Rearrange files

I store my DT3pro files externally, on an external SDD, in a folder currently containing > 25000 files. When I use Finder to browse these files (while I can do this within DT, sometimes I just want to browse), it can take a long time for a file list to show up, so I have been thinking of rearranging the files by keeping them in the same master folder, but grouping them by date of creation (e.g. pre 2000, 2000 to 2005, 2006- 2010, and so on. If I do that, will that foul up my DT database which is based on the original 25000 file folder, or can DT just find the right file in its subfolder, or would I have to rebuild the database, in which case would I lose any annotations associated with a file.

You could use DEVONthink to rearrange the files to avoid any problems, e.g. by using Tools > Batch Processing…

But I would suggest to test this first.

Thanks for the info. I tried to do this using a smart rule, and it seems to work OK. However, when I use the rule
Date created → is → I am given a series of options like this hour, this day, last quarter, this year, last year, but NOT given an option to put in my own date (e.g. 2019, or 2018, or Between 2015-2020.
Can I do that; if so, how?

Why don’t you follow @cgrunenberg’s suggestion to group the items in a more granular fashion, e.g., per actual creation year, then gather them in broader parent groups, e.g., 2000-2010 ? This is definitely more precise.

Also, that is not a rule. If you reread his comment, it’s Tools > Batch Process.

Be aware: If the batch process generated groups are created in the indexed group, these changes will propagate to the indexed location in the Finder, i.e., the files will be gathered in folders reflecting the structure in DEVONthink.
If you don’t want that to happen, it’s possible to move documents into non-indexed groups in a database if the batch process groups are created outside the indexed group.

  1. I tried that. I created TestDate database with ~100 files of varying creation dates
    Then did Batch as described by cgrunenberg using the same terms so that the item I created was identical to the one shown by cgrunenberg; i.e. Files Creation Date It created a folder called Creation Year with Testdate under it. The files were not in groups by year. They were unchanged. There was no menu spot for conditions (e.g.: if, then) or Perform.
    When I tried to fiddle around with Batch, it was greyed out. So each time I wanted to try something I deleted the database and recreated it, not a big deal because the size was small, but not too efficient either. Obviously I am doing something wrong.
  2. So, I tried my approach as a smart rule. That allowed me to state the database of interest (Testdate), then All of the following are true
    Date Created → is – > This year
    Perform the actions On Demand
    Move → to – Folder 2023 (which I created) and which was inside folder Testdate.
    That worked. The files with creation date 2023 moved into folder 2023. I then did the same for a folder called 2022 and moved the files with creation date 2022 into that folder. I then wanted to go earller, but could not do so.
  3. The Devonthink Manual is not very clear as to what to do here.

I’m guessing you typed in Creation Year, which is incorrect. It’s a placeholder, not something typed as indicated by the blue rectangle around the text.
Control-click > Insert Placeholder


Does not work. I used Insert Placeholder, found the right category Creation (YEAR) but all that happened was that everything in the database was put in a folder 2023 → Testdate–> Filename with all different dates still ungrouped.
What is wrong with using the smartgroups that I tried before, except that I want to be able to put in a year value (or range) for the date. That DOES work, and I get the groups I want, but I cannot go beyond “last year.”