How do you organise files in DT

I wanted to know how do you organised your files in Devonthink? I wanted to place all my documents in 1 group (folder called “documents”), then replicate them in specific groups (folders). For example I would have a group for a particular meeting (example 2023-04-20 Hospital Meeting) then replicate the Agenda document, Minutes document, action tracker document. I’d like to make good use of the AI in the future. Is this the right way to go about please?
Thank you.

1 Like

There is no “right” or “wrong” way (other than to no let files collect in the “Inboxes”). If this works for you, then go for it. If not, change it. That’s the power of DEVONthink.

1 Like

I use DT for privat/personal stuff, as well as work. So the highest level of structure is for me a distinction between these two areas. In the figure below is my structure for folder organization (across different locations). With the two top layers using in folder naming at the beginning an acronym, like “PR-” for “personal responsibilities”, things are relatively easy to find … I find :slight_smile:


Thank you. This is very helpful. Much appreciated.

If I have understood correctly, the AI works by looking at the content of the files in the database. As one gradually adds files to different groups, the program will be capable of detecting that, for example, you have a group in which a lot of files have the word “Freud” in the text, but this word does not appear much in the text of files in other groups. So when you import a file which also contains the word “Freud” in the text, the AI will suggest that you place it in the group where you have files with most mentions of “Freud”.

This leads me to assume – though I stand to be corrected – that if you want to exploit the capabilities of the AI, it will be best to group files according to their content.

I’m not sure how replicating documents might affect the ability of the AI to suggest a good place to put a file. The experts would need to comment on that.

Yes, I suppose that’s another way to structure the database, for example I could have a group of topics, i.e., organise the files and content by topics. Thank you. Much appreciated.

See page 132 of the manual for an explanation of “See also and classify”.

1 Like

@BLUEFROG There seems to be an error on page 132 of the user guide. There is a sentence that runs “Obviously, you can choose any other them.” Perhaps “OF them”?

Also, I personally feel that the sentence “This engine is analyzing the contents and locations of all documents in your database” sounds a bit German. It would seem more natural to me to say “This engine analyzes …” But I’m just a former English teacher :wink:

1 Like

I only started reading the manual yesterday, after I’d purchase DT for Mac. Thank you for pointing out the relevant section. Much appreciated.

Personally, I organize using tags instead of groups/folders
I use an applescript to assist with tag assignment
I do some minor grouping if I have a bundle of records
but no general groups means no replication
and I don’t use Devonthink’s organization AI

I use the Favorites section for quick access to selected tags
edit; also Smart Groups

Of course, any tag automatically becomes a “special group”
with automatic record “special replication”

1 Like

Thanks for the heads-up. It’s an error in the sentence.

As a native English speaker, I don’t see any particular Teutonic twang :wink: to the sentence: "This engine is analyzing the contents and locations of all documents in your database”. I read the sentence as showing the AI actively doing something, like “See it working?!”. “This engine analyzes…” feels less exciting IMHO. Difference in writing style, I suppose.


What app was this mindmap made in?


1 Like

Very nice! I didn’t know the app supports different line styles, as I don’t like the thicker styling they usually show in their adverts / screencaps.

Thank you for your reply. Do you find it easy to find documents using that method?

No problem finding documents
Mostly I use the Favorites/SmartGroups entry for quick access
Also, documents are sorted by descending date
so my most recent documents are at the top of the list
And there’s also text search

1 Like

I use tagging & smart groups too.
It allows you to create a very flexible filing structure.
For meetings I add a condition of received in the last xxx days as well as tags to focus on the relevant documents.

1 Like

Could be. Or difference of dialect – mine is SSB (Standard Southern British) which is quite conservative in many respects. In any case, I guess the sentence sounds to me as if there is something missing. Had you written “This engine is constantly analyzing …” or "While you are working this engine is analyzing the contents and locations of all documents in your database” I would not have batted an eyelid. Is the engine analysing/analyzing the files and locations when I am reading a printed copy of the user guide while the computer is switched off? I don’t think so!

However, forgive me: I am reliving some of the debates about usage that we used to have in my old department when we were assessing exam scripts! I am waaay off topic.

No worries. And my dialect is Midwestern US English :smiley:

@DTLow so you use only one “standard” group, is it?
If so, I suppose that you have a huge database: how does DT manage sa so huge group?

I ask before I’m evaluating something similar, but I fear my DT would slow down too much.