Symbol question

hi! i’m just wondering what this symbol is - it’s on some of my documents, and i’m not sure what it means. there’s a similar one when i use the quote and annotate template, but this one is different. i mean the one on the left, not the comment bubble.

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or DEVONthink 3.6.1 Documentation, page 206

I just came here with the same question. My only documents that have it are a PDF and its annotation file (with the arrow pointing in different directions for each). I get that it’s telling me there is a link, but why is it there when it doesn’t seem to do anything. The PDF already has an asterisks icon for having an annotation file associated with it.

(The iconology section does not list these symbols, at least that I can find.)

Use control-7 to see the incoming and outgoing links in the inspector which is what these symbols refer to.

Thank you, but lots of my documents have links and none of them have this symbol. The annotation file doesn’t show any links at all in the links inspector in fact.

This obviously means some kind of deeper link of the files, but what exactly? And doesn’t the asterisks for annotations already show that link?

DEVONthink 3.6.1 Documentation, page 206

As explained, the icons show incoming or outgoing [edit: item] links. In the case of annotations, if you see the annotation, you will see it has at least an incoming link (namely from the document which you annotated); if you used the annotation template, the annotation will also have an outgoing link (to the document). Again, assuming you used the template, the document itself will have an incoming link from the annotation; otherwise it will only show the outgoing link symbol (to the annotation; interestingly, in this case, the annotation is not shown in the links section, which it a little inconsistent). As such, there is overlap between the asterisk showing the existence of an annotation and the link symbols. Obviously the link symbols work for files which are not annotated too, though.

Sorry, I guess I was looking at an old version of the manual before. I have 3.61, and yes those symbols are listed as incoming and outgoing item links. Which I understand in theory, but out of my hundreds of documents, a lot of them have incoming and outgoing links, and yet only 2 of my documents have these symbols. A PDF and it’s corresponding annotation file.

I am obviously not understanding something. I am still learning how to use DT, so I will sit down with the manual this weekend and try to understand it better. Thanks for the help.

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The manual is terrific. But perhaps first grab a copy of and read “Take Control of DEVONthink 3”, available with compliments of DEVON Technologies at


I suggest you read the Documents > Document Linking section in the manual.

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Actually I think you’re right, I just had another look at one of my databases, and can see incoming links and outgoing links in the link inspector, but no corresponding symbol to indicate their presence in the list view. Many do have the appropriate link symbols but many don’t. Perhaps a bug would have to defer to Bluefrog.

It’s not a bug. I did some reading, specifically the part @BLUEFROG recommended, and it explains it. There are regular links (like the links you find in a document) and then there are item links. These symbols are for item links. It’s more of a direct link between two documents I guess you could describe it as. That’s why the annotation file has the symbol, because it is sort of attached to the original file.

I am not explaining it well. Read the manual about Document Linking. :slight_smile:

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Indeed and you explained it well in my mind :slight_smile:
There is a definite difference between a link and an item link as noted in the documentation.


Hi Blue Frog.

I am pretty sure I understand the difference as per the documentation (thank you by the way). I personally mainly use item links as need links to work on iOS and across databases. However the symbols we are discussing are not consistently present in the list view.

For example, if in widescreen view, and using show as list, I can find quite a few examples where the item link symbol is not there, but the link is shown in the link inspector. These links are item links in the item callback format of x-devonthink-item:// and these links work as expected otherwise. That’s why suggested this may be unexpected behaviour but would of course get your advice on that.

Also. Would it be possible in a future update, to indicate the presence of any type of link, including wiki-links, external URL etc, so basically align with what the link inspector detects rather than a subset of links?