Moving files out of DT - an easy way?

Is there a simple way to move (export) all of the files from a DT group to a different folder on my Mac?

Yes. more than one.

In DEVONthink, select then drag and drop, or use the menu command on File.

What have you tried that was not easy or failed?

Are you referring to imported or indexed documents?


The imported files exist in the internal structure of the database. Your groups don’t exist there.

  • Are you wanting to export files for some non-DEVONthink purpose?
  • Or are you imagining you can move the imported files to other locations on your Mac? (Because you can’t, if that’s the case.)

Here’s the use case.

  • I had a collection of files in a shared drive on my Mac.
  • I moved these files into a group in DT - which is a single logical location expressed via the DT UI, however, various ‘physucal’ locations by virtue of the DT DB storage.
  • I want to remove these files from the DT group and place them into another shared physical drive on my Mac.

The long-winded way of doing this is for each file to ‘Reveal in Finder’, copy the file to the new Mac folder, and then finally delete the DT group.

My hope is that there is a quicker way of reversing a group of files out of DT.

See above for a quicker (and proper) way.

I moved these files into a group in DT

Importing copies the documents into the internal structure of a database.

The long-winded way of doing this is for each file to ‘Reveal in Finder’

You should not be messing about in the internal structure of a database, especially in the fashion you are talking about. There is absolutely no need to go in there.

Select what you want in DEVONthink and drag and drop to copy them into whatever Finder folder you want to us. You could then delete them in DEVONthink and empty the database’s Trash.


So drag and drop to Finder is a copy operation, not a move? That’s useful to know: I sometimes want to email copies of files from my database to other people.

FYI (and I’m pretty sure you know this, but others may not), can use the ubiquitious macOS “share” button to direct copies files into emails and elsewhere.

100% correct. Drag and drop out of DEVONthink is no different than drag and drop into it. Both create copies. The only difference is you can actually force a move in the Finder.

I’m not sure this thread is very clear for newbies, so just to sum up for @CoachKidd and others who may read it:

There is zero need to use Reveal in Finder (pretty much ever unless you know what you’re doing!).

When you’re looking at the file/group in DT that you want to move out of DT, just drag them out the DT window into your intended location. This copies them to your new location. Then (in this scenario) you can delete them from DT. Or keep them in there if you’re just creating a backup or sharing some work or something!

If you’re doing this with a group of groups [a folder full of folders], it will retain the structure that was in DT. E.g. if you want to move four groups [folders of files] to a place outside DT, you can select and drag all four groups [folders] to the new location and the files inside those folders will be in the right place.

Personally, unless my intended location is Finder (in which case I have the relevant window open), I just drag to desktop and then move it from there to the final location. It’s an extra step (DT > desktop > final resting place instead of DT > final resting place) and is just a habit - desktop is always there behind DT so it’s quicker for me. E.g. I might then add the files to an email if that’s what I’m doing.


Thanks for the clarity.

The option and command keys may help. It’s possible to move, not copy, a file to or from Devonthink, isn’t it?

You can Command-drag from the Finder into DEVONthink to move the file. But there is no similar action for dragging out of DEVONthink.

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What I do when I want to “move” stuff out of DEVONthink, I drag and drop 'em to the target location outside of DEVONthink–or use Menu: File → Export → Files and Folders …. then, when I’m sure that the files are correctly copied, I delete the files in DEVONthink. Pretty much the same thing Finder’s algorithm probably does when using Finder to move files. Not complicated.

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One of the things I like about Devonthink - it doesn’t entomb my stuff with any kind of proprietary encapsulation.


Just to be a nitpicker, there is one common case where Reveal in Finder is very handy and I use it quite a bit:

When you have indexed files and you want to operate on that files with other software.

(I am aware the OP said that his files are in the Database, but for completeness I mention the other case here.)