Understanding DT and Dropbox

I apologize if this has been covered elsewhere – I’ve looked – but I am having a hard time understanding the best setup for Dropbox and DT.

I have a database of books and PDFs started on a desktop Mac but I’d like it to be available on the laptop as well. I’ve done this but I am not sure if it’s the most efficient way.

I currently have the DT database on an external hard drive that stays connected to the desktop. I have it synced with my Dropbox location. This DOES NOT place the content of the database in Dropbox, correct? (This can get quiet large.) I synced the database to my laptop – and the content was added to my local laptop drive. Do I have to download the contents to the drive? Can I avoid this?

What does syncing through Dropbox mean actually? Does it just store the metadata and IDs in DB, making them available for use on multiple computers? Is it any more efficient to make DT available via the web?

And last, if I locate the actual database file in DB – something that used to be frowned upon in the DT/Dropbox relationship – is this a good option? If I import directly into Dropbox, the file will grow and the size will count against my storage limit – unless I index the files and not import them, correct?

If anybody has any thoughts as how to use Dropbox and DT – or if there is another strategy entirely – I’d be forever in your debt.

Best to you all.


The (unavoidable) intent of DEVONthink’s Sync is to have more than one complete instance of a database synchronized via WebDAV, Dropbox, etc. If you have the database on the desktop, and on the the laptop, you will have the whole database on both machines. On Dropbox you will have the sync store whose size depends on the size of the database.

It’s as bad an option as it ever was. Not recommended. The sync store (on Dropbox) is a different creature – it is not a database.

It depends … do you do 99% of your work on the desktop and merely want to look up some files in the database while you’re on your laptop? Then the web is a better option. Do you work as intensely on both machines and need to have a fully-functional database with you all the time? Then the web is problem not the choice.

If you’re the only user – then it’s a perfectly workable approach to keep the database on a portable drive (or even a thumb drive if size permits), plug it into the machine you’re using, and open the database from the portable drive. Just be sure to let your backup program make a copy regularly (you do, of course, have a backup program, yes? 8) )

mr. korm,

Thanks for taking the time to help me understand the Dropbox and DevonThink relationship. This really helps. For an everyday database, having it on two machines is not a problem. For larger graphics, photo, media databases, having them on a portable drive makes more sense. I can now make adjustments to my Devon “strategy.”