Dropbox and Sync

I (and I suspect quite a few others…) have already been keeping my DTPO databases in a folder on Dropbox.

I simply load up the database on one Mac, making sure DTPO is closed on the other one. I’d get the odd warning about being in use by another user but it wasn’t ever an issue.

My question is…

with the new sync feature, what is the best route for me here? Does the new Sync feature presume that the DTPO databases live outside the Dropbox folder? and then sync with the version in the Apps subfolder inside the Dropbox folder?

We recommend against placing a database in Dropbox and running it there. There are entirely too many possibilities for database damage to make this safe.

Instead, the new Sync procedure places a “Store” of database files (not the database itself) into Dropbox if Dropbox is chosen as the sync vehicle. Currently, Sync is specifically tuned to the idiosyncrasies of Dropbox, and may or may not work if another similar service such as Box is chosen as the transfer vehicle.

If you encounter a problem with a Sync attempt, check the message in the Activity log (Window > Log). For example, Sync will (by design) stop if it finds that a database has verification errors. In that case the proper thing to do is to clean up the database before trying Sync again. DEVONthink provides tools to do that, including Tools > Restore Backup or Tools > Rebuild Database.

When the instructions tell you to “clean up” the Sync Store, e.g, in Dropbox, that means simply to delete the existing Store and create a new one.

Please read the instructions carefully. If you encounter problems up to and including a DEVONthink crash during Sync, send a message to Support that includes the logs created by Sync, rather that the normal DEVONthink application crash report. Those logs will be useful to the developer to analyze what happened during the sync attempt.

Maybe rewrite the instructions?

Hi, I must reiterate the original question

I also currently keep my database files in a dropbox folder. Do I move them? Create a new “local sync store” and delete the original database.

Very appreciative of this new feature, and would hope that Devontechnologies can provide a basic step by step tutorial to implement dropbox sync for existing users, currently on dropbox or otherwise.

Afraid to try it on my own, and mess up my data in the process!


Do not delete the existing database, but do remove it (while closed) from Dropbox. Then, if you wish to sync via Dropbox, designate Dropbox as the location of the Store.

I have to admit that I’m confused by the dropbox sync.

I’ve got it to work. I’m all synced up. But how, then, do the other people I want to be able to access this database access it? Do they need to log into my dropbox account?

I.e. if I have a team of people, is it possible to sync via dropbox? Or must I use one of the other options?

At the moment the material on the support site tell me how I can upload data to the cloud, but doesn’t do a very good job of explaining how the other people who will sync to this cloud can go about accessing the data…

I also use Dropbox to store my DT database. I understand I need to remove it from DB before using the sync. It has worked great in DB for me, I use it as an extra backup in the cloud.

What I really need is to be able to access the same database from 2 different computers at the same time. Can this be done?

How about opening 2 different databases one on each computer at the same time?

Both computers are on the same home network.

Thank you


Please do not misunderstand what the Sync Plugin is for. It is for keeping a DEVONthink database MIRRORED on multiple accounts or machines. Dropping files into DropBox will NOT add them to a DEVONthink database. It is also NOT for allowing other access to the contents of a DEVONthink database outside of using DEVONthink.

I only add files thru DT but my database resides in Dropbox.

What I really need is to be able to have 2 persons in the same open database at the same time.

You really should not keep your database in a DropBox folder. I have more than a handful of tickets of data loss from doing exactly that, and from people who have “closed it and only had it opened on one machine at a time”.

You cannot have two people accessing the same exact database at the same time. You can’t even do this with DropBox alone. Even with DropBox alone you are working on a local copy and syncing to a shared location. The second User works on their local copy, syncing to the common location. This is what the Sync plugin is doing with the DEVONthink database but safely and correctly for your database.

The tutorial video should show the basic setup for DropBox sync.

Please post a link to the sync tutorial video!

You have convinced me I am going to take my DT data out of DB.

Do I understand correctly that if I use the sync feature my wife and myself can both work with our DT file at the same time on 2 different computers? If so that would be great.

Thank you for your time.

If you go to our devontechnologies.com/suppor … rials.html you will see a video link for Synchronizing.

@Ray: Yes you can both have a synced copy of a database but remember, it is for mirroring, so if you and your wife are making changes to a common database, you could run into collisions. (This is a familiar situation with any shared resource like this.) The way I think of it is this…

You have a database called Rays Stuff.
She has a database called Rays Wifes Stuff.
You both share a database called Our Stuff (…awww, cute 8) ).

You both would add and remove things to this common database and draw things of interest into your own individual databases as you see fit.

This is NOT the only way to do this but it’s a nice, low impact way to do this without causing unintended grief because someone deleted something out of the database that’s “mine”. Plus this way you can have individual, non-mirrored databases for yourselves and still share resources you’ve gathered independently. Again, this is ONE way to deal with it (and one I happen to like personally). Cheers!

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OK, I moved my database files out of dropbox, and onto a local drive.

Also, I’ve successfully synced a couple of databases and my inbox, using my Dropbox account as a location.

But for some reason, when I click “sync now” with my largest database selected, nothing happens. The sync dialog pops up for about a second, and then immediately closes.

Bug? or did I skip something?

Check the Activity log (Window > Activity). Prior to initiating sync, the Sync procedure will check for errors in the database and stop if errors are present, leaving a message about database validation. If that happens, use an appropriate procedure to eliminate the error(s), such as Tools > Restore Backup, Tools > Rebuild Database, or replace the damaged database copy (while the database is closed) with an undamaged backup copy, e.g., from Time Machine or a Database Archive.

Please be aware that the video contains a serious error where it recommends to deselected /Apps in the advanced syncing preferences of DropBox. This might cause problems with other apps (other than DEVONThink I mean) and even data loss. Instead deselect /Apps/DevonThink/.

Thanks so much for the advice and response. If I may, and I would value it if my thinking could be corrected if I am wrong at any point here, for me and people like me the steps would be.

  1. Move my DTPO database folder back out of Dropbox and place it inside Documents on my Home folder.
  2. Do this on all my machines.
  3. Backup my DTPO folder to be sure.
  4. Wait for Dropbox to finish up syncing and removing the folder.
  5. Load up a database in DTPO on one machine.
  6. Create a Sync location via Dropbox
  7. Select my database, set a schedule and sync it to Dropbox sync location.
  8. Let that take whatever time it takes. DTPO goes off and creates a ‘store’ on Dropbox that it uses to sync between machines.
  9. Go to my other machine, load up the ‘same’ database and choose the same. I am presuming DTPO recognise it as the same database by name…
  10. I can in addition set up a ‘direct’ sync for machines on my home office network. This sync can operate in parallel with the Dropbox sync.

Your instructions look good to me, Tommy.

Many thanks!

A disadvantage of your method is that the original dropbox sync is disabled before DEVONThink’ s dropbox sync works. This means that if something goes wrong with setting up DEVONThink’s sync your databases do not sync anymore. For that reason, I would in step 1 create a new DT database folder in the Documents folder and copy the database from the Dropbox folder to that folder (on relevant computers) and remove the original databases from Dropbox only after the DevonThink sync works fine.

Furthermore, it is my experience that databases on Dropbox get easily corrupted. For that reason I recommend that:

(1) clean up your database before you copy it out of dropbox on your first computer (or, better but more work, after clean up the copies after copying on all your computers) by opening the database package in the Finder (control-click on the database and choose ‘show package content’) and removing all the .dtMeta files that have ‘conflicted copy’ in their name).

(2) before you sync the database for the first time do a ‘verify and repair’ followed by ‘back up and optimize’ (both are in the tools menu) (this should be done on each computer, before the first sync on that computer)

See also this comment in another thread [url]Syncing and database location/storage]

Hope this helps!