How does a Group's Aliase work with Tags

The manual near the very end says that if you apply an aliase to a group and then tag a note with that aliase it will move or be replicated to the group. I don’t find this is happening. Has anyone tried this and how does it work.


It does work, assuming that that the group has tagging enabled for that group or if the group is a tag group. For the most part, I don’t have tagging turned on for any regular groups, but I use this feature a lot for tag groups where I might misspell a tag name, or forget the tag’s naming convention, etc.

This is where I have a lot of trouble with Devonthink. I just don’t understand what is supposed to happen here. It sounds like if I have an aliase in a Group DNotes and that if something comes into Devonthink and i tag it DNotes it should move from the inbox to that group. Is that right.

First of all, just to be clear, we are talking about adding an alias via the info panel of a document or group. Some people view replicants as aliases, so I want to clarify that we are not speaking of replicants.

If you have a group named DNotes and tagging is enabled for that group, then you don’t need an alias assigned to the group. Tagging the document in the Inbox with the tag ‘DNotes’ will create a replicant of that document in the DNotes Group. You can then delete the instance of the document that remains in the Inbox.

Now let’s also say that sometimes when entering this tag name, you instead type ‘D Notes’, or ‘Dnotes’, or ‘dnotes’, or ‘DNote’, etc. You could add these aliases to the info panel of the group ‘DNotes’, and any time you mis-type the tag name, it will be changed to ‘DNotes’ and the document will be replicated in the ‘DNote’ Group.

This also applies to regular tags-enter any aliases into the Info panel, and anytime you type an alias tag by mistake, it will be converted to the desired tag name. Here’s an example, using the tag ‘pieApple’ and some variations (aliases) that might be entered by mistake. Add any of the aliases to a document, and they will be automatically converted to the tag ‘pieApple’

The main difference between applying this to regular tags and groups with tagging enabled is that regular tags are not replicated anywhere else, other than in the regular group. If you delete the document from the Inbox with a regular tag attached, then the document is deleted from the Inbox and from the regular tag group.

Yes, sorry, we’re not talking replicants. The groups name is Daily Notes and I put in there an aliase Dnotes. I don’t know how one knows if the group is enabled for tagging other than there is a field to enter a tag.

No matter what i seem to enter though of the above, it tags the note but remains in the inbox. I can’t figure this out for the life of me.

Yup, I knew that you were not talking replicants, but I suspect that perhaps not all lurkers would know that.

Thanks for posting the screen shot. It’s not working for you because you have group tags turned off for the database. You can see this because the option to exclude from tagging is dimmed, meaning that globally group tags have been turned off. You can enable group tags by going into File>Database Properties…>your database and uncheck ‘Exclude Groups From Tagging’. After that, all new groups will have group tags enabled and you can turn groups on/off on an individual basis via the Info panel.

Play with this setting to make sure that the results are what you expect. One of the more challenging things about group tags is that you can have more than one group in the database with the same name. If you have two groups with the name ‘DNotes’ and group tags enabled for both, you’ll get unpredictable results when tagging documents. The document will be tagged and replicated to one of the two, but not both. Note that the aliases for regular tag groups will work regardless of the setting for group tagging, so the ‘pieApple’ example I used earlier will work regardless. Good luck with it!

Thanks. That worked.

Now it changes everything dramatically. What do you prefer. Having the database exclude tagging or not and just do it yourself manually or have the database helping you do it.

I again noticed another thing which I’m not sure what to think of. In the tag bar, in grey, there are the folders that lead to the file. In that bar, sometimes i have tagged the file with the same name as a folder (e.g. Computer) and thus there is a blue instance of Computer and a grey instance. In the tags viewer, clicking these brings up similar but different results as I have tagged files outside of this hierarchy as Computer and they are blue.

What’s the best approach here would you say.
Tags bar with Exclude……tags turned off.tiff (12.3 KB)

For the most part, I exclude my databases from tagging, mostly because of naming conventions, but also for duplication concerns. My group names often contain multiple words with a mix of case, where my tags are always one word with upper/lower case that mimics variable naming. If I had a group named ‘Apple Software Manuals’, then that doesn’t work for me as a tag name. I would rather create a tag named ‘manualsSoftwareApple’ and attach to the group, or more likely still is that I would create tags ‘apple’, ‘software’, and ‘manuals’, and attach all three tags to the group via the Info panel for the group.

The duplication concern is due to the unknown of what happens when more than one group tag has the same name. I use some standard templates for a group structure for projects (as example, look at the ‘Data>New from Template>Project Management>MyProject’) and I’ve found that having all these sub-groups from one project to the next that share the same group tag name just doesn’t work well. If I tag a document with one of these tags, I never know which project group the document will appear in.

Now you can use both approaches in the same database, and turn off group tags on groups as you create them for those groups where a group tag is not wanted. As an example, I have a household ‘Receipts’ group in my personal database where I dump all the paperless receipts for my household. It is very easy for me to tag these documents when capturing them with this tag and having them filed automatically.

Exactly why I am, for the most part, against using group tags. You would be better off turning off tagging for the group (disable the grey tag) and attaching the blue ‘Software’ tag to the group. You will not get the auto-classification that you get when using a group tag, but otherwise it is dependable, predictable, and easy.

I’m starting to get onto DEVONthink now. I’m filing things more logically and I’ve discovered cools ways to find my stuff. i must admit though I’m still lost over the purpose of aliases and how things move into a group automatically (except smart serches) and get tagged. The one other thing is don’t know if you can have your whole DB (groups) in blue and one in yellow. I don’t think so but …?

Perhaps this is an over simplification, but the purpose of aliases is to consolidate and standardize the usage of tags. This can be from external tags added by another source, or from inconsistent application by the user. I’ve discussed the inconsistent application by the user previously-this is where you may have inadvertently created multiple tag names for the same tag (Manuals, Manual, manuals, manual). If you want to standardize on one usage then add all the remaining variations to the tag as an alias. Then if you add the tag Manuals to a document that you want to be standardized as manual, DEVONthink will change the tag from Manuals to manual.

For external tags from another source, consider RSS feeds where the user has selected the preference to ‘Convert categories to tags’. Now all the categories for feeds will be added as tags, but perhaps I don’t want all these categories added as individual tags. Using food again as an example, let’s say that you have subscribed to cooking RSS feeds that may have categories of ‘Apple’, ‘Blueberry’, ‘Cherry’, and on and on. You don’t want all these individual tags in the database, but it would be helpful to have a tag of ‘fruit’. Create a ‘fruit’ tag, assign ‘Apple’, ‘Blueberry’, ‘Cherry’, etc. to the fruit tag, and then every article that comes in with one of the specific fruit categories will be assigned the generic tag of ‘fruit’.

On the topic of using aliases as a means of moving documents into a group automatically, I believe you can see from everything that I have discussed that this really is not the purpose of aliases. While technically aliases will create/assign tags that replicate documents to group tags or regular tags, that’s not the same as classification. You need to look to DEVONthink’s specific classification tools to automate moving documents to groups.

You can enable tags for the database, then turn group tags on/off on an individual basis via the Info panel. All new groups will have tagging enabled by default.

Thanks very much. It worked just as you said with tags and aliases in them. Somehow, the manual, very near the end, got me thinking of this as having something to do with groups and automatically moving the document. It seemed strange and now you’ve straightened it out for me. I’m really starting to get it now LOL!

I want to ask one more question. I state:

The one other thing is don’t know if you can have your whole DB (groups) in blue and one in yellow. I don’t think so but …?

and you then go on to describe how it can be done. Can you tell me why anyone would want to do this?

I expect it would be a rather uncommon use case-most people will pick one strategy or the other and stick with that workflow. I do it with one of my databases with the receipts example I gave earlier. This is a ‘mature’ database in that for the most part I am only adding new content and culling out old content, but the group and tag structure is mostly static.

Now you can use both approaches in the same database, and turn off group tags on groups as you create them for those groups where a group tag is not wanted. As an example, I have a household ‘Receipts’ group in my personal database where I dump all the paperless receipts for my household. It is very easy for me to tag these documents when capturing them with this tag and having them filed automatically.

Again thanks. That makes sense. I think, for me, I’ll just keep the whole DB in blue and add my tags that I think make sense. This is how I’ve worked for years so I think it will work best for me. Now, I just have to control myself from going tag crazy :slight_smile: