Putting the "think" into DEVONthink

I’ve used TheBrain software for quite a few years now as a thinking tool. While it has the ability to store files and associated metadata both internally and as links, I prefer using DevonThink for that role. What I haven’t been able to figure out in DT is replicating TheBrain’s easy method of linking thoughts, where a “thought” is basically just a text snippet with associated metadata that has links to parent, children, and jump (sibling) thoughts. The visual nature of these links helps me process concepts and ideas in my wet brain, the one in my skull. I’m looking for a way to bring my “think” routine into DEVONthink.

The new interface is visually appealing to me. I can’t exactly say why, but it is less confusing and I now find myself processing information much more quickly and spending less time thinking about how to process. With the incredible tools of AI, custom metadata, wikilinks, “see alsos,” and more at my fingertips, I fear I’m overlooking a simple solution.

I recognize the advice I’m probably going to get will include, “keep doing what I’m doing as long as it is working.” Fair enough, and that may be the best advice, but I’m hopeful that I’m just missing some workflow that will allow me to keep my “thought” snippets in DT3.

For starters, is there a way to create a two-way link? I know I can do that manually, but want it to be a one step process, preferably performed on files listed in search results and not requiring the file to be opened.

I know I can copy and paste item links in DT, but they are one-way and require opening, then modifying the file. For my purposes, they need to be two-way.




The ability to create two-way links in DT would be a killer feature. I have yet to start on DT 3 but … I suspect this option is still better implemented in “mind mapping” apps themselves.


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Have you tried the Annotation feature. It’s pretty cool. Go to the inspector “Annotation and reminders” ^3 is the shortcut. If you click on the Annotations drop down and select “New from Template” then this creates an RTF file with a back link to the original. This is placed in a new folder “Annotations” in the root of the database. I am not sure if this is exactly what you are referring to but seems pretty useful.

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Thanks for the helpful suggestion. I’m creatively playing around with annotations to see what grows. My goal isn’t to recreate exactly what happens in TheBrain, rather, to develop a DEVONthink workflow for brainstorming with the least amount of creative friction. I don’t mind changing my habits to accommodate the way DT works, but I haven’t settled on a workflow, yet.

For instance, searching is almost always a part of discovery, and being reminded of items related to what I’m looking at right now is extremely helpful, but then what? The “see also and classify” function is super helpful, though while I’m looking at the document list DT has found for me, I don’t see a way to create a Table of Contents by selecting specific documents–not in one step, anyway. I can command-click and select a few documents, but I need to drag them into some a group before the Create Table of Contents becomes available. It would be handy if I could quickly turn them into annotations from the “see also and classify” info panel. If there’s a way to this, I’m missing it.

That’s enough for now, still playing around.