Smart rule to open documents automatically but only on one laptop

I have a smart rule that automatically opens up rtf documents added to DEVONthink. It works reliably and saves me having to open them up manually. However, I now have my database synced across two laptops and I find that the document now tends to opens up in both, when in reality I only want it to open on the one that I’m currently using. Is there a way to do this? Many thanks.

Smart Rules don’t get synchronized, afaik.

As usual a screenshot of the rule would be useful, especially the used triggers & conditions are important.

Screenshot attached - thanks. I want to have the smart rule active on both laptops (which it currently is), but I’d like it so that the document only opens on the one that I’m currently active on.

How do you determine on which machine you’re “active”?

This smart rule actually shouldn’t be triggered by the synchronization and therefore should only open the document(s) on the machine that imports/moves the files. Do you use imported or indexed items?

All of the files in the database are indexed and synced via OneDrive via the two computers. My DEVONthink database (but not the files) is then synced via iCloud (CloudKit).

What will happen is that I’ll create the file while I’m on my work MacBook. The rule will run and the file opens up. But then when I go home and open up my home MacBook, the document will open there too.

This means that OneDrive synchronizes the files to the second computer and DEVONthink automatically adds the indexed files (assuming they’re located in indexed folders) and triggers the smart rule (independent of DEVONthink’s own synchronization).

Are both computers running all the time?

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Yes that makes sense. I rarely shut down either laptop. When I’m not using one of them, it is typically closed and unplugged so presumably in sleep mode. So they are often both running in that sense, but virtually never being used at the same time.

It’s not a massive issue – I can obviously navigate to and open the document manually. It’s just that I tend to create the documents using a Keyboard Maestro macro which saves them into a different folder each time, so finding the document and opening adds a bit of friction.

suggest you consider a slight change in how you use DEVONthink. instead of hunting and navigating the group structure (which I guess for you is deep), use the “Recently Modified” smart rule and probably the document you want is at the top (regardless of what Group it is in). much simpler than all this complex stuff you are asking for help about.

I’m confused.
If this is a problem, why not disable or uninstall the smart rule on the home MacBook?


Apologies, I should have explained that I use the home and work MacBooks for work only. I create the same rtf files at work and at home. When I’m at work and I create them I want them to open up on my work MacBook, but not have them open up on my home MacBook. When I’m on my home MacBook I want the rtf files to open up on that MacBook, but not the work one. So I can’t disable it fully on either laptop, but if there were a way to only run it on the one that is ‘active’ that would be perfect.

I know it’s not a major problem, but when I change location and start work on the other MacBook, my screen will often be filled with notes, which is just as frustrating as having to navigate to where I’ve created the document.

No problem!

  • What is your KM macro?
    • And why are you using a KM macro to create a new document when that’s already possible in DEVONthink?
  • Are you running the Pro edition of DEVONthink?

I am running the Pro edition, yes. Here’s a screenshot of the Macro.

I create the documents using a KM macro because it was the only way I knew how to (a) choose from a list of all the cases that I work on (which is stored in a KM variable); (b) shows me a palette of four different document types to choose from, which is then stored as a variable; then (c) creates the note with the relevant information inserted in a document template (case name, note type, time and date etc). It then saves the document to a folder on my desktop, which imports it to DEVONthink using a Folder Action script.

Having written that down, it does seem overly complicated(!) but until I got my second computer it worked perfectly and enabled me to create the documents I needed within a couple of seconds.

If there is a quicker way of doing it all (or more of it) in DEVONthink then that would be wonderful.

Hold the Option key and choose Help > Report bug to start a support ticket. We can discuss this off to the side.

Thank you. I’ve held down the Option key and clicked Help > Report bug. This opens up a new email message in Outlook, but the email address field is blank. Not sure if this is a bug… Anyway, I have sent it to

Thanks. I’ll look for your ticket.