Tags Mirrored to Finder?

This is possibly a stupid question from a DEVONthink newbie, but I’m finding that tags created inside DEVONthink are propagated to the Finder – so if I create a “foo” tag and attach it to a document inside the software, it’ll appear in the Finder as well.

Is there any way to turn off this behavior, and keep DEVONthink’s tags inside DEVONthink?

Welcome @BitterMisanthrope

This behavior only occurs with indexed files or when exporting files to the Finder.
There is a hidden preference that disallows all Finder tagging, importing and exporting.

Help > Documentation > Appendix > Hidden Preferences and click the On link for DisableFinderTags.

Hi @BLUEFROG. Thanks for the welcome and the reply.

Unfortunately the behavior you describe is not what I’m seeing. Tags that I merely create inside DEVONthink, without even assigning them to a document at all, as well as tags that are attached to documents that live entirely inside DEVONthink (i.e. documents that are neither indexed nor exported; stuff that I’ve created inside DEVONthink or added via share sheets or web clippers), are all getting propagated to the Finder.

I’ll try that hidden preference, though. Any thoughts what might be going on?

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I have this problem, too. After upgrading to DEVONThink 3 Pro, I have found hundreds of tags, that I only meant to have in DT (and also meant to clean up), have been propagated to the Finder which is making it harder to select the correct tag there. It DT3 is going to propagate all existing tags to the Finder, then there should be a popup notification that this is about to occur.


yep, I’ve noticed this behaviour


Going by the tags that have been created, some 1231, I was running all my databases with Exclude Groups from Tagging turned off. I’ve now disables that feature and am creating tags manually. I’m wondering if that will make a difference.

… And I’ve just discovered, as I don’t use Finder tags, I can’t delete them from the Finder Pretences and I don’t think that secret disabling preference worked for me as I got no feedback from choosing the link option and the terminal code just gave me an error.

Correction sorted after a restart.

This appears to be a bug.

  • New database
  • Added a new Tag, and it has not appeared in the Finder.
  • Create a file in the database - non-indexed.
  • Add the Tag to the file. The tag now appears in the Finder.

@cgrunenberg will have to investigate this.

I had this problem.

Now imagine this coupled with a dozen very long CSS files with many hex codes for colors that were mistakenly converted to tags (hash tags to tags was checked at the time)… At least a couple hundred tags showed up in Finder. :confounded:

This was when I found out how horribly Finder handles tags. (You have to delete them one at a time!!) Luckily, I manage to erase them using Leap, since just deleting them in DT3 wasn’t making them go away.

Apparently, I forgot to report this. I just learned how to avoid it and left it there.

How did you delete them in Leap?

You can do a multi-delete from Finder Prefs and select a range to delete. I accidentally deleted the default ones too on second attempt, so just went Command-A the third time.

It was easy. I think both Leap and Yep can do it.

They’re both somewhat old, but they’re still both usable and useful.

Thanks for the tip. The problem with this approach is that you would need all the tags to appear in that window, but they don’t. Most of them will appear only when you select all tags in Finder

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Not sure if this is pertinent or a separate issue, but when I select tags in the finder that are linked to DT3, they are attached to files in ~/Library/Metadata/com.devon-technologies.think3. And clicking on a tag in the sidebar shows document titles…not a good thing for encrypted databases (actually, databases on a .sparseimage). Visible even when DT3 is closed and the drive unmounted. Items won’t open but just having the titles accessible unencrypted is a problem (account numbers, medical information, etc).

DEVONthink exports only the tags of files/folders, it does not change the Finder’s list of tags directly. Therefore this works as expected.

My recollection is that it used to be that DEVONthink didn’t write the tag info to the Finder until a document with a new tag was either exported directly out of the database or exported to an indexed folder. Did I not remember how it worked, or is this something new, that the tag is now created in the Finder even though the document is contained in a database?

Is this also as expected?

In case of encrypted databases (.dtSparse2) there’s actually a warning in File > Database Properties… that the Spotlight index (~/~/Library/Metadata/com.devon-technologies.think3) is not encrypted. Therefore I would suggest to disable this.

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This is still the same. But the Spotlight index supports now tags too contrary to version 2 and if it’s enabled, then the tag might immediately appear in the Finder in case of internal files too.

Thank you. I did not realize that the metadata file was from spotlight. To be clear, you mean disabling spotlight for the database files will prevent any metadata appearing outside the encrypted image(s), correct? Is there any other reason not to delete the metadata file noted above after stopping spotlight indexing?

These files are only used for the Spotlight index, internally DEVONthink does not require them at all. Therefore disabling them for encrypted databases will only affect Spotlight.

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But the Spotlight index supports now tags too contrary to version 2 and if it’s enabled, then the tag might immediately appear in the Finder in case of internal files too.

That must be what’s happening.