What keeps you from importing everything into DT?

I recently started using DevonThink and find it one of the most exciting pieces of software I have ever used. I am a researcher, and it fits well with my workflow. Given how efficient the program is, however, I have also started using it to store other types of files, such as contracts, medical prescriptions, bills, ID documents, and so on… now the problem is that I am struggling with the temptation to literally import all of my personal Finder folders into it. What is your advice for clearly demarcating what is inside DT and what is outside, without each time having the question of where certain types of documents are stored?

What keeps me from importing everything into DT?

Absolutely nothing :laughing:
Really though, nothing, I will take some files out if I am working on them and put them on my Desktop, only really LaTeX things now. The only qualm I have is that something might happen to the app and I would have to rejig my workflows. I have sound files, video lectures in there too though I tend to keep them in dedicated databases. The trick is database strategy: you might find it worth experimenting with. Not too many and not too few…


Whilst DEVONtech recommend you don’t simply dump everything & the dog into DT there is nothing stopping you effectively moving both your private and academic digital lives into DEVONthink. Just don’t use it as an attic or cellar which you misuse to store stuff you’ll never need again.

I store every single document I receive or create in DT. It covers my academic, professional and personal life. Bar photos and audiovisual media, I do not have Finder folders with personal data; if it needs to be kept, I keep it in DT.


I only use external indexed files if there is a purpose, e.g. to share with others via a server, input files to a system or app, or some specific reason.

Otherwise import everything. Simpler.

If a reason comes up later, then export and move on.

Edit: Rather than “Otherwise import everything. Simpler”, as reminded by @bluefrog’s post, I mis-stated what I meant and actually do. I do not import “everything”. I only put into DEVONthink files that form part or whole of my research, official records for archive, works in progress, etc. I answered a question not asked but suggested in title of post, and was trying to distinguish between import and index. My Bad. Bottom line: Heed @bluefrog’s advice.

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Welcome @beausoleil

As @Blanc pointed out, the capabilities available in DEVONthink shouldn’t lead you to blindly dump items into your databases.

We have pointed out many times: DEVONthink is not a Finder nor a Spotlight replacement. So feel free to make as many databases as you desire, but keep them focused and be judicious in filling them.