Newbie Question Re: Importing Versus Indexing

Pardon the Newbie question, but I want to make sure I understand the two different options for importing existing files: import and index.

Are there any advantages to importing my filess versus indexing them?

Does the sycn function work with imported and indexed files?

As I understand, once I import or index, if I make a change in the document inside DevonThink, that change won’t be reflected when I sync. However, if I make a change to the original, then it will be reflected in DevonThink when I sync. Is this correct?

Tony Stinson

Imported contents are editable and stored in the database package, indexed contents are just referenced and not editable.

Yes, but it’s a unidirectionial synchronization (filesystem to DEVONthink, not vice versa) and therefore indexing is recommended if you’re going to use the synchronization quite often and don’t edit your contents in DEVONthink (or if the contents are not editable like images, PDF documents or unknown file types).

Thanks for the helpful reply.

One last question; If I create a document inside DevonTHINK, then the sync function does not apply, correct?

That’s correct.

Just to follow up…If I drag a file or folder to Devonthink, I should edit it only from within Devonthink from then on in order not to end up with duplicate files.

I’m moving to a new Mac and am trying to determine the best way to migrate without migrating duplicates or leftovers.

Drag & Drop to DEVONthink is like importing, Command-Option-Drag & Drop is like indexing.

Sorry, I guess I’m not being clear…

I have the original set of documents I’ve created in Devonthink by importing. I also have those that have been since created within Devonthink. My problem is I don’t understand where are they specifically, or the easiest way to replicate what I have on the old computer to the new one (I’d like to avoid duplication).

The bottom line is that I no longer understand the relationship between the documents I’ve created within Devonthink, the ones I’ve imported and since edited, those originals from which the current files were imported, and how to get just one copy of all of them into the re-installed Devonthink on the new Mac (or if this is documented anywhere).

Thanks so much for your help.

Imported files (or files created within DEVONthink) don’t require external files (“originals”) - the imported/created files are stored in the database package/folder.

To copy the database to a new computer, just copy the .dtBase packages if you’re using DT Pro or the folder ~/Library/Application Support/DEVONthink if you’re using DT Personal.

So, just to make sure I understand, I can ditch the imported files if I’m now maintaining them within DEVONthink?

Yes. There’s only major exception - Word documents. As DEVONthink is of course no replacement for Word, don’t delete the original Word documents.

Two reminders:

[1] Don’t confuse Imported with Indexed files. If you have used the Index mode to capture information, do not delete the external files.

[2] Relatively frequent external backups are highly recommended. Who knows? Your hard drive might die, a power outage might result in data loss or disk directory corruption or someone might steal your notebook computer.

If you index a file into DEVONthink, and then move the original file to a different folder, what happens? Does DEVONthink track where the original file has been moved or do you have to change the path of the original in DEVONthink?

Tony Stinson

Hi, Tony. The best way to answer that is by experiment. Index a file, then move it to a different folder. What happened? What would happen if you moved the file to a different partition or to an external drive?

By the way, if you keep all your externally linked files in your Documents folder along with your database package, then use Migration Assistant to move over to a new computer, your Home directory will be moved over and the Paths should work. But if your files are scattered all around your disk (especially among different partitions), expect link problems in such a move.

Pardon a newbie that is a little confused . . .

OK, if I index a file and then move the file from its original location, when I perform a sync, then the file disappers.

If you move files a good bit, which I do, then Indexing doesn’t seem a good option.

Yet, for Word Docs, that is the only option, correct?

So, for a Word Doc, if I move the file from its original location, then I have to reimport that file, correct?

So, whether you use indexing or importing, it seems that you have to be very conscious of moving original files.

Also, I tried to import/index Pages docs, but that doesn’t work, correct?

Pages documents aren’t supported (it’s a proprietary format and contrary to Word documents, Mac OS X doesn’t support it)

Understand that DEVONthink doesn’t support Pages docs.

A bit confused about your comment that they are not supported by OSX. Pages is the Word Processor that ships on every new Mac . . .

Tony Stinson

Sure, but nonetheless Cocoa/Mac OS X does not support Pages documents.

To clarify: Pages ships as a demonstration application on every new Mac. And the documentation format is not supported in the sense that no other application from Apple can open the files from Pages. Once TextEdit can open a Pages document, DEVONthink can edit it as well.

Here is my approach to using Doc files - seems to work okay for me. I take the Word file and drop it into the Files directory within the DTP package. From there, I drag it into DTP. The file is in a place when I know I can find it (which is why I’m not big on indexing) and it’s also available in DTP.

Only downer is that I have to go to that Files directory whenever I want to edit with Microsoft Word.