Switch from Import to Index

For various reasons, I’d like to switch my existing DevonThink Pro Office instal to use indexing (I have been using import).

I’m unsure how to best go about this. I have several databases (been using DT for many years), and many gigs of data (mostly PDFs, if that matters). Is there an easy/reliable way to do this? Or do I need to do it folder by folder with the File>>Export option?

Thanks, DevonBrains!

Try this:

  1. In the Finder, create a new folder that will contain the document files that are currently stored in your database.

  2. In the DT database, invoke the menubar command, File > Index. Result: a corresponding Indexed group will be created in the database.

  3. Move some existing groups/documents into the new Indexed group. Select them, Control-click and choose the contextual menu option to move them to the external location in the Finder that had been Indexed. Result: the items have been exported to the Finder, then Indexed back to the database. They now display the curved arrow symbol for Indexed items.

Thank much for this. This sort of support makes working with a complex (and powerful) program absolutely worth it.

I’ll have a go at tonight and let you know how it goes.

That went fantastically on my easy database. Is there any way to preserve the folder structure of my next database as I switch it to indexing? I’m guessing not (since they’re really groups, not folders), but I thought I’d ask.

The procedure Bill described works on groups, also. In Finder, create the folder (say, “Top Folder”) that will be the root of your new structure. In DEVONthink index “Top Folder”, and move the groups into “Top Folder”. Control-click “Top Folder” and choose Move to External Folder. The entire structure under “Top Folder” is now exported to the filesystem and indexed in DEVONthink.

There’s a caveat. If inside your database you relocate into “Top Folder” a document or group that is already indexed (i.e., located somewhere in the filesystem other than as a child of “Top Folder”) then that relocated document or group is not going to appear in the filesystem inside “Top Folder”. It will stay where it was some place else in the filesystem. You need to first control-click the indexed document or group and use Move into Database. Then relocate the item in your database. And only then use the Move to External Folder procedure. These extra steps will move the item(s) from where it was in the filesystem, put it into the database, and then put export it to the new location in the filesystem.

Thanks, Korm. I’ll give this a shot.

Always on the ball, Korm, thanks for that.

It might be worth noting, however, that this behavior is not a bug or idiosyncrasy but desired sometimes. After all, DTPO is merely doing exactly what we asked it to.

For example, I have a database with all research-related information at work. In it there is almost exclusively imported stuff but also a single indexed folder, which is monitoring all the pdfs stored inside Sente (a reference managing program for those who haven’t heard about it). When I converted this database from imported to indexed some time ago I proceeded exactly as described by Bill, create a folder in the file system, make DTPO index it and then move everything there from inside DTPO.
There was a reason for not importing but indexing the pdfs (Sente does not take kindly to pdfs being moved in the filesystem plus I did not want the pdfs in duplicate) and this had not changed in the meantime.

The above procedure resulted in an indexed database with the pdf folder remaining where I wanted it, namely still controlled by Sente. Updating the indexed folders every once in a while keeps all the previously indexed pdfs whilst adding the new ones.

Nevertheless, it can’t hurt to point out the facts lest someone be unpleasantly surprised.