Just started, how to?

Hi there,

installed the trial and imported a folder with different subfolders. But, what to do next? I have in the folder business related stuff, like invoices, timesheets, contracts, so mostly scanned docuemnts and stuff like that. As I understood, folders are like groups, right?

So how to build up a proper DB now? Take everything out of the folder and move it to the root, tag the documents and set up smart folder then? For example I have a folder structure like:

Business -> GmbH -> Invoices -> Year (here from 2006 onwards)

I was reading here a lot, but I do not have an idea how to start over now. Should I tag a new invoice withe 4 tags like the folder structure? Or any other ideas?

Any advice?

Many thanks in advance!


Great question. Certainly one of DEVONthink’s strengths is its flexibility. Nonetheless, the classic and most common way to use DEVONthink is to leave data in a group (a.k.a. Folder) structure. Tagging, while functional, is generally a less robust way to organize data in DEVONthink, particularly if you intend on a nested structure.

If you create a good folder structure, not only can you find your data, but DEVONthink will have an easier time classifying new data put in the inbox, which makes it easier for you to move items to the correct group. DEVONthink’s unique strength is being able to find connections across groups using its artificial intelligence feature. This may be less useful with the kind of information you are mention compared with users who enter research or articles into DEVONthink. You may find it useful to purchase and read Take Control of Getting Started with DEVONthink 2nd Ed. by Joe Kissell. He does a very good job explaining the pros and cons of folders versus tags.

Enjoy DEVONthink!

I am just starting to enter my files into DTPO and am reading the forums to pick up tips. I also have read the Take Control book. I am going in a certain direction (tags over folders) and wanted to through out there my thinking, to see if anybody would have any thoughts.

I have decided to go with Tags, and really eschew Folders, for several reasons.

  1. Documents can have multiple tags, but cannot be in multiple groups (without using replicants). I have nothing against replicants, but it seems that if I don’t have to use them, all the better.

  2. I don’t have an enormous amount of data. I am generally a pruner, and I really like having control over what I have and how it is labeled.

  3. I want to have just a few groups (and I have the preference for groups not to be tags turned on) that will hold “processed” documents. By this I mean I can throw something into the inbox and then tag it and then move it into one folder, maybe just called “Processed”.

  4. I did create one secondary db for all my academic papers. Just threw everything in there. It never changes, and is for archiving only.

I want to get a scanner and start using that soon for long documents like my mortgage etc. I may have some miscellaneous stuff that I don’t tag, but want to archive.

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.


Hi, gentlemen.

Just a quick comment since I see that at least two of you are beginners and I don’t recognize the third.

You should know that folders can be tags and tags can be folders. In fact, I’m pretty sure all folders are tags by default. In order for a folder to not be a tag, you must right click on the item and choose “Exclude from tagging”. In order for an item to be a tag and not a folder, it must be filed under the “Tags” group heading.

When you say that your items “cannot be in multiple groups (without using replicants)”, you should know that when you apply multiple tags to an item, you are in fact creating replicants. Applying multiple tags in this manner is no different from filing the item in multiple folders.

The issue of Tags Vs. Folders is an extremely complicated one. It literally took me years to understand it and get it straight in my head. In fact, I’m still learning about it all the time. I would strongly suggest that you search the forums for related posts on this topic.

Tom S.

Your reply is much appreciated. I did not know that applying multiple tags meant that replicants were created.

I have spent a lot of time looking through the forums and picked up quite a bit, but if anyone could point me in the direction of some really good discussions of groups versus tags I would greatly appreciate it.


Sorry for the delay!

I was playing around with “exclude from tags” and so on…

I think I will keep my folder structure as it is, but the good thing is, I can use tags in addition, like for the invoices. They are grouped by year and tags for the clients. I thought, I tag the files only, like the folder structure and set up then intelligent groups, but this will be a lot work… Hm… I will see… :slight_smile:

Hi, Bryan. Here’s one that I recently participated in:

Good luck,
Tom S.