Import vs index in DTPersonal

I use a mix of imported items and indexed items in DTPersonal as a way of controlling the database size on a slow computer (the promised multiple-database feature got bumped into DTPro instead). I have a collection of about 500 reference files I use constantly in my work, some in MS Office, some in Open Office. I put them in DT by indexing. I use ChronoSync to back up the source files in Dropbox.

I’d like to use DT on a second computer or an iPad when traveling, but I’m not sure how to organize this because I often don’t have an Internet connection when I’m away from home. I’m trying to determine how much my database would be fattened if I imported all these files into DT instead of indexing, but don’t understand the information I’m getting from the DT info panel. When I highlight the folder in DT where he aliases are stored, the DT info panel tells me it occupies exactly the same size as the actual folder in my computer with all the original files in it.

It doesn’t matter if I import a file or index it; DT info tells me both are the same size. In other words, the alias in DT is the same size as the complete file it’s linked to. ??

My computer’s info panel tells me my DT database is 170 MB. The files in question are stored in 2 folders in my computer that, according to the computer’s info panel, occupy 10.7 MB and 24.3 MB, the same figures I get in the DT info panel. But when I check some of the other folders in DT, the info panel tells me they occupy more space than the entire database folder in the computer!

Can somebody explain this to me?

Does anybody have experience using indexed files in DTPersonal that are linked to a source in the cloud?


The info panel in DT is reporting the total size of all the documents in the group, not the size of the documents that are contained in the database. That’s why you are seeing the same numbers in DT and in the Finder.

Also, I highly doubt that indexing the documents gains you any speed when working with your databases-it may even slow it down slightly. DT still searches, etc. the entire database regardless of where the documents are imported or indexed.

Have you tried DEVONthink To Go on the iPad? That’s perhaps your best mobile option, especially if Internet access is iffy.

Yes, the thought occurred to me. But if I import all the files into DT, DT will arrange them in its own way in the database and I’ll lose my present organization. Unless I also keep the originals where they are now, but then things will get complicated whenever I update. If I update a file from within DT, that will affect the file in the database and I’ll have to hunt it down and copy it into the folder where the originals are stored. If I update the original in the Finder, then I’ll have to get that back into DT somehow. By syncing, I suppose. Any thoughts on that?

I haven’t tried it yet. In any case, I don’t think I want my entire database on the iPad, so I’d have to copy the files I want from the computer to the iPad. Right? Via DT on the computer? Copy the originals?

If I make changes in the iPad version, how do I sync them back to the computer, other than via DTTG? Which would put them in DT in the computer.

If you have indexed an entire folder into DEVONthink, select that indexed group in DT, right-click, and select 'Move Into Database". If you have imported individual documents instead of folders, select the documents in DT, right-click, and move into the database. You can select multiple documents at one time and even if some of the selection is already imported in the database, it will not hurt anything to execute the move into database command on them. Does this preserve your present organization?

Sounds complicated with high potential for getting screwed up. I would not recommend it.

You already have a Sync group in your database. You would replicate the documents that you want to sync to this group, and those are the documents that will sync to the iPad. Documents edited on the iPad would have the changes synced back to your Mac.

Thanks for the tips. I guess the next step is to experiment and find out what happens.