Switching from Mac to PC

After many years using professorially a Mac (my first Mac was a Macintosh Plus) I am full switching to PC Windows 10. If there is a program that I am going to miss, it is DevonThink.

Can you please, help me to find a “substitute”? if that even exist.
I find few candidates

MS Onenote
Nuance PaperPort Professional v14

I will appreciate any suggestion, tips and especially the experience of former Windows 10 users.

Thanks for your help!

There is no PC alternative

The closest used to be an application called AskSam but the company disappeared a while back

Why are you switching to Windows?

Could you run Windows on Parallels in your Mac and get the best of both worlds?

X1 Search but it’s sub-par compared DT3. Is it the keyboard, the new MBPs and soon other versions have the good keyboards again?

1 Like

Zotero is ok but really is in no way comparable to DEVONthink 3 in my experience. I found Zotero adequate but really very limited even as a bibliographical app and turned to using the LaTeX based Bibdesk which I found just as good and better for LaTeX obviously.

I would stay on Mac just for DEVONthink 3 to be honest now. I know some of us don’t have options like that.

1 Like

You’d better specify which DT functions you are looking for in W10, because I guess there are no any close equivalent of “whole DT” for Windows. But @BLUEFROG or @cgrunenberg may know if there are


I didn’t develop for Windows for almost 20 years now, actually I do not even use it personally. I only have to take care of the gaming computers of my kids. And to be honest - that’s a real pain :smiley: Therefore I’m not aware of really comparable apps.


Why would you like to move to W10? Well, you could try OfficeManager by Krekeler. Nuance is not stable as far as I could gather. On the other hand there will not be a comparison in W10 anyway to DT.

1 Like

You could look at Zoot - I used it for a while a long time ago (before I switched to Mac). It was a pretty good information collection app.


Out of sheer interest and nosey why are you switching? I switched to Mac about ten years ago. My wife uses Windows in her work and frankly it is a lot better than it was. Her software is online and could be accesed via Macs. I am trying to get her to convert.
DEVONthink 3 alone keeps me on Mac now, in fairness maybe Keyboard Maestro too, even Ulysses and other stuff. I was getting a bit concerned during the Butterfly Key period to be honest where Apple did themselves no favors.

1 Like

Windows is still dreadful IMHO.
I have a Toshiba laptop for some support testing and the user experience is as bad as it has always been. (And yes, I’ve spent plenty of professional time on PCs in my life too.)

After working on a Mac, Windows feels like a punishment :slight_smile:


I asked my wife, who is working hard today you can imagine. She agrees with YOU she said. I got her take wrong. ‘Not quite as bad as before’ is really her line and she says that might well be because so much stuff is now in the cloud.
She would like a Mac environment now but the financer of the enterprise is dragging his feet on misguided cost considerations. Very misguided in my view. I found Macs work out cheaper over a period. I will tell her again what you said. It carries weight in my vicinity. :sunglasses:

Definitely. E.g. administrating a Mac is a lot easier and doesn’t require as much time & nerves. Not to mention that cheap Windows machines fail more often. And even if it’s handled by the warranty you lose at least time, in the worst case money too. And good PCs are more or less as expensive as Macs anyway.

1 Like

Not to mention that cheap Windows machines fail more often

Very true. My oldest Mac, which finally gave up a few months ago was a mid-2012 MacBook Pro and my workhorse for years!

My father has had at least three different PC laptops in the same time period because they all suddenly broke down. :roll_eyes:


And, and, and, and and…

Windows is horribly designed from the point of view of basic typing… who on earth thought it would be a good idea to put the OS’s main modifier out in the frozen wastes of the extreme bottom left of the keyboard? Clearly not someone who had ever done any typing in anger…

Yes of course you can swap control with the unnecessary Caps Lock key, but they make it stupidly convoluted to do even that. At least Apple give you an option to rectify the design error from Preferences…

And that’s before you start on the ridiculous antediluvian accent and symbol system… having to type Alt+NumberICanNeverRemember to get basic symbols in 2020 is just a nonsense…


If the focus of your work is academic, then you could try Nota Bene, which has a good integrated note, reference and writing environment. It can now deal with PDFs I think, but it doesn’t do other media types.


I haven’t actually used them yet, but from a search I did some time ago I was considering using a Surface Pro as a data entry device, I found the previously mentioned Zoot, MyInfo and Mybase to be the closest alternatives, in terms of offering both file management and note taking functions. They have some equivalent features to replicants in that you can save items into different collections/folders without duplicating them - a feature I find essential in DT. Mybase also works on Mac, and apparently the upcomming MyInfo version 7 will offer more cross-platform possibilities.

If you can dispense with DT3 wonderful custom metadata fields, Zotero would be a strong contender. It’s open source, cross-platform, offers extensive tagging features, and in my experience it offers a very solid performance. I like that you can add notes to any item and the notes will show as if the item was a group or folder. By pressing the option/alt key, all the collections that have an item are highlighted. It lets you filter entries by easily selecting multiple tags from the tags pane. It has a “related” pane, where you can link related items, and with Zutilo you can have unique URLs of each item for deep linking with other applications. But the metadata is really oriented to reference management, and the fact that you can’t create custom metadata fields is to me a crucial limitation.

Finally, I’ve been recently very interested in iMapping. It’s a very different approach, not really a DT equivalent, but it has the mind mapping and whiteboarding features that I’ve always missed in DT. Since it’s a Java app, it’s cross-platform. I won’t go into its features now, but it is a really well thought piece of software.

I share the preference for Mac’s design that have been pointed out. In addition, I get the impression that software runs more efficiently - with less resources you do more. But there’s a niche I see Windows having a current advantage, and that’s in the Surface Pro devices - full desktop OS on a multi-touch, portable, convertible device with great handwriting possibilities. iPads, now with pencil integration, are great sketching interfaces, but the software is still not on par with the desktop equivalent. You see this with DTG. It does the job for note entry and basic browsing and search, but it’s still far behind in many features of DT3, like custom metadata, filters and advanced search. And something similar happens with other apps.

Having said all this, DT being mac-only is one of the main reasons I’m not using Surface Pros, given that so much of my workflow is now related to DT given how robust it is.


The only thing that make some sense is OneNote but you won’t get all of the functions. The trio OneNote, Outlook and ToDo is actually not bad productivity wise. I myself, prefer the Apple ecosystem…

If you stick to OneNote’s file format you are fine, but it’s a pain to export it out to anything else than PDF.

I use it at work for project planning. For translation research I stick to DT3 as it’s super-flexible to handle whatever files and formats translators left and right have created for glossaries, bibliographies, annotated translations and so on. OneNote would never work.

Indeed, but even on the mac DT can’t replace a true bibliography/reference management software. You can index your PDF library but for citations and so on, nothing beats a dedicated software, especially if you do any kind of scientific research. So again, in that context if you are stuck to PC, OneNote is not a bad solution…

1 Like

No one said DT can replace bibliography/reference management software… or ever tried. Bookends BTW has a very good integration with DT.

1 Like

Yes, I’m interested actually if OneNote supports bibliography references, AFAIK it does not. For an Microsoft office environment it’s excellent as an integral part of the info flowing back and forth. But I would not use it for research jobs

1 Like