What to Do With Two Databases on Different Computers

I normally and routinely use DT3 on an iMac with 8 GB RAM. My DT database has a little over 83K unique words. It has 56 Groups including 7 Smart Groups and 133 Tags.

For the six weeks I’ve been without my iMac and have been using an older MacBook Pro (MBP). On the MBP I created a new DT database with only a handful of Groups - with only ONE of the Groups the same name as any in the database on my iMac. I have been using this database to store and organize my work. I actually LOVE the simplicity of the database created on the MBP.

I have now regained access to my iMac and need to get information stored on my MBP over last six weeks onto my iMac. Moreover, going forward I would rather use the simple Group structure created in my MBP database rather than the more complicated 56 Group structure on my iMac database.

What’s the best way to do this?



For future reference, creating separate databases isn’t a good practice
I maintain a sync store at iCloud, and use it to load databases

need to get information stored on my MBP over last six weeks onto my iMac.

Sync the data using a sync store or Bonjour

Can you please detail it?

What have you tried that did not work? Syncing fully described in the DEVONthink Handbook. On target machine look in that sync location an import.

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From the Devonthink Documentation


I haven’t used DT sync, although I somewhat understand the concept. I also understand creating separate databases isn’t a good practice.

As I stated, I created a new database on my MacBook Pro BECAUSE I LOST ACCESS (for six weeks) TO MY PRIMARY COMPUTER (an iMac).

That said, my issue is more than a simple sync solution (I think - correct me if I’m wrong). I asked for advice/tips on best way to REORGANIZE my data from my old concept of having MANY Groups (on my iMac) to my new concept of having only a few Groups - those that are in the new database on my MacBook Pro.

I want to be able to, eventually, use information contained in both databases on my iMac ONLY, in a single database, using the new structure I wrote about in my initial post; i.e., with far fewer Groups.

I don’t anticipate hopping back and forth between my iMac and my MacBook Pro. So, a full-time/always available sync solution is probably not what I need. I’m more interested in the re-organizing/re-structuring part.

Finally, I’m NOT a DT power user. I know the bare basics of how to get data in and out of DT. But I’ve used the program with a single database, never sync’d, and never shared data.

Thanks to all of you who have responded. Really appreciate it!


So your two databases should be disjunct, i.e. have no data in common. In that case, you should them sync once. After that, you end up with the same data (in two databases) on both machines. Afterwards you can turn sync off again and concentrate on the machine you want to use with DT.

Then you can merge your databases step by step on this machine. In fact, I’d create a third database and copy the data from the two other ones there step by step.

Your question (?) how to reduce the number of groups can not be answered in a simple way. Basically you have to figure out, which groups you’ll want to have in the end and then copy the documents from your two databases to them.

I tried this. But, I never got the opportunity to SELECT an actual location in iCLOUD. When you select “CloudKit” where is the data actually saved?

You can’t select a location in iCloud. That’s not how the sync works. The sync data is stored in a location inaccessible to you and directly on Apple’s servers in the case of a CloudKit sync.

Okay thanks. I must be doing something wrong. Can’t seem to do a Mac-to-Mac sync - even though both computers are on the same network.

You’re welcome.

Regarding the direct connection Bonjour sync, have you read this…

Yes. I’m a little unsure of this: " On a client Mac…

In DEVONthink…

  1. In Preferences > Sync you should see the server Mac available.
  2. Check the checkbox to enable the connection…"

Check WHAT CHECKBOX? On the Client Mac, is this the checkbox under “Bonjour Options”? If so, I recall reading somewhere that you shouldn’t Enable Incoming Connections on BOTH computers?


From the link I posted…

NOTE: While it is possible to enable both DEVONthink and DEVONthink To Go as Bonjour servers, you should not set up both as the server for the same database(s).

On the Client Mac, is this the checkbox under “Bonjour Options”?

Did you follow the instructions in the post?

In Preferences > Sync you should see the server Mac available.
Check the checkbox to enable the connection and enter the Bonjour password you specified on the server Mac.

You need to enable the sync location no differently than enabling any other sync location.