Links between documents?

I’ve been wondering how to link one document (A) to another document (B).

Of course, I could put the UID (x-devonthink-item://) of A somewhere in B. But, this means that I’d have to edit B itself, inserting an unseemly URL.

It would be more desirable to put the UID of A into some meta-field of document B. Furthermore, it would be helpful to not limit how many links can point out of a document. That is, be able to generate multiple links from document A to documents B, C, D, etc.

In this way, I could build relationships between documents, even if they’re stored in different places.

Is this possible, and if not, is this a request that fits into the philosophy and scope of what devonthink is aiming for?

1 Like

There is no document in DEVONthink. There are several. You should be more specific as the ideas, problems, and suggestions may easily be relative to a particular format.

Actually, my point is to seek a solution that is agnostic to format of the file/document.

Suppose, for example, that the document (A) is a PDF file. I’d like to have a link from A to other documents (B, C, etc) without actually inserting the link inside A. That is, I don’t want to modify A itself.

You can put a link in the “document’s” url. This is what it looks like on The iPhone. I don’t know what you could do if you need multiple links. Annotations works like that.

Thanks, @StephenL. I was aware of the URL field, but the limitation is that there is only one field for storing a link.

As your example shows, this field tends to be a useful place to keep a connection to the original source.

However, what to do if I now want to link this document (suppose it’s a Web Archive, or a pdf generated from a web site) to a couple other related documents (oh, say a spreadsheet, a RTF with some notes I’ve written, and a mindmap file)? This problem comes up as I try to draw links and relationships between documents.

Devonthink seems to be a great platform to accomplish this, but a quota of one outgoing link per document is constraining. I understand a million links could be embedded into documents, but that changes the document itself — not desirable, and in some cases, like a read-only file, not doable.

Extending the topic, suppose we had the ability to put in multiple links as metadata associate with a document. What then? How would one traverse and explore these links?

There is presently a link button that, when clicked on, takes you to the single url link associated with the document. But, in this hypothetical version of DevonThink, if you control-click on that icon a menu would pop-up next to the pointer giving you a list of target documents. As you hover over each choice, a small preview icon would show up next to the menu item. Select one, and you jump to it. Hit command-[ and you go back. Command-] go forward.

We can get even more powerful. The drop-down menu shows target links, a divider, and then source links (things that point to this document).

All this would be really amazing. One could build an amazing wiki of documents with this capability.


I’m not sure what the affordances of this arbitrary metadata link approach is over, say, providing a table of contents file in the directory of your curiousity and replicating that ToC anywhere else that’s relevant.

Such a ToC might be more powerful than what you’re suggesting because you can add “metadata” to it and arbitrarily restructure its contents.

I think you just have to adopt the right use of groups and replicants. Simply group the Items you think connected. If you need some of these items in other groups - replicate them. To make it even easier, make groups as tags and just tag what you need. As simple as that. This is a really powerful feature of DTPO, underused by many, who are trying to establish a many-to-many connections in this or that way.
Everything you need is already here, just use it.


I’m confused.
In editable formats, like PDF or webarchive, you already can select text and right-click to Add Link or Link To other items in your databases. This creates active hyperlinks from the selected text.


I would like to continue this topic as I am facing the same scenario @midas had.

I am looking for a way to link documents/files within my DEVONThink database so that I can build associative relations between them.

The closest implementation of this idea is in Jira, where you can link issues between each other with links (and can also specify type of link, such as “related to”, “is clone of”, “is duplicate of” etc.).

This is extremely helpful for organizing content in non-linear manner.

1 Like

Welcome @shmavon

Please check out the Help > Documentation > Documents > Document Linking for information on ways documents can be linked.


Thanks, I guess you mean “Document Linking” section on page 33 of DEVONThink Handbook (there is no “Documentation” in Help menu of my version of the software).

I saw it before, but it doesn’t explain how I can link 2 image files together as related.

I would really appreciate if you could advice on how to achieve this with current functionality.

Help menu > DEVONthink 3 Help > Documentation….

Document linking is meant for text-based documents. You could use tags on the images and filter based on tags to see ones with the same assigned tags.


It would be great to log it as a feature request in case more people will be looking for such functionality. Should I open a ticket for that in Helpdesk?


No. The request has been noted here. Thanks.

1 Like

Just to add a use-case that I run into that would benefit from having links in between files: extract of reading/research notes and quotes.

  1. Have a document/PDF as a source for reading/research
  2. Read the document, highlight and mark notes in the document.
  3. Create a text (markdown/rich) document with all the notes extracted
  4. Add additional information/custom notes into the text document
  5. Create a bi-directional link in between the newly created text document and the original PDF

There might be multiple extracts from the same PDF book/paper: either by topic, project or other relevant grouping.

This would allow one to easily navigate from extract/quote document to it’s source and vice-versa.

Another use case:

  • (Rich) text document linked to a Keynote presentation(s) – talks given from that written work
  • any manual or automated derivative work linked together that might end-up in a different context as the original document

It can be also thought as an information provenance linking – “where this comes from? Where this went into?”

Useful for content creators to track “source of truth”.


That’s what Tools > Summarize Highlights does and…

…the documents will be actually linked (the new one linking to the source, the source showing back links in the Document > Links inspector)

1 Like

Just to add on the examples of such functionality - Zotero’s way of linking documents could be used as an inspiration for MVP.


What is MVP ?

1 Like

I’m shocked! You don’t know MVP? Seems it’s this …

If that’s the case, we’re many years past MVP :slight_smile: