Drag and Drop to another Apple App

I’m a Newbie to DevonThink (DT), 4th day into my trial. I’ve done a lot of reading, and learning and really like what I see thus far. As background, I’m an amateur genealogist using MacFamilyTree as my primary database and Evernote for all of my family research. In the MacFamilyTree (MFT) User Group I just learned about DT and a number of MFT Users now use it and love it, mainly because it is so easy to DandD sources and other evidence from DT into MFT. And therein lies my problem; I’ve not been able to do that as yet after trying it every which way I can think of. I know I must be missing something but haven’t figured out what it is. Can you help? I have some more minor questions but those can wait until later as this one I’ve described is of primary importance to my deciding to use DT.

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Welcome @opticomm

  • Are you saying you can’t drag and drop from MacFamilyTree or some other app?
  • And what specifically are you trying to drag and drop? If it’s from the MFT app, there are many views of information in it. Just seeing something doesn’t necessarily mean you can drag and drop it somewhere.


I think that is (part of) the information you need :slight_smile:

/puts glasses back on :nerd_face: :wink:

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Having both DEVONthink (3.9.2) and MacFamilyTree 9, and being curious, I could easily drag and drop from DEVONthink a PDF into MacFamilyTree’s “Add Media” window.

While in MacFamilyTree 9 while I could when picking Media, I could drag and drop PNG’s and PDF’s from there (see screen shot) to the Desktop, DEVONthink didn’t want to accept the “drop”. Don’t know why.

All is not lost … drag and drop out of MacFamilyTree to the Mac Desktop, then Drag and Drop from Desktop into DEVONthink.

Ooops. I was wrong. I now know “why” drag and drop into DEVONthink did not work. Silly me. I was attempting a drag into a “Smart Group” (the “Today” Smart Group). Of course not possible to drag into Smart Groups.

So … all works to drag and drop both ways.

WOW, I don’t remember being on such a Forum where responses came so quickly, very impressive!

BlueFrog, I think you got answers to the query you raised but I do appreciate that quick response. I’m thinking I didn’t realize that apparently DandD is limited to pdfs and pngs.


Thanks much, rmschne, for your very quick and helpful reply. I’m not used to these quick responses here that just don’t happen on other forums. It seems that I didn’t realize the limitations of what can be DandD’d and I gather that’s only PDFs and PNGs. Before replying to you, I converted a file from docx to pdf and also tried copying a photo over from DT to MFT. Both worked like a charm. So you’ve answered my Newbie question and I’m very appreciative. Are there any other formats that can be dragged and dropped?

DEVONthink can (probably) drag and drop any sort of macOS file. I don’t know what MacFamilyTree can accept … probably most anything, or they limit it to the file types that “make” sense for the app. Experiment for yourself, is my best advice.

You can drag most sorts of file into DT. The easiest way, I find, is to drag to the Global Inbox. I have it in my Dock so that I can drag to it at any time (even when DT is not running), but I also have it in my Finder sidebar. Another technique is to drag to Yoink or Dropzone, then to DT. Or you could use the Sorter, of course.

Page 57 of the manual has a section on drag and drop.

Thanks for this very helpful info, mbbuntu. I now have new thoughts to try.

Thanks again, rmschne, for more good suggestions. Yes, I need to experiment some more.

And, be sure the read the “free” (paid for by DEVON Technologies) e-book “Take Control of DEVONthink”, and scan the “DEVONthink Manual” to at least know what’s there–it’s well-written, so you are likely to read. Both available at

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Genealogy and important documents are my main uses of DT… and I also use it with MacFamily Tree. Drag and drop works flawlessly, but I confess I don’t think I’ve had reason to try anything other than .pdf and various image files.

These two programs really do work amazingly well together. And by using DT with your genealogy, you’ll find that it pairs fabulously with other programs you might use as well. For instance, I also use Scapple (mind mapping from literature and latte) to help me work out brick wall scenarios. Those charts show up in DT and if I open a program file from DT, make edits and save, the changes are automatically saved in DT.

Screenshot attached for a visual. Don’t forget the annotion feature in DT either. When I add a file, like a census record, I also include my citation in the annotation box in the inspector. This makes it super efficient to copy and paste into MFT.

And if you didn’t notice, DT has a built in RSS feeder, which I love!

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I responded yesterday to your email, tinksquared, but it didn’t work so here it is again. Thanks so much for all this good info, adding more excellent reasons as to why I should switch from my fairly large Evernote (EN) file to DEVONthink (DT). I now realize that DT far exceeds what EN offers in so many ways yet find myself in a dilemna. I’m now in my late eighties, hence more conscious of time, and if DT had come to my attention ten years ago–or even 5–it would be totally different. My combined family tree (my family as well as my wife’s) in MacFamilyTree now numbers some 2,100 people and my main focus now is on cleaning up a high number of corrupted sources (largely resulting from transferring all data from another genealogy program (RootsMagic 9) and also improving the accuracy and integrity of the trees themselves. No question that DT would make it easier but changing over would also mean an awful lot of time-consuming issues such as the DT learning curve to become more fully effective with it; importing/moving my entire EN file and then cleaning up or reorganizing as necessary; creating new Templates in DT, and so on. Or can my time simply be better used to continue slugging along with Evernote as my sidekick and focus on what needs to be done in my MFT tree?

Completely up to you. Seems to me your focus should be on MacFamilyTree database and from there whatever is useful. Keep it simple.

Thanks, rms, and I do appreciate all your helpful input!

Not yet mentioned but with such precious family information please ensure you have a working and routine backup regime.

I just went on to Evernote Community about trying to locate a lost template there. In the course of that search, I found many current complaints about a drastic increase in their renewal subscription prices (like 67% and higher), mine coming up next March. That, along with other issues I saw while on that site, caused me to rethink staying with Evernote. So I am trying to import one Evernote (EN) stack at a time into a new DT database but so far isn’t going well. The first Stack contains some 55 Notebooks and as many Notes among them (many Notebooks being empty). I’m using the Export from EN suggested method by Control Click on the desired Stack and dragging that exported file to the DT Dock Icon. But all I’m getting is the first Notebook in the stack with its one note. I used this same procedure a few days ago and had some success with a smaller stack so I must be doing something wrong. I hate to be asking for help for such basic procedures but as a DT Newbie, I know I have an awful lot yet to learn. In fact, if I continue to move to DT I already know I have more questions (about navigation, Templates, My own interface setup, etc). But one step at a time. I am trying to learn via the “Total Control of DEVONthink 3” book and do find it helpful.

there are other posts here about migrating from Evernote. Probably a DEVONthink Blog article. use search, or someone can give a link. you need to use an older version of Evernote to make it work easily. Frankly I forget the details as I never had need to do the migration.