What do you prefer? Index or Add Files to a Database/Group?

Hi group - I begun a new work project that made me rethink my uses of DevonThink and forced me to also explore ways to take more advantage of it. In this new project, I’m reading a LOT of PDFs with contracts, laws, regulations and many other things. This has made me think on whether it’s best to save files to my database or save them in 365 and then index the files and folders to DT3.

I don’t know what are particular advantages and disadvantages of pursuing each method, so I wanted to learn more about how you all use DT3 and whether you recommend 1 solution over the other. What I want to avoid is having a mix of indexed and database files and folders, and I end up with duplicates (or triplicates) without really knowing where they all are.

Thanks for any insights you can provide!

Unless you NEED the files available for other people or specialised applications other than DEVONthink to access the files, to keep things simple I would suggest you IMPORT all them rather than indexing. Simpler. If there are any duplicates in the DEVONthink database, DEVONthink will alert you.

While setting things up, make sure your backup regime (TimeMachine, or other) backs up the folder holding the database(s). And you could export an archive of the databases. A good place for those zip files might be in Microsof 356.

If you do decide to index, please ensure to read all about indexing in the DEVONthink handbook and remember then that you have the added complexity of Microsoft 365 in the mix.

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Thanks. Quick follow up: I’ve never had DT3 alert me of duplicates. Is that a setting I need to turn on that I’m missing?

Well, i said “alert” and maybe it didn’t have the same meaning for you as I intended. DEVONthink will change the colour of the name, and put a special icon, on files it judges to be duplicates. I don’t have DEVONthink or the “DEVONthink Handbook” at hand to look up for you how they look when this happens. If you need more active notifications/alerts (and you didn’t say you did need it), then probably a way to automate that but worth it?

Try it and see. Drag and drop a file to the ~/Desktop, then drag and drop it back in and see what happens.

Oh, and remember it not a critical decision as you can always change your mind and re-arrange where files are (as long as you coped with the added complexity of indexing to Microsoft 365 vs. importing).

In many cases, indexing is not the obvious choice and there are reasons it’s not the default behavior.

As @rmschne mentioned, look at the documentation first. Indexing is discussed in the Help > Documentation > In & Out > Importing & Indexing, especially the Indexing and the file system section. Pay special attention to the Indexing and the filesystem section so you understand how actions in DEVONthink can affect files in the file system.


My preference is importing files to Devonthink (edited) instead of indexing
I don’t want to think about where files are stored in the OS

The only exception is some files must remain in the OS; shared access etc

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:flushed::thinking: :slight_smile: