Migration to DevonThink


at the moment, I use on my Windows PC ScanManager (software delivered with SnapScan) to organize my document.

Two databases are set: a private one with all family files, invoices, descriptions etc., and a second one for my business, with data about customers, invoices, marketing activites and so on. Both databases are stored on a Qnap 419 and are accessible through Gigabyte - LAN from all computers in our home (five). For each database, a separate Samba Share is created on the Qnap in order to restrict access rights.

All documents are stored in hierarchical file structures, i.e:
=> Bank
=> => Account 1
=> => Account 2
=> Insurance
=> => Insurance 1
=> => Insurance 2

Big advantage of SnapScan is the simply store in regular files, so I may access the data even without SnapScan installed.

Now, I do think about switch to DevonThink, as it seems to have much more potential and plenty of other helpful tools, but, some questions are still open.

  1. As far as I understand, DevonThink does not store all documents in regular file structure, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, I use not only Mac in my environment, but Windows and Linux (Debian+Ubuntu) as well. Is there a way to access documents from those computers? I would not like the need to start my Mac only to check a invoice I am currently talking to customer about on my Linux work horse.

  2. Is it possible to store all data on a network based NAS? My Qnap 419 provide Samba Shares that are currently also access by my Mac. I’d like to stay on the Qnap due to already introduced backup concept here.

  3. Is there are way to import the structure and content already available? Both databases are now close to 10 GB each, I would not like to import all files manually. Until now, I do not use any tags, my entire database is based on hierarchical file structure only.

  4. I use the following name schema for each file: YYYY-MM-DD_Company_ShortTitle, i.e. 2014-01-12_Amazon_InvoicePrinter. I’ll like to stick to this schema, as it helps me to find documents based on hierarchical structure. Is it possible to stick to it with DevonThink, too?

Thanks for your help!


As you wish to maintain the files in a way that allows sharing with others, including Windows computers, you should consider Index capture to DEVONthink, which leaves the files in their external location, indexes their text content and creates metadata about the files. Note that if the external files are not available, you will not be able to view, print or edit them.

If your access to those files by your Mac is working reliably, it should work it they are Index-captured by DEVONthink. The hierarchical organization and filenames should be maintained in DEVONthink. I suggest you download a copy of DEVONthink Pro or DEVONthink Pro Office and experiment.

I don’t have information about the amount of RAM (especially free RAM) available on your Mac. The most important measure of database size is the total number of words contained in the captured documents. If free RAM is used up, your Mac will move to use of Virtual Memory swap files, swapping data back and forth between RAM and disk, and this will result in slowdowns. If so, you can consider capturing the external data into more than one database, so that you can open and close databases to help keep free RAM available.

DEVONthink will offer a rich environment for searching and editing (edit changes will be made to the external files) the data, including smart groups, and depending on the data content you may find See Also useful. Of course, DEVONthink also provides that environment for other data you may wish to add, including captures from the Web, for example.