pro for document version control.


well, I’m using DT as a ‘sccs’ system - and I created rtf’s for each file ‘captured’ by DT. Data has to be entered manually - but if the app’ You’re developing with doesn’t suppport anything else, it’s the best solution… (i.e. Filemaker…)

Launching files is very easy, maybe there’s an automator action to complete the ‘outbinding’ process - but I didn’t investigate in automator (got the feeling that it’s not enough…)

What I’m asking for in this post is ‘for a bigger solution’. My customer want’s to track/freeze his whole accounting by scanning/ocr paper-data, copying this so gathered data on a separate disk…
… and then, maybe using DT

would be happy if someone from the staff could give some ideas/hints here

Maybe this is a stupid question but why not just skip paper altogether and go totally digital from the beginning? Are you saving as .pdf files (because Acrobat 7 does a great job of OCR on .pdfs).


sorry - not the subject here.

Isn’t there anybody from devontechnologies around here?? If there was a phone-number on the homepage, I would have called them…

please accept that this workflow is based on internal discussions by my customers - I can’t make decisions…


Yeah, I’m sure they enjoy a rude consultant. I’m a consultant too (scientific) and I’d never respond to a post the way you just did to mine. I even tried to mention a program to you that I thought might help. Don’t take out your frustration on the users here, everyone tries to help to the extent they can. Why don’t you email for support rather than posting here if you want an answer from the developers?


sorry about the posts…

if I consider acrobat - could also be a scenario - then I’d check first for other forums…

I’m not sure if devonthink is an alternative for the needs/spec’s here - and therefore I would be happy for comments concerning DT.

Anyway, Thank You very much - and I’ll check the forum-post again

I’m not saying to consider Acrobat in lieu of DT. I use them very successfully together. I occasionally get a scanned document from a client, for example something from a legal book or a report that they don’t have in digital form. So they just scan it and send it to me. So I OCR it in Adobe Acrobat Professional, toss the result into DT and it works great! I’ve been amazed at how well the OCR works. The result looks exactly like the scan but the words are now recognized and searching and classifying work. It doesn’t create a new text document, e.g., an RTF, but retains the orginal look of the thing in DT as a PDF+text. I merely thought this might be helpful for at least some portion of your workflow, especially if you do decide to use DT.


The customer’s consultant requests a canon ‘scan-solution’, maybe it’s called ‘ades’ (not sure) - only for Windows available. As far as I know, this thing can create OCR’ed documents somewhere on a volume, that can be mounted from a OSX machine

A group of employes should have access to this data afterwards - and since they are all on Mac OSX…

I believe that the DT (professional) files can be stored on a external volume/server volume as well…

What’s about performance? Can’t say much about size of the data, maybe several thousands doc’s a year (don’t believe that they got several tenthousands…). They need to find doc’s by ‘freesearch’ (not predefined indices)

I did some tests with pdf’s that I draged into DT - and it’s so simple&fast that I would prefer DT (from this point of my investigations). Sure, the proces of importing the OCR’ed data has to be automatized, but… step by step


  • The reason that the customer has to scan the docs instead of creating directly paperless docs is, that they often add handwritings on the print’s (or stamps i.e. ‘processed by…’ and so on

  • I’m not a consultant for this customer - I just came into the game because I’m on OSX as well (I’m the ‘FileMaker’-guy there) - and the customer wanted to use ‘Spotlight’ first (could also be a solution, there is a plugin for safari AFIK)

edit: some typos and clarifications

Hey guys,

Simmer down. It’s almost July and too hot to fight. The contact numbers are not on the home page, but the Support page:

I have always found the folks at Devon to be exceptionally quick and responsive. The forum pages are here for users who want to explore the software, discuss usage scenarios, and now and then cure minor problems. ChemBob is one of the exceptionally helpful caretakers, so I’m sorry to see him get sore, however justifiable. Your work is much appreciated, CB!


thanks Howarth for the contact info - and sorry for the mess I’ve created by getting nerveous! I really don’t want to fight and I don’t want to blame anybody.

Customers always want answers to questions very quick - and I should create an answer until mid of the next week

Thank you! I’ve learned so much from others here that if I can help at all I try to do so. Frankly, if it hadn’t been for all the experienced users in these forums (Bill springs to mind) that helped me I might have gotten frustrated and given up on DT long ago rather than now using it as possibly the most powerful tool in my collection.


On a completely unrelated topic, is anybody using DT Pro for document version control?

I am using CVS to store documents (mostly TeX, DocBook and such). I would like to learn if/how you are using DT for document version control.

My assessment for now:

Pro: I can store BLOB such as MS Word documents. However, most of the documents I create use XML-based formats and can be stored in CVS.

Con: Version control logic provided by CVS would have to be implemented with a bunch of scripts around DT. Pretty complex thing. Using subfolders for each version could be a valid workaround.

I need that system only for myself. Nobody else has access the documents while I am working on them. Released versions go into a corporate document repository.

I would appreciate it to hear your comments.



I’ve referred your query to the developers.

DEVONtechnologies is planning to do what you are discussing, and more.

DEVONthink Personal and DEVONthink Pro are single-user databases.

DEVONthink Enterprise will be a multiuser environment.

And yes, DEVONtechnologies is planning for management of documents from their conversion from paper format (scanning and OCR) through document management needs of single users and enterprise users.

I can’t give you a schedule for the enterprise version, as the current priority is finalizing DT Pro during the public beta test period. :slight_smile:

Thank You very much!

don’t know how fast this thing has to be realized now, but I’ll call DevonTechnologies within the next few days.

Single user… Yes, this can be a problem - although I can imagine a scenario where people get actualized versions of the master-db by synchronizing (or so)

Since the CEO of the customer-company is very mac-friendly, I think chances are good to bring DT in

Again, Thank You very much - and my apologies for the mess I’ve created

I was away from this list for several month now - and in the early days, every second post was created by cgrunenberg from the staff - so I was a bit puzzeled by the ‘delay’ :wink:


actually I’m too busy these days to spend as much time in the forum as in the past :-/ However, a plugin to scan, OCR and store documents right into the database is upcoming. In addition, databases stored on read-only volumes (e.g. folders with read-only privileges) can be already accessed (“read”) by multiple users.

We have been extremely busy with DEVONthink Pro, so sorry that we don’t participate in this forum as lively as we should. Please, call me at any time at +49-7142-988086!