"the document "default.sorter" could not be saved" error mes

When I open Devonthink I get the error message “the document “default.sorter” could not be saved” and it continues to appear no matter how many times I click “ok”.

I would first check that you have rights to the sorter folder. If you open Finder and navigate to the folder ~/Library/Application Support/DEVONthink Personal Sorter where ~ is your home folder. Ensure the folder is selected and press the menu option File->Get Info. In the Sharing & Permissions section check that you have Read & Write access. If this is not the case, click the padlock symbol in the bottom right hand corner of the screen, enter your admin password and change the Privileges to read/write.

If you do have read/write access select the Default.sorter file in that folder and check as above that you have read/write access.


I have the same problem, but I have the correct permissions set so that’s not the problem.
Any other thoughts ?

Hi Karin

If you open the Sorter’s preferences and quit the Sorter. In Finder rename the Default.sorter document to say OldDefault.sorter. This can file can be found in the folder:

For DEVONthink Pro - ~/Library/Application Support/DEVONthink Sorter

For DEVONthink Standard - ~/Library/Application Support/DEVONthink Personal Sorter

Restart the sorter and it will create a new Default.sorter file. Do you still get the same error message ?

Thanks - all good now

I have this problem and none of the solutions listed work for me. I do not have a library folder in my applications folders. I have an Imac.I’d be grateful for some assistance.Best, Garry

The library folder is invisible. Perhaps the easiest way to temporarily reveal the ~/Library folder is to open Finder. On the menu bar, at the top, select Go to reveal the drop-down menu and then hold down the Option key (marked ALT) and you will see the ~/Library folder appear. You may now select this ~/Library folder with your mouse or trackpad.
As soon as you release the Option key, the ~/Library folder will be hidden once more.

To add some additional info, note that the hidden Library folder is not located in the Applications folder.

Thank you pvonk and Greg for your extremely helpful information and advice. I found the folder and took the corrective steps and all seems well at this stage. With best wishes, Garry

And even more:

18 ways to view the ~/Library folder in Lion | Macworld

It’s still applicable for Mountain Lion.

I’m having the same problem, but all that the proposed solution does is change the error message that I receive to “The document “OldDefault.sorter” could not be saved.” I’m also getting numerous "This document has been renamed to “OldDefault.sorter” messages. Quite a mess!

  1. In DEVONthink, select Tools > Hide Sorter.
  2. Quit DEVONthink.
  3. In the Finder, press Command-Shift-G and paste: ~/Library/Application Support/DEVONthink Sorter/Default.sorter . Move this file to your Desktop.
  4. Launch DEVONthink and select Tools > Show Sorter.

If this does not work then follow the same steps outlined above but do this for item 3…

  1. Open Applications/Utilities/Terminal.app and paste: defaults delete com.devon-technologies.think-sorter . Press Return.
  2. Then type: exit , press Return, and quit Terminal.