Paper-Invoice workflow questions


I’ve been using Devonthink for a while now, but never got around to making my paper-based invoice workflow any better and I think I am missing a lot of potential I have with Devonthink.
I am having a hard time finding good information on how to set this up best, so hopefully you guys can point me in the right direction.

What am I currently doing with paper invoices I receive by snail mail:

  1. Scan the invoice using a Fujitsu Scansnap ix500, stamp the invoice that it is scanned, put it in a box, put the box in an archive once a year
  2. Scansnap Home is configured to pass the new Invoice to Devonthink (Pro 3.0.3), where it arrives in the Inbox with a scanning date/time-stamp, e.g. 2020_01_12_13_05_11
  3. DT is converting “to searchable PDF”, enter metadata is off
  4. I open the invoice once it’s time to pay it using PDF Expert, copy & paste the wire transfer information into my e-banking platform
  5. I use a custom stamp (including a date) in PDF expert to mark the invoice paid, safe & close the invoice
  6. I manually rename the PDF to the invoice date, who the originating company is and what is contained, e.g. “2020-01-02 Microsoft - New Office License.pdf”
  7. I reorder the invoice to an archive database for general invoices (consumer goods) or special databases/groups/folders for special invoices from insurances (separated by insurance type, e.g. car, health, etc.)

This whole process has a few downsides, mostly in the amount of manual work I need to do for renaming the document and sorting it. Since I am already doing this for a while, I now have a big inbox (procrastination problem) with mixed paid and unpaid invoices.
Also, I quite often miss due dates because I am forgetting that I scanned an invoice to DT.

What can I do to make this better without having to enter a lot of manual additional information to DT, e.g. due date, invoice date etc.?

Kind Regards,


mostly in the amount of manual work

To be honest, your list contains less manual steps than it might appear if I read it correctly.

Some suggestions regarding DT:

  • Create a folder “Invoice - to pay” and a folder “Invoice - Archive”
  • Scan to the “Invoice - to pay” folder
  • Create a smart rule and have DT add the suffix “invoice” to the name of those scans
  • Create smart rules for known companies and have DT add the company name automatically based on OCR content
  • Create a smart rule to annotate the invoice with a “Paid INSERT DATE“ stamp based on moving it to the “Invoice - Archive folder”
  • Annotate in DT

Regarding procastination:

  • Read “Getting Things Done”
  • Apply GTD
  • Buy and actually start using a GTD app and/or program
  • Create a habit of paying your invoice the same day it arrives
1 Like

Some ideas:

You can create a stamp in DEVONthink, and add the stamp using a SmartRule

No need to open the invoice outside DEVONthink. You can open it in DEVONthink or use the QuickLook preview to copy the banking information

You can use a SmartRule searching for a document date and add a “suggested name”. Works very well

Can be done manually or by SmartRules (looking for content, for document names and then moving the document to a certain group.


thanks for the input!
Is there a way of seeing the “proposed name” and the “document date” before actually carrying out the renaming?
So far, it seems that DT3’s proposed names are a lot less accurate (and mostly garbage) than what Scan Snap is giving me when I scan to file. I normally use Greyscale, low compression, best quality settings when scanning as a reasonable tradeoff between document size and quality. Should I be using other settings so that DT3 gets better results?

Kind Regards,


From DEVONthink’s Help

Proposed Name: A suggested name derived from a document’s title or from the first line of the document if no title is present.