How do you use DevonThink to Go?

I have DTTG on my mobile devices but barely use it. I don’t trust it — which is irrational, because I have had no significant problems with it.

Some of my reluctance to use it is that the user interface is different enough from DT on the desktop that I find DTTG a little confusing and intimidating. (Like, why is the default to support documents by kind? Does anybody actually look at their documents that way by default?)

Educate me, fellow DTers. How are you using DTTG? What are some tips and tricks for getting the most from it?

I do plan on revisiting the documentation, the “Taking Charge” book and MacSparky’s class — but I’d love to hear from you too.

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Who is the author of Taking Charge book?

I just started DEVONthink-David Allen, but too early to give any valued thoughts. You asked great questions & look forward to hearing from others

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For my desk, I have a Mac Mini, with Devonthink Pro
For mobile use, I have an iPad with DTTG

Data is fully sync’d between devices via an iCloud sync store

My home page has icons for DTTG, and a shortcut for the the quick creation of notes
Also icons for quick access to favourite entries

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I misspoke — Take Control, not Taking Charge. Link on this page.

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Thanks, Mitch! :wink:

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I primarily use it split-screened with iOS Scrivener for reading papers and taking notes. I’ll sometimes move things around, but I do most heavy duty organizing on the desktop.

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Does anybody actually look at their documents that way by default?)

Yes, all the time.


I’m new to Devon (started using a month ago I think), but I’ve used DTTG since the beginning. I have it installed on my phone and iPad. I’ve not used it for data retrieval yet (I’m still moving things into Devon). On my phone, I use it for quick note-taking. On my iPad, I use it with a split screen like the other commenter here with the paper I’m reading on one side and my markdown doc in DTTG on the other.

I actually play around with a digital pencil for some note-taking, and iPad supports the pencil even in split screen, so I can scribble notes on one side and then highlight and add notes to the paper on the other side. (With the scribble function on iPad it converts your handwritten notes into typed notes and will accept any text entry screen as an input for handwriting, so all of a markdown doc is fair game).


I only really use DEVONthink To Go (on iPad and/or iPhone):

  • Read stuff that I duplicate to my “To Read” folder in my Works in Progress db, or with Reading list.
  • minor editing of “works in progress” documents (markdown or txt)
  • make available copies of any key doc’s I have to carry with me for travelling or whatever

I don’t try to bend DEVONthink To Go to my will. I don’t try to sync everything for the “just in case I need it”. I don’t rely or need sync-ing while “on the go”, but I do it when convenient. I do most of the real stuff, including reading/discover/learning with a real computer using desktop DEVONthink.


I’m with @Mitch_Wagner here. I only use DTTG when clipping mobile Safari items (even then I hate that I can only drop items in the Inbox).

For me, there is just too much friction to use DTTG as a note taker. It takes too many taps, and the interface not very inviting. So I use Apple Notes (and transfer later to DT3) or Notability (where the PDF “backups” are Indexed).

I also don’t use DTTG to search for items in my databases, the way I used to in Evernote. The sync, while getting better, is still too much of a hassle: which groups should I have always downloaded? How should I sync each database: Bonjour (fast but local) and/or CloudKit? Also, the app has to be active for sync to take place - my iPad is always behind as I pick it up relatively less frequently. Instead I gravitate towards DT3 on my laptop always.

Because I seldom use DTTG, I haven’t explored using it to read and markup PDFs etc.

It’ll be great to integrate DTTG into my workflow and I am sure the code poets at Devontech will make it an irresistible proposition one day.


Why do you find sorting documents by kind helpful?

My default view is to sort everything by date modified or date accessed, newest first. Sometimes I do alphabetical order.

I prefer a default sort of date modified, descending
Generally, I’m only interested in the latest notes


I’m not processing news or academic work, etc.
I am processing various and sundry files all the time.

  • Someone has a Markdown issue.
  • Someone else can’t see an OmniOutliner file.
  • Can you import photos into DEVONthink To Go?

etc., etc., and etc. :stuck_out_tongue:


I use the “download on demand” feature so that I can have everything (around 6000 items last time I checked) indexed and searchable in DTTG. It’s synced via my home Synology server’s WebDAV feature, so I can download anything I realize I need via IPv6 mobile connection.

I use it for pretty much everything except to do lists and calendar appointments. The key thing for me is that it’s end to end encrypted, and also encrypted at rest on all my devices. Because of that I am willing to put everything in it — tax records, medical information, personal journal entries, etc.

Lack of trust was the reason I gave up on Evernote — because everything ended up unencrypted on someone else’s server, I never felt I could put everything in it.

So I use it for everything I use the desktop version for. A few examples:

See something that would be a great gift for a specific person? Into DTTG tagged with “gifts” and the person’s name.

At the supermarket and forgot to add an ingredient to the shopping list? Pull up the recipe to check how much we need. (Did that last night.)

Seeing a medical specialist who wants to know exactly what a previous doctor diagnosed and when? Pull up the notes in DTTG.

Not sure how much to expect property taxes to be after refinancing? Pull up the last 2 years of tax returns.

Can’t remember where I put my backup hard drive? I jotted that down, a quick search and there’s the info.

Vehicle registration wants the car’s VIN? What was I vaccinated for in which years? Which Pink Floyd albums do I already have? What was the ID of that cool island in Animal Crossing? What is the longitude and latitude of our house to enter into this GPS? Which tag is the one AppleTV uses for the TV show name? How do I split a FLAC file using a cue file? What size replacement filters does the Shop Vac need? Where was that article about how to tie different kinds of knot? What is my shirt collar size? Who should I contact to rescue injured wild animals? Real examples of things I looked up in DTTG.

Basically, any time I have some information that I think I might want later, it goes into the database, because the risk is practically zero because of the security features, and the cost of entering the info is very low. So DTTG becomes the eidetic memory I wish I had.


Excellent real-world examples! Thanks for sharing :slight_smile:

That’s an interesting use case I hadn’t considered. Are there other people on here using DT/DTTG as a library/inventory/record/CD management system?

I don’t (too much work to keep such inventories up to date!), but certainly possible especially when the “containers” for that data can be inside most any kind of file using any kind of front-end tool (edit, spreadsheet, etc.) and not necessarily DEVONthink’s built-in.

I doubt if I have anything useful to you. My own strategy has led me to use my iPhone a lot less for ‘productivity’. I never had an iPad and probably won’t. I use my phone as a phone, mostly texts now, podcasts and not even for note taking now. Not entertainment exactly as I listen to look of lectures and talks via podcasts and music app; I don’t listen to music now at all really.

I do take photos or screenshots, sort of notes, or ‘that kind of thing’. I found DTTG worked fine but it isn’t part of my workflow now. I do keep a note taking app on my iPhone and never use it and will probably delete that too!
The question really is, ‘do you need it on your phone’?

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Haha! I picked up on that as well :stuck_out_tongue:

I don’t but it’s certainly a possible use case, clearly. It’s also making me think… :thinking: :wink: