DT Files folder: caution

Like many people, I suspect, I use DT as an archive for all files related to a project. People doing this, however, need to be aware of a potentially dangerous problem with DT.

The last project I did for a client contained, according to DT, 182 files. They’re all important in their own way, but the ones the client would be most interested in are an OmniGraffle file and a KeyNote presentation, both of which are package files.

Seeing that DT doesn’t handle package files gracefully (it converts them to folders), I stuffed them and dragged the SIT files into DT. They showed up as all other files do–with a link icon next to them. I have my DT preferences set to copy files into the database folder, so that’s where I assumed the SIT files were.

They were not. For some reason, DT didn’t copy the files into the database folder, even though the visual indication and regular behavior with, say, .pdf or image files does copy those files into the database folder. It has become common practice for me to delete items once I’ve moved them into DT, with the assumption that DT has kept them in the database folder.

Luckily, I had copied the KeyNote file to a colleague’s machine before the project ended.

Devon, perhaps this behavior should be reconsidered. If DT has filetype-specific behavior in regards to copying files into the database folder, such behavior should be indicated somehow, or files which aren’t copied should be excluded entirely. This almost cost me a lot of work.

I never encountered the behaviour you report here, although I have hundreds of files in the DT folder, showing up as links. I work with DT since April now and find DT extremely reliable.

The problem with the link icon is that it means either the files are on the disk or in the Database folder. You can only be sure that they are in the database folder if you check this in the path information of the Info panel. Since I set my preferences to store all sorts of files in the database folder I can always find them there. You have to set several preferences in order to store several unknown file formats and media in that folder.


The upcoming version 1.9 of DEVONthink solves this problem with a new preference that allows you to tell DEVONthink to copy ALL unknown files to the database folder. Older version just copied .pdf and image files to the database folder, not StuffIt archives.

Sorry for that. It won’t happen again in DT 1.9.