Simplified Workflow with Devonthink and Bookends

I’m trying to simplify my life. Instead of using multiple apps and procedures in my research flow, I want to do most of my work in Devonthink (pdf’s and annotation) with Bookends as my reference manager.

I’m using the Import from Bookends script to get references into DT and the annotation feature in DT. I like how those two documents are linked, but I’m missing the link to other attachments, like pdf’s.

What I still need:

  • a simple but good way of importing and renaming Pdf’s to match the reference name of the DT reference file (I love how Bookends rename pdfs under import)
  • a link in the reference file to the pdf and from the pdf to the DT reference file

Off course the most automated way is preferable. I’ve seen how some are indexing PDF’s in the Bookends Attachment folder, but I would like to avoid indexing if possible. Sorry if these questions have been answered on this forum already. Just want to know in my use case scenario what will work best.

Thanks :slight_smile:

If I understand correctly, you will end up with two copies of each PDF, one in the BE attachments folder and one in the DT database. You will have to establish how to keep one in sync with the other. And you ask for a (simple but good) way to rename the PDF copy in DT, thereby giving it a different name than its source copy in BE.

As one who becomes easily tripped up in any process to manage two copies of a file in two separate applications so that they stay exactly the same at all times, I suspect … You may likely find a simple way, but it will likely not be good (i.e. automatic or break-proof). Alternatively, you may likely find a good way (i.e. robust for syncing purposes), but it will likely not be simple.


I was actually not thinking of having any PDF’s in Bookends, just keeping it as a pure reference manager. All notes and PDF’s are handled singularly in Devonthink. This might be a bit counterproductive as it doesn’t utilize the great import PDF features in Bookends. I’m still exploring the options.

Well then, meeting the first part of your second need may not be easy. The link you want to make should reside in a BE reference and should point to a PDF that is stored internally in a DT database structure. By comparison, BE stores PDFs in Finder level folders, and links from Finder-level PDFs to DT content are often as simple as doing drag+drop or using file://… notations.

As to the second need in the second need (making a link from the PDF to the DT reference file), perhaps you mean that you need a (bidirectional) link from the (DT reference + PDF) to the (BE reference).

Returning to your starting point …

I might suggest that this situation is an example where indexing can have distinct advantages over importing.