Should something happen when I "apply smart rule"?

I have tried to apply simple smart (assign document date&amount) rule by dragging documents into it and by “tools->apply rules”
Nothing seems to happen, no feedback of either success or failure and nothing seems to happen to the document.
What I am doing wrong?

What happens if you highlight the document then right click on the smart rule and choose Apply Rule?


When a smart rule does not do anything the first thing you have to do is to distinguish wether a) its actions contain a mistake or b) it is not triggered.

One tends to believe the mistake is located amongst the actions, particularly if there is a sequence of them, maybe even including a script. Because complex = prone to error. But in my experience quite often the smart rule simply does not get triggered.

It is easy to rule out the trigger as the cause for the smart rule not working: Select the smart rule by clicking on it and the second pane lists all items the smart rule can be applied to. If your document is not listed then the rule is not triggered. This could be because you set it to search only in a specific database or a group the item is not in. Or, for example, you set it to perform on import via Sorter but the item did not get into DEVONthink via the Sorter.

If you ticked “Display number of items inside groups” in DEVONthink’s settings (General/Appearance) you don’t even have to click on the smart rule because the number of items it can be applied to is shown right of its name.

If your item on the other hand does appear in the list of the items the smart rule can get applied to you will have to look into the actions.

Should you need further help a screenshot would come handy.

And as you had mentioned feedback: It is quite useful when you are starting with rules to conclude your sequence of actions with a feedback action. When the last action of your smart rule provides a “Bonk!”, displays a message, or makes DEVONthink’s Dock icon bounce at least you know the smart rule was triggered and did process all actions—even if the intended outcome (or any) is not visible. It helps to pinpoint the mistake.

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Are you trying to process un-OCR’d files?

Thanks for suggestions.
After trying everything I finally tried to change the matching rules to “kind, any document” and it started working! I would have guessed that default match would we “everything” but apparently it is “nothing”

If you click on Smart Rule (look inside its folder) and will not see any items in there - it will not apply even if you manually select the item (anywhere in this database) and try to Apply this rule. That’s how it works.

You should always be targeting items and locations specifically to ensure safe and expected operations.