Is there a Service for OCR?

Currently, if I get an unsearchable .pdf, I send it to DT’s Inbox, use the Data/OCR to Searchable PDF command to convert it, then drag it back to my desktop, and then delete the copy in DT’s Inbox.

I’m looking for a more efficient way to do this with fewer steps. So my first question is: Is there a Service I haven’t yet found that lets me right-click on a .pdf on my Desktop and have DT do the OCR right there?

If not, I’d like to add that as a feature request.

Or is there some other way to do this?

Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

Why are you trying to use OCR on files outside DEVONthink?

Because I don’t store everything in DEVONthink, and I want Spotlight to be able to find them wherever they are.

If you have enabled Create Spotlight Index in File > Database Properties for a database, you should be able to search for files in DEVONthink via Spotlight.


  1. Create a watched folder on your desktop (provided you’re not syncing the desktop with iCloud).

  2. Index the folder into the Global Inbox.

  3. Select the indexed group in the Navigate sidebar, click the plus (+) button at the bottom of the sidebar, and choose New Smart Rule.

  4. Create it as shown. Make sure it’s only targeting the indexed group.

    Remember, you can hold the Option key to create sub-criteria.

  5. Drop an image or PDF needing OCR into the watched folder on your desktop. DEVONthink should process the file and leave the PDF behind. You can then move the file to some other location as needed.


Got it. Thanks.

You’re welcome.

Is iCloud desktop sync still a limitation? I’d like to set this up, but am hesitant to turn off sync.

What is “iCloud desktop sync” and what are the limitations that you are referring to? Does your question have anything to do with OCR Services (where you posted)?

DEVONthink provides two third party sync locations with Apple called iCloud (Legacy) and CloudKit. Apple CloudKit is newer. Check in the DEVONthink Handbook (and Help) for details on how to setup

Thanks for asking. Above BLUEFROG implied this watched folder shouldn’t be done on a Mac that is syncing it’s desktop to iCloud Drive.

The admonition was to avoid data going to Apple’s servers unnecessarily. You can just put the watched folder in your home directory to avoid this.