Newbie: Copy files into database or into database folder

Copy files into database or into database folder or just link?

I know this is extremely complicated to answer briefly, but that is what I want to know. Which of the three choices should a new user set to start with? It seems that this is the first decision one has to make and it is essential to do it right. I have tried to read the manual and this forum and can’t find a clear preference. I know that I want to keep my original files because I am not sure if I will use DTPro, but I want to give it a try but don’t want to start off wrong.
Many thinks.

Yes, there are choices to be made, and there are associated pros and cons.

Portability – ease of movement of the database between computers – can be important (it is to me). A database is most portable when all contents are copied either into the database body or the database files folder.

Copy into the database, or into the database Files folder? This choice is available for PDF and postscript, image and Quicktime files as well as for unknown file types. There are advantages in memory use and package file size that favor copying into the database Files folder; this is my personal choice.

Using external links for the above file types is most economical for database package size, uses less memory than copying files into the database body, but scores low on the ‘portability’ factor.

Thank you, Bill, for the clear explanation. I will choose to copy into the database folder. Do I understand that Word documents (which is the word processor I use) are copied into the database folder since we are not given a choice?

No, I should have mentioned that. exception.

The text of Word documents is captured into the body of the database, but the original .doc Word file remains externally linked (so don’t delete it).

Also: Don’t assume that if you use the Open With action option, the editing changes will be saved to your database. That won’t happen. Instead, use Save As to save edit changes to the Finder, then import the changed file to DT/DT Pro.

Thank you again. A question on the naming of files.
I tend to eliminate spaces between words in a filename. For example, if I would name a file WorkingPoor.doc rather than Working Poor.doc. Does DT need the spaces to recognize the words?

Yes, now that I think about it. If you want to search for the phrase “Working Poor” or, for that matter, perform All Words or Any Word searches, your mashed-word document name will be ignored.

There is some value in having descriptive document names.

In the old days we were limited to short filenames. That limitation doesn’t apply (within reason) to the names of DEVONthink documents.

I tend to use document names like “Precautionary Tools for Reshaping Environmental Policy - The MIT Press”. Comment: In my opinion, that book supports a horribly misguided approach to environmental policy. :slight_smile:


So, DEVONthink will not recognize “WorkingPoor.doc” as having two discrete words; is this also the case when the two words are separated by an underscore as in “Working_Poor.doc?”



“WorkingPoor” is one word, “Working_Poor” are two words.

One way to find out is to experiment, which I just did. :slight_smile:

Yes, DT recognizes the two discrete words.

Thanks, Bill; I’m not yet using DEVONthink (but strongly considering it), so this is helpful info.