What am I doing wrong?

Hi all,

I am a new user, so please bear with me!

When I import pdfs, I want to rename them with the date. I have prepared the following smart rule:

However, it doesn’t work when I import the file. When I run the rule manually, it works fine, but I want it to run automatically on import.

I’m obviously doing something wrong. Can anyone offer any pearls of wisdom?

Thanks very much indeed!

  • how are the files being imported?
  • are the files being imported to the global inbox?
  • are any other smart rules running beforehand (i.e. further up the list) which also act on PDFs and which contain the Cancel action?
  • is an OCR rule running on the PDFs beforehand? If so, please post a screenshot of that rule.

I’m importing by dragging the files on the DEVONthink icon on the dock.

They are going into the global inbox by default.

No other rules running. This is my first.


Dropping a file on the icon in the dock does not trigger the On Import trigger; I’m not aware of any trigger which triggers when you import this way (@cgrunenberg is that intentional?)

The On Import trigger will fire if you drop the file via the sorter or directly into the Inbox in Finder (assuming you have activated the add-on Global Inbox in Save Dialogs), or directly into the inbox in the DT window.

Thanks so much for troubling to reply. You’re quite right, it doesn’t work that way, but does when I import through the sorter. How odd.

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I hadn’t actually noticed the behaviour to date - but I recreated your rule to see what was going on and played a little bit. I actually did try the other possible triggers just in case, but dropping on the icon doesn’t ever seem to trigger the smart rule. We’ll see what Criss says - it could be a bug.


That makes me feel marginally better! Thanks so much for your time and for trying it out for me. I really do appreciate it.

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You’re most welcome - that’s the way it works round here :slight_smile:


I tried it too and guess what—the trigger On Import worked for me when I dropped a file on DEVONthink’s Dock icon!

Or at least it did so as long as my action was Display Alert (an easy to detect action I always use when I’m trying to find out if a Smart Rule was triggered properly). Adding a tag worked too.

But On Import did not work with Change Name. So the interaction of these two does not work and not the On Import trigger in general.


That’s really interesting! How bizarre.

So I have found. Such a welcoming community here. Especially for someone just getting to grips with such a vast piece of software.

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Thanks very much for exploring in more depth! @cgrunenberg

Is the group selector enabled in Preferences > Import? If it’s enabled and only one file imported, then the title entered in the group selector is used. Therefore either disable this option, drop multiple files or remove the default title in the group selector in case of one file.

No, it is not selected in my case.


:see_no_evil: sorry, if it was that quick & easy I probably should have done it myself :crazy_face: