DTP 3.9 and Scrivener

I rely on DTP (3.9 on 13.4) to store virtually all my documents - of any kind.

Just because it’s such a reliable file management system where I can place files whose content (like any Scrivener document’s… science, music, history, places etc) is important for categorization. I have my seven top level folders in DTP set to reflect areas of my life: study, finances, writing, household etc.

So I’d like to keep my Scrivener documents ‘stored’ in DTP. I’ll double-click on each to open it externally.

Imported; not indexed, I’d think?

I don’t really need DTP’s searching and indexing - so no interactivity.

Just a place to store Scrivener projects in aid of finding them in their correct DTP folders in the above-mentioned hierarchy.

I was advised by the good people at Literature and Latte to ask here - in case there could be any incompatibilities and/or cases where DT’s handling of such documents (really, Scrivener’s are macOS pckgs) could compromise their integrity.

The three or four threads on here which I’ve read seem to be generally in favor but are inconclusive.


1 Like

I always heard warnings about storing Scrivener projects in Devonthink. I never had any problems. Other programs save documents as packages. That’s an option in MindNode, for example.

It’s been a long time since I used Scrivener. These days, I use the navigator in my word processor as my binder and DT as my notes and research.

Keep good backups of both your Scrivener project and the DT database. I wouldn’t want to over-encourage Scrivener in DT. On the other hand, I never saw any problems.

If you want to make it a little safer to have your Scrivener projects bundled with a bit of structural isolation, create a sparse disk image. Store your Scrivener files in there and put the enclosing image file in Devonthink. Sounds complex, but really pretty easy.

1 Like

I also use both DEVONthink (Pro and ToGo) to support my long-form writing with Scrivener. It never occured to me to do what you want to do, nor do i think it would be a good idea. I don’t have any proof of this, nor do I intend to test it–perhaps you can and report back?

I keep all my Scrivener projects in one macOS folder, synced with Dropbox, to enable moving them between macOS and iOS devices. Backup zip files are of course stored somewhere else. Like DEVONthink, Scrivener uses the Dropbox API to make this a pretty-much bullet-proof sync mechanism for their files. How that syncing would be possible for Scrivener packages if the files were in DEVONthink is a mystery.

Scrivener, like DEVONthink, is an app that keeps it’s files in a macOS Package with all kinds of stuff going on in the app to keep track of it all. I think of both of the apps as a sophisticated database application. How Scrivener would react to having stored inside itself all kinds of DEVONthink references is a mystery.

I rely mostly on the Scrivener “Recent” file list to open up a project as I almost always am working on one or two projects at at time and these projects always show up on the “Recent” list. I rarely go into the one folder (via Finder or File/Open inside Scrivener) to get old projects. How that “Recent” file list would work in Scrivener if the files are not in the local file system is a mystery.

You mention the DEVONthink “file hierarchy”. I don’t consider that a thing in DEVONthink. DEVONthink’s Groups are not file system folders. They are a figment of the DEVONthink designer’s imagination implemented as “Groups” and “Smart Groups” for us users.

You mention you don’t need DEVONthink’s searching and indexing. But if the Scrivener projects are put into DEVONthink, whether indexed or imported, they will be indexed and could appear in searches. But as one should not, like in DEVONthink, delve into the internal’s of the application’s database, what is the benefit?

Scrivener projects for me, eventually get done–or at least there are interim drafts/deliverables. For me usually these are PDFs. Of course I put these PDF’s into the Project group in DEVONthink where I keep writing project references, contracts, emails, … list is long. I just don’t keep the Scrivener packages there. That’s just me, which is the basis for me upon which I wonder the value of putting Scrivener packages in DEVONthink, especially with all these mysteries. :wink:

So … does it work? Dunno. More importantly, I would not do it and instead rely on Scrivener and macOS to keep track of its projects and if these projects are to be structured in some sort of structured hierarchy, use the macOS file system with Finder which is a structured hierarchy to do so.

DEVONthink is not intended to be a macOS Finder replacement, nor is it intended to be a place to dump everything. Can it be a place a dump stuff? Yep. I have that problem sometimes. :wink:

Might work. Make some test Scrivener projects, and test.

But no matter the test results, even if it works, not something that I think has a lot of value. I accept and support that you think differently. But test, test, test.

1 Like

How kind of you, Carl, to write to encouragingly. Thank you!

I think I may decide - although I too have had no problems at all - to keep Scrivener packages outside DTP.

I don’t want to tempt fate. Much appreciated :slight_smile: .

Thanks for your thoughts, @rmschne !

We probably use DTP very differently. I never use it on iOS… eyes too weak :slight_smile:

Nor do I need to synch my work there.

(Lucky me.)

I certainly take your point - thanks too - about DT not being a substitute for the Finder.

For me DEVONthink Pro is a document management system.

And the best one too, something I use all day every day. I started with EagleFiler (also excellent) but saw that DTP has more of the features I use and need.

Because Scrivener text bindings are documents, and because I am fanatical about organizational hierarchies, it makes good sense for Scrivener documents I have, say, on medicine to go in my DTP ‘Biology > Medicine’ (sub)Groups; and those Scrivener documents (albeit inside a Scrivener project dmg) on musical composition to go inside DTP’s ‘Music > Composition’ etc.

But, thanks, if there is any risk of corruption, I’ll refrain :frowning: - reluctantly…

Maybe I could prevail on @cgrunenberg and @BLUEFROG to weigh in, please?

Well, have you tried?

1 Like

Criss could weigh in with more technical details, if needed but there shouldn’t be an issue with putting a Scrivener file in DEVONthink. Both apps are macOS-native and package aware. Technically, an RTFD file is functionally a package file as well, but a simple one. So are Word, Pages, Keynote, etc. files but more complicated with many things connected and happening under the hood (unlike RTFD).

On a side note, if you want to try something interesting…

  1. Locate a Pages document in the Finder.
  2. Change the extension from .pages to .zip, okaying the change.
  3. Double-click the zip file and you get a folder with the internals of the Pages document!

This should also illustrate that Pages documents (and their kind) are not text-based formats, hence not seachable via their contents in EasyFind, something I blogged about this week.

A problem with package files comes about when processes that are not package-aware and usually also not running macOS. for example, Dropbox isn’t running on a Mac server. Also, packages aren’t cross-platform.

See replies below from our CTO @cgrunenberg

1 Like

Oh, Yes; I’ve tried. I’ve been storing ‘dormant’ Scrivener documents in DTP 3 for years.

But I’ve lately had cause to increase my use of - and rely on - Scrivener projects a lot more.

No corruption so far; but that doesn’t mean that if it’s not an approved workflow I might not be storing up trouble for myself in the future :slight_smile: .

That is new information. Carry on. Clearly useful to you.

If “dormant” are you putting the packages (many folders and files) or the zip backups (one file)?

1 Like


Thanks; I’d welcome that, please…

Great. Thanks, Jim; good to know!

:slight_smile: .

@rmschne - No, I’m leaving all Scrivener projects just as they are, saved as packages.

Last question … do you then open the Scrivener projects from within DEVONthink? Double click or “Open with…” and everything works, or just storing the packages?

1 Like

Everything works - or has worked, so far - either method to open :slight_smile:

As these documents are some kind of database packages too as far as I remember, I wouldn’t recommend this if DEVONthink’s databases are synchronized and the Scrivener documents not only edited on one computer. Same reason why DEVONthink databases can’t be located in cloud folders.

1 Like

Thank you, Christian!

The Scrivener projects (file extension ‘.scriv’) are packages.

I don’t synchronize my DTP database. Nor do I expect to do so… I typically clone my boot volume using CCC.

I’d use DTP only to store Scrivener docs in my hierarchy of folders so that they’re… “in the right place”.

Does that really mean I would be OK to import Scrivener projects into DTP, after all; and use, launch and edit them from DTP - and only there, please?

Have you not already said you have done for a long time and you see no problems ?

1 Like

I have, @rmschne, Yes.

But I’ve also been using computers for long enough to know that something (that’s not meant to) can work for a very long time; and then stop working - because it’s not (or even no longer) meant to :slight_smile: .

Only as long as you don’t synchronize your databases or edit the project only on one computer.

1 Like

Thanks again, Christian. No, I don’t do either of those. I use both DTP and Scrivener only on my Mac - and have no plans to change…

But just to be clear, if I may:

does a Scrivener package store essential files, perhaps dependent files, outside its own pkg in such a way that what’s imported into DTP and opened and modified - in Scrivener from there, of course - is actually missing necessary files?

Or can I safely consider DTP with a Scrivener package/project as a carrier, container, storage facility which - provided I don’t expect ever to access Scrivener except from/in/inside DTP - has all it needs?

Sorry to labour the point: I want to be 100% safe :slight_smile:

Thanks in advance…

That’s a question for the Scrivener developers.