Indexing: Am I going to regret this?

I have previously not used indexing because it seems like I might break something, but I am trying out, which requires me to use folders outside of DevonThink. So I have started indexing documents.

In DevonThink, I devote a group to an individual project. And I’m looking to have a similar structure with Obsidian, and use an individual Finder folder for each project, all descending from a single, primary Obsidian folder, which Obsidian calls a “vault.”

My plan – which I executed on late Friday – is to index the main Obsidian folder, a/ka/ the “vault,” into Devonthink, and then replicate – rather than move – individual documents and folders inside their corresponding groups in DevonThink. The indexed groups and documents would all live inside a single database in DevonThink, which already contain a great many internal groups and documents.

I’m planning to replicate, rather than move, documents and groups inside DevonThink because it seems to me that I can do a better job keeping track of them all. Is that necessary, I wonder? Or can I just move the groups and documents without any problems?

Is there anything that can go wrong with this plan? As I understand it, as long as I keep all my Obsidian documents and folders inside the primary, indexed folder – AKA the “vault” – then DevonThink will faithfully reflect the Obsidian structure, and I can work in either app, as need strikes me, and have any changes, and documents added to Obsidian, reflected faithfully inside DevonThink. Am I mistaken?

First, you need I think to identify exactly what it is that you think indexing will “break”, and then with priority attack the problem to eliminate that specific risk or risks. Eliminating or controlling what you fear will happen will help with next steps.

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Please note that replicating is limited to the same database but is not possible across databases. In addition, instead of indexing the main Obsidian folder and then moving/replicating indexed items I would suggest to just index the desired files/folders to the desired destination in DEVONthink.


Please read the Help > Documentation > In & Out > importing & Indexing section, especially Indexing and the filesystem.

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+1 for @cgrunenberg’s advice – it is what I do with Obsidian. I index different Obsidian folders and/or vaults to different databases.


@Mitch_Wagner I’ve been doing exactly what you plan for several months and it’s been working great. I understand @cgrunenberg’s suggestion but both my DT and OB systems are relatively simple, so I index my entire OB vault into a specific DT database. It’s been working out well. I’m still considering how best to deal with backlinks, though.

There is a hidden advantage which is that this gives me some Obsidian mobile capabilities via DTTG.


Beware that if you move the contents inside an indexed folder from within DEVONthink, the changes will also be reflected outside of DEVONthink, in the live file system.


I would bet an immense sum of money that if you both index files and become a major user of replication, you will regret it big-time because you will accidentally delete something and not realize it until it is too late.


What if I move the contents of an indexed folder from its original group to a group that’s OUTSIDE the original hierarchy? Will that cause changes in the file system?

These things are best explored by testing them yourself :slight_smile: because our opinions know nothing about your beloved data.

Try it with some test data. See what works. Nothing will break that way.

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Did you read the section I referred to you?


I decided Obsidian is not for me. However, this conversation has been useful so thanks to everyone.

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Whoa, my head just exploded. Thank you for pointing out the obvious.

And I’m back to trying out Obsidian.

To get DevonThink working with Obsidian, I have DT set to index my Obsidian folder.

I’m wary of the warnings about replicas, above, so instead I unchecked “exclude groups from tagging” in the database property. I’ve set up a Smart Rule in DT to look for the presence of hashtags in each Obsidian document, and automatically add an appropriate group tag to that document.

Are there potential booby-traps to this approach? Is this, in fact, the same as just replicating the document (with the pitfalls cited above)?

Devonthink does not work as well using “Open With” for Obsidian as it does for other apps because you do not open a specific Obsidian file; you open a set of inter-related files in a Vault.

My suggestion for you would be to use the Hook App given that Hook works currently with Obsidian with a plan by Hook to support it more strongly in the near future Using Hook with Obsidian – Hook .

I would suggest you integrate with Obsidian by pasting Hook links into Devonthink as Bookmarks. You can then double-click on such a bookmark while in Devonthink and Hook will immediately open Obsidian to the desired location within a vault. And you can duplicate, replicate, rename, tag, and delete these bookmarks within Devonthink with no risk whatsoever of losing the Obsidian files themselves.

My primary goal in indexing Obsidian with DevonThink is to take advantage of DevonThink’s search and “See Also” capabilities for Obsidian documents.

Using Hook is a good alternative in some cases. Thanks!

Perhaps you might consider Obsidian for the content you are now writing, Devonthink as your research archive of source materials, and then use x-Devonthink links in Obsidian to reference content that you discuss in your Obsidian notes.

My guess is that the search and “See Also” capabilities of Devonthink are most likely to be useful to you to manage a large set of reference/archival material used as the basis for your current writing. I suspect it is less likely that the smaller set of current notes you are personally authoring will benefit from these Devonthink features.

Of course I may be making incorrect assumptions about the nature of your project. To the extent you may wish to share details of your work, that may be helpful in suggesting the best software tools.


So, I’m doing exactly this. I’ve read the help on the topic (no surprises). I’ve been having trouble late with outside edits, sometimes with other editors. 3.6.1 was creating duplicates all the time. 3.6.2 seems to have fixed that.

3.6.3 seems to take forever to notice changes. iCloud will have replicated them. Other editors will pick it up. I can select Update Indexed Items until my fingers bleed. However, DEVONthink simply doesn’t realize a file has been updated. I’m now looking at a file DEVONthink says was updated 36 minutes ago, but the filesystem timestamp is 13 minutes ago. The content has not updated (I started at 11 words 36 minutes ago and wrote up to 101 words 13 ago).

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Where are these indexed files in the file system? An iCloud sync folder?