Replicant without original?

Don’t know if this is my weirdness or DTs, but I just found 12 replicants that per Info had no original. Is this even possible? I did a search on a few of the filenames, and the only thing that turned up was their replicants.

On a wild guess as to what to do, I selected all and duplicated them to the Inbox before deleting the replicants, which corrected things. But how is that even possible – I thought a duplicated replicant would be another replicant, but it wasn’t – it showed up in Info as a duplicate with no replicant. However, the replicant and the duplicate were side by side in my Duplicate Smart Folder.

So, what did I do to make this happen? Or, perhaps I’m missing something about how Replicants work?

Can you explain what you’re seeing?
My understanding of replicants is that there’s no “original”;
just multiple entries pointing to the same record

Not much to add. Had a Smart Folder for replicants. Showed 12.

Didn’t need replicants for those files; didn’t think I would have replicated them. Looked at Info, and it showed one replicant, but not the record it pointed to.

(When you ask for Info on record that has a duplicate, it shows both locations – the one you asked about, and the duplicate. But Info shows only the replicant – not what it points to.

Before I deleted the replicant I wanted to locate the record it pointed to, to make sure it was in the right place.

Did a Find, and nothing turned up – all I had were replicants. In other words, they appeared to be replicants that pointed to nothing.

I know replicants cannot occupy the same location as the original (the record they point to), so this seemed odd and I still didn’t know where the original record was.

So I duplicated each replicant to another location. Those had filenames indicating they were records with neither a duplicate nor a replicant (no icon following the filename).

I erased the replicants and filed the new versions of the record where I wanted them.

Hope this is clear. Feel like I don’t understand this and would rather it doesn’t happen again. Would also like to know how to find a record that a replicant points to.

It’s impossible to have a replicant with only one file, i.e., without an original.

The Instances dropdown shows the locations of all replicants in red groups…


And the Location section shows what the current location is, so know I’m looking at the replicant in the Misc group. Therefore, I can discern the other replicant is in New Group.

As to why it reads “1 replicant”* instead of 2, development would have to comment on, though either could be considered as correct.

I can only help you with the pointing to a record part of your question. Not sure how to link here, but page 216 of the documentation: “a replicant is not a real document pointing to another file (usually the original); rather it is a second entry in the table of contents for the very same document. Consequently, there is no original; when you replicate a document you’ll end up with two replicants.”

If you have a document in Group A, and replicate it to Group B, Group C, it now exists in three groups, none more original than the other. Even if the original in Group A is deleted, the file still exists in Group B and C. The last standing copy will cease to be a replicant, and will be your new original.

If you delete the replicants in Group A and B, the document will now only exists in Group C, the original location is irrelevant.

I think clicking a modifier key while dragging and dropping creates a replicant, perhaps an accidental key press may have created your replicant.

If you are scared, I find moving the file out of Devonthink first, and then clear out all offending copies or replicants or duplicates, then reimporting it to be pretty reliable.

Option-Command drag and drop.

Thanks cheak – your explanation really helped. The DT Manual does say “replicants are conceptually similar to aliases in the Finder”, so I did have it in mind that it was an alias Also in Applying Tags, it refers to the “original” item, which gave me the impression that that was “the real deal” and the replicant worked like an alias. So winding up with what I thought was an alias was very confusing. But for more on that, see my reply to Bluefrog, below.

Knowing I didn’t understand did make me nervous, and I did move a file out of DT and reimport it. But rather than do the two-step, I’d rather waltz right inside DT

Hi Bluefrog. Yes, that sub-panel in Info showing Instances was confusing. Would make more sense to me if it said “2 replicants”

It also confused me when I did a Find and only one filename appeared. I had to open the Instances pane to show the whereabouts of the other. And then I realized the Find query showed the location of the second instance, not the first, i.e., B not A.

Mind began to swim.

I do think of the record where I first created a replicant as the “primary” – i.e., it has more importance than the replicant. (as with an alias). I might think, “it might be useful to have it over here as well”, but when I want to look at that record, I would go to the original. I do understand other users might consider each replicant as having equal significance regardless of location, but I hadn’t been thinking of it that way.

That, actually, is what I would expect. You aren’t creating a duplicate of a replicant, you’re creating a duplicate of the file.

When you create replicants, each one will show the same file in the Finder if you use the Reveal in Finder option, found by right-clicking any document.

Duplicates will Reveal as a different and unique file, and will not track changes in the original.

Also, you can’t replicate across database boundaries and that includes to the global inbox.

Also, when you duplicate a file it only counts as a duplicate as long as both the source and original contain the same content, as per DT’s duplicate detection settings.

The concepts of “source” and “original” really don’t have meaning in DT. Replicants are all peers, and the act of duplicating a file is just a copy operation. DT doesn’t track, as far as I know, what file was originally copied to make a duplicate.

Good morning,
I seem to be having the same issues as DCBerk/ want to get rid of the red coloring which marks entries as "Replicants when they are actually the only replicant thus the original.

Your input led me to a quick-fix for this: Replicants cannot exist in another database. Thus moving the entries to another DB and moving them back (folder by folder) will get rid of the red font coloring.

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Welcome @SpiderSphinx

While unconventional, your method could work.