Scrivener, OmniOutliner and DTPro

I apologize in advance if this question has been addressed before. I did search the forum here and at L&L, but couldn’t find exactly what I wanted to know.

I use Scrivener, OmniOutliner, and Pages for a lot of my writing. I recently upgraded to DT Pro and Scrivener 2. I want these ‘foreign’ files to be accessible through DT, but can’t figure out how to avoid duplicate copies of my files.

When I import .scriv and .oo3 files, since these can’t be edited in DT, am I essentially creating a link to these files? I tried editing a couple documents through the original apps, saving the changes, and see that DT shows them as updated, making me think that DT didn’t actually import the documents but just made links. Is this correct? :question:

When I indexed these same files, the changes did not show up in DT. I don’t understand why, since indexed files are really links, right? I thought so, anyway.

Basic question: What is the difference between importing a ‘foreign’ file (scriv, oo3, pages) and indexing the same? How can I best avoid multiple versions of the same document?

Thank you for your patience with a newbie! :smiley:

For updates in indexed files to show up in DT you need to use the File > Synchronize menu item.

Files that you import to the database get physically imported and saved internally in the database, regardless whether DT can edit them natively or not. Since the database is just a package (as I understand) DT can tell the external/native app to open a file and then receive/save the updated version from that external app. after the editing. That’s why you see the updates straightaway.

Since I’m a newbie myself, take what I’ve told you here with a grain of salt. I hope it helped nonetheless.


Thank you for your quick reply - it makes perfect sense. OmniOutliner does the same thing with files dragged into an outline.

If this is true, I assume that I could delete my originals if they have been imported, but that if I index them, I should keep them in my Documents folder (and not move them). Am I getting this right?

I agree with Kevin explanation and regarding your question:

Yes, that’s how I understand it too. I actually do that myself.


– MJ

Hi, I’m new to DT, the forum (this is my very first post!!!), and to Scrivener. creno, I’m wondering about how you’re using DT and Scrivener and why you are importing the Scrivener files, i.e. do you just want to be able to index/search? or does this provide you with other functionality?


What originally attracted me to DEVONthink some nine years ago, was that for the first time I could pull together the information content of my files that had previously been separated by the ‘Tower of Babel’ of different filetypes that had to be opened under their parent applications.

That’s still true today. DEVONthink provides a much richer environment for managing documents of various filetypes, searching and viewing them, does Finder/Spotlight.

When I’m doing research in my collection of tens of thousands of references and notes, I often use See Also to have it suggest other items that may be related to the document I’m viewing. It’s a great way to look for ideas and/or get around writer’s block.

Thanks so much for your reply, especially since this is now an old thread. Your response raised a question for me–this is based on MJ’s response in your original thread. So if it allows you to “pull together the information content . . . of different filetypes that had to be opened under their parent applications,” does that mean that when you import them into DT, they are converted, such that they no longer link to or create a file association to the original application that created them? Do you keep the original files once you’re imported, i.e. the same data would be now occupying the HD space?

The one task that originally drew me to DT is a bit of an odd one that I would suspect is not a way that most people are using the software, but then again, who knows. I’m a writer, and up until recently my writing lay in the realm of business (business/marketing plans & related material) and PR/marketing/advertising/copywriting. But I’ve always known that I wanted to write something else, something outside the purview of my business work, but until recently, didn’t know what that was. Now I’m playing with several fiction story ideas.

So whenever I read–anything, I jot down interesting words, those that are evocative, extraordinarily descriptive, action-oriented, etc., so that I can refer back to them when I write. I also keep interestingly worded phrases or descriptions, ways of describing things that I wouldn’t necessarily have thought. An example might be something like an author describing how the atmosphere in a forest “feel” a foreboding sense of fear in some way or another. I can’t think of a concrete description of this here, but I’m sure you get the idea. So for this purpose, I’m not searching my own writing, but examples of things that I’ve typed in from other authors–not to plagiarize, but to provide inspiration as a different way of thinking of something as I try to describe something in my own stories. Anne Rice is a good example here as she has an uncanny knack for describing things in some of the most brilliant ways that I heretofore would have never imagined.

Up until recently, I’ve just kept them in a very simple note app called NoteLook. The upgrades have been problematic for many people, causing them to loose data, so I’ve never upgraded it. It also has very limited search capabilities, hence my search for a more appropriate and powerful program. I found DEVONthink in the Srivener forum as many writers there use DT for different processes of the writing cycle for things that Srivener either doesn’t do, or for things that are much better organized and searched for in DT.

I’ve only played with DT for a few days now, but so far, I’ve already imported all my writing notes into it, and added to those lists; created some “catchall” files; created a job search database where I have files for prospective companies/industries, cover letters, job postings, etc. I have not really utilized the powerful search features much at this point, but from everything I’ve read, it seems like DT might be the most ideal product that I could have found for this specific task–my writing examples database.

Based on how you’ve used it, would you agree with this? Any suggestions or ideas that you would recommend?


Every file imported to DEVONthink is intact, retains its file type and extension, is recognized by the filesystem with the same file associations it has in Finder, and is stored unconverted in a subfolder of the DEVONthink database package. Look inside any database package and you’ll see a folder named files.noindex. That folder has numerous subfolders named and organized in a particular manner that has meaning only to DEVONyhink, and your intact files reside in those subfolders. DEVONthink examines the text of your files (if there is text) and keeps information about it in a separate location in a proprietary manner that feeds the AI tools.