New user: Import or Index?

I just bought DEVONthink and am wondering what you seasoned folks find is the better way to go: import or index? Previously to DT, I had organized all my documents and notes in the Document folder. Now I imported them all to DT, so conceivably I could trash the originals in the Documents folder. Which made me wonder if that is a better way to go, or if I should just reference them.

The only thing I wondered about importing, I will always need DT to be working to be able to access them, which means hopefully DT will still be supported years from now! That’s why I wondered how closed/proprietary DT is in terms of file accessibility down the road. Thanks!

There are pros and cons to the Import and Index capture modes, depending on how you want to use your database and – to a certain extent – what types of files you work with.

Remember that Word files, unlike all other file types, are not actually copied into the database in the Import capture mode. Only rich text content will be captured to the database. If you need to edit or print the ‘complete’ Word file it must be left in place externally. In that sense, Index capture of Word files makes sense if you work extensively with them; when the original is edited, there’s one-way synchronization of the text content to the database.

Personally, I use Import captures, as I like my databases to be self-contained for easy movement among computers.

We think DT will be around a long time, too. But you can always recover your data simply by using File > Export > Files & Folders to save everything to the Finder. When version 2.0 is released, all files will actually be stored in the Finder. At present, PDF, postscript, image, QuickTime media and ‘unknown’ file types are actually stored in the Finder, inside the database package. But text-based files such as RTF, HTML, XML and WebArchive are stored in the monolithic ‘body’ of the database rather than as files in the OS X file system.

I personally import everything. Like you, I used to have folders on my system for different types of documents. Now I just use groups in DT.

A major bonus for me is that I use DT on two separate computers, one at home, one at school. By keeping everything in DT, it’s just a matter of copying the DT database to a USB key (which “appears” as one file in the Finder) before leaving for school, and doing the same when I come home at night. I can easily keep everything sync’ed.

Jay P.

Once upon a Word files were also stored inside the “database package”, i.e. in /Library/Application Support/Devon Think/Files. I can’t see any reason why we cannot get that behaviour back, at least as an option.

I tend to index quite a bit, actually. I have on my hard drive a master “Research” folder into which goes anything and everything, including, at the moment, 606MB of journal articles in pdf format. I index that entire research folder. I do quick searches for things, and am loving it.

Can’t wait for DevonAgent-type search in DTPO 2.0.