One big file?


I’m a newbie here (to both DevonThink and Apple) with the following basic questions:

  1. How do I create different project files? Apparently, I’m missing something here but it would appear that the ‘File’ menu does not allow you to Save/Create new files.

  2. Where are the files stored? (I checked the ‘Documents’ folder but, alas, no DevonThink folder).

  3. Can I attach a link to an Excel file? Each time I drag an Excel file over it refuses to stay.

  4. Most programs I use on the Mac get installed in their own directories within the Application folder. DT (seems to) ‘mount’ – appearing on the left panel within Finder. I’m checking out HogBay and it does the same thing. ???

  5. Is there a DT tutorial or a Flash type demo to showcase (unravel) DT’s features and potential?


Kangaroo, I’m new to DevonThink but not to Apple. DevonThink expands to a disk image “(seems to) mount” So all you have to do is Drag DevonThink to your application folder and your all set.

As for DevonThink specific features. I can’t help you there. I’ve noticed that where the DevonThink database is located but I still have question’s myself. As in

  1. "If I create a rich text file in DevonThink where is the file located in my hard drive?" - is it stored in the database file or what?
    2.Also if I import a document can I delete the original file that I imported from.
    3.And does DevonThink have a files folder that stores the documents that you have stored in your Database.

I just registered DevonThink today and I’m learning how to use it.


Hello kangaroo and pmconaway.  I’ve been using DT long enough to answer a few of your questions:


  1. You can create new content in DT either by clicking the "New Rich Text" icon in the toolbar, or by going to the "Content" menu, choosing "New" and whatever type of content you are going to create.

  2. You can find out where your DT database is by going to the "Tools" menu and selecting "Properties."  The window that pops up will show the path to your database, and allow you to change that location if you want to.

  3. You should be able to link an Excel file by dragging it to any DT window, or to the DT icon in the Dock.  Keep in mind that DT will not display the custom Excel icon, but rather displays a little document icon with a blue "@" symbol on it.  Double clicking it will launch Excel to display the document.  (In this case, the Excel content is NOT in the database, just the link).

  4. pmconaway is right about the icon you’re seeing on the right side of your desktop-- it’s a sort of virtual disk that many Mac applications are distributed on.  You download a .dmg file which opens as the disk image.  As pmconaway said, just drag the DevonTHINK program into your Applications folder (make sure DT is not running when you do this), then you can eject the image from your desktop and store the .dmg file wherever you keep your other installers.


  1. Content you create in DT resides in the DT database.  You can export any content out of DT to individual files, but if you edit them outside of DT, the file in the DT databse does not change (unless you re-import the changed file to DT).

  2. Yes, you can delete orginal files of content imported to DT if you wish, with the exception of files where only a link is created (such as the Excel files mentioned above).  Whether you choose to do this depends on how much you trust the DT database.  Personally, I export all my content to a backup folder once a week, in addition to backing up the DT database itself, but I tend to be a bit paranoid!

  3. See above for how to find your DT databse.  It isn’t a bunch of separate folders, but rather a few big files that are proprietary to DevonTHINK.

Hope this helps you out.  The longer you play with this application, the more I think you’ll like it.  (And no, I don’t
work for them, I’m just a fan of this killer app).  ;)


pmconaway & vesuvio, Thanks for taking the time to respond to my inquiry.

pmconaway, Since DT and HogBay were the first apps I installed which ‘mounted’ I thought, perhaps, I had done something wrong but apparently not.

vesuvio, Item ‘1’ in my post was a bit ambiguous so let me try to restate it. When I asked about ‘creating different project files’, I wasn’t referring to creating new/different content within the ‘open’ DT database, i was asking how one would create a new (different) DT database–that’s why my subject was ‘One big file?’.

My impression is that DT is the proverbial ‘kitchen sink’ into which is poured any/all pertinent files, text or what-have-you. DT acts as a repository and search engine for this data so that you can pull out relevant data.

If I’ve basically ‘got it’ then my question is how many different databases (kitchen sinks) can I have or must everything go into one sink and I’m left using ‘Groups’ to organize disparate projects/files?

If the single <only> kitchen sink model is what’s in play here–that’s fine and, perhaps, best for the kind of service DT is attempting to provide here. Since most  programs use the opposite ‘user model’ (of a multi-file system)–it would have been nice for the folks at DT to make that point.

And speaking of making a point, it would be nice if the DT help system worked and if the user manual was written sufficiently well to answer my and other people’s questions. A software company (especially one that markets a program to make order out of data-chaos) shouldn’t rely on its users to ‘figure things out’ or induce answers–it should be set forth clearly and simply.

Also, I’m finding that (most of the time) when I’m attempting to either attach or manipulate (previously) attached Excel files, the program freezes. My only recourse at that point is to ‘Force’ the application to Quit.  Any ideas? Thanks.


Ah, I understand your Q now.  As I understand it, the multiple database feature you want will be only available in the forthcoming DevonTHINK Standard Edition.  It is not now, nor will it ever be, part of the Personal Edition.  

As for your trouble with Excel, I don’t have an answer.  I just tested it again on my setup and it works aok.  Perhaps a moderator can step in here…?