Syncing individual files/folders on DT3 with Dropbox


I have a fairly large database (30+GB) which I naturally have absolutely no desire to sync in its entirety. However, I would like to be able to access selected files or folders to then read and annotate when away from my desktop, on a PDF reader etc, without removing the files and to do so via DropBox (all my files are imported, none are indexed). Is there built-in functionality for this in DT3? I note that there is a Sync folder, but was unable to get it to do what I needed. Looking through the forum, I found this thread…

…but this is 5 years old now and wondered if there was a more-straightforward of doing things with DT3.


Databases are always completely synchronized and it’s unlikely that this will ever change. Therefore the best solution is to move items which should be synchronized to a dedicated database. Another possibility might be to download items only on demand to DEVONthink To Go (if that’s what you’re using while on the go).

Thanks for answering so quickly. The problem with the first option is that I would then have two copies of the same PDF, one of which would have annotations and the other not, which is not really what I want. I don’t have DTTG - when you say ‘download items only on demand’ to DTTG, does that mean the same as to sync only certain items, which would then be updated back on the desktop database?

Another alternative might be to not import PDFs that I would want to annotate, but to put them in a separate folder in Dropbox and index that to DTPO, or vice versa, so put those files that I know I will never want to annotate (e.g. photos, or the really big PDFs, consisting of photos of files from archives and merged into PDFs) into a separate folder and index that, with my actual database fully synced. Unfortunately, it’s a little late for that perhaps, and that would be a huge job.

As long as you move the document into a dedicated database, this shouldn’t be an issue.

Optionally DEVONthink To Go loads only the metadata of databases by default and the file contents on demand.

I had a little play with creating a new database and then replicating a PDF from one database to another. The one in the new database was (as you’d expect) then copied into that database, in a different folder to that from which it originated (in the original database). So there were two copies.

As for DTTG, I’m going to look into that. I’d want to know how DTTG can access that DB if it’s not on a shared drive. Would it just be a case of connecting an iPad with DTTG to my desktop and then downloading the files I want, and then uploading the same when I’ve finished with the files?

As for DTTG, I’m going to look into that. I’d want to know how DTTG can access that DB if it’s not on a shared drive. Would it just be a case of connecting an iPad with DTTG to my desktop and then downloading the files I want, and then uploading the same when I’ve finished with the files?

No. You cannot connect DEVONthink To Go to another device and access its resources. Every device imports a local copy of the database, distinct from the other devices. Changes made on each device are bidirectionally synced to other devices syncing the same database(s).

No, I mean I have D3 with my database with all the docs on my desktop, and then an iPad with DTTG which has just the metadata of that database. I then download the files I want to read on my iPad version of that database on DTTG, annotate and then when I sync again, the downloaded files sync with the desktop D3. Is that a reasonable scenario?

Hang on, I think I’ve overlooked something obvious here. I don’t want to place my database on Dropbox etc., but I can just sync over my own Wi-Fi right? If I had DTTG on an iPad, once I got that first big sync out of the way, it would have all my files on it, and then I could do what I liked, with files being synced bidirectionally when they’re on the same Wi-Fi network, no?

Yes, you can use a Bonjour sync between devices on your local network.
See the built-in Help > Documentation > In & Out > Sync > Bonjour about the simple ways to set it up in DEVONthink.

On the mobile device, you’d connect to it in DEVONthink To Go’s Settings > Sync: Edit Locations. You would decide if you want to use Dwonload Files: Always or On Demand here, noting you’d need to be on the same network as the Mac to download contents. After the location is connected in DTTG’s sync locations, touch it and import the databases.

@BLUEFROG @cgrunenberg Sincere thanks for your (as ever) patient help. I’ll try out Bonjour to sync between my desktop and my MBA as a test, and then when I get the iPad, with DTTG.

Thanks again :smile:

You’re very welcome :slight_smile:


Well, I have a lovely new iPad AIR, DTTG purchased (including the Pro Package), but I can’t sync for some reason. I have both my Mac and my iPad on the same Wi-Fi network, both running DTPO and DTTG (latest versions of both as of today), my Mac is set up to be the server, with the Enabling Local Connections box ticked and a password added. I go to DTTG on the iPad, make sure that the Settings > Bonjour > Enable incoming connections is not switched on, and go to Settings > Edit Locations and all I have there are CloudMe, Dropbox, iCloud and WebDav.

What simple step have I missed?

Check these things…

Bonjour can be used to sync between devices, IF :

  1. The devices are on the same network
  2. The network is private or one that allows Bonjour connections or non-standard ports. (Public and corporate WiFi sometimes disallow these.)
  3. Your firewall or an application like Little Snitch is Off or has exceptions added for DEVONthink’s traffic.
  4. Both devices are On and running DEVONthink / DEVONthink To Go 2 (and DTTG2 must be active, regardless of the Sync method) .

Hi Bullfrog, thanks for replying so quickly.

1&2. Devices are on my home network
3. FIREWALL WAS ON! I don’t even remember that being on :blush: . Both are on and running DTPO and DTTG

And it’s working now that the firewall’s off. Sorry to have troubled you :slight_smile:

No worries. It’s why we’re here.