Reorganising a database to have files in Mac filesystem

I have been storing many PDF files inside DT databases but I now think that was a mistake. Why? My data is around 150GB, so is divided into several DT databases, and I would like to be able to search across the whole lot and make better use of DT for organising my data. It is easy to drag the Groups into a Finder Window, and then to index the resulting folders. However, if I do that I lose the DT Labels (I might also have Tags and other informationm but my main concern is with the labels). I have labels on both Groups and individual files, to indicate the degree of processing I have done. Is there any way I can do this? I could go through manually adding labels to the newly created groups and linked files, but a way of doing this automatically would be less likely to lead to error. Is there an easy way?

You’re losing the labels where - in the Finder?

I start with a database in which groups and files located inside DTP databases have labels. What I want to do is to have my files located outside, in the mac file system, but indexed in DTP, and with the indexed files in DTP having the same labels as they had before when they were stored inside.

Does that make sense? I did read someone referring to a “Move to external folder” command in DTP, which would presumably do it if it then creates a link to the external file but I could not find such a command.

You could replace each label by an equivalent tag which will be intact in the Finder, i. e. label “something 1” will be replaced by tag “something 1”.

If you create a Smart Group (search in all databases) for each label, then select all of the items in one of these groups with cmd+a, and add the tag to them that should work without missing any of the items. That is, if the probably really huge number of items isn’t causing problems. It might take a while.

To check if that had worked you could afterwards create another Smart Group that shows only elements with Label = “something 1” and not tag = “something 1”. Ideally this Smart Group will contain no elements.

Admittedly this is not working automatically like you asked for. But since there are only 7 labels at least to me the effort seems manageable.

I just tested it on my smallest database and it works! Thank you. I had not realised that Tags were exported to Finder and then re-imported when you index files and folders.

Glad I could help.

And yes, DEVONthink and DEVONthink To Go use the standard macOS/iOS/iPad OS tags. Which they can because their databases are no proprietary file format but actually a package containing proper files and folders. So technically the tags don’t get ex- or imported, the files simply get moved or copied with their tags.