When is an item flagged?

Searched the manual and help, but stupidly couldn’t find it: when does an item gets flagged automatically (other than manually)?

DEVONthink doesn’t flag items on its own.

You could set up a Smart Rule to flag certain items.

But at first you have to decide what flagging is supposed to mean for you. Out of the box a flag has no meaning and that’s why DEVONthink can’t automatically flag items.

A flag is just another—in this case: binary—marker, as well as labels and tags. And you choose how to use it.

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well, imported unread emails get flagged (and, e.g., items flagged in Apple Mail get a label upon import). I was trying to understand that behaviour.

Thanks, that’s exactly what I’m getting to.

An unread email shouldn’t be flagged but also be marked as unread in DEVONthink. But labels might indeed add flags depending on your settings in Preferences > Email.

OK, I think I’ve got it now:

  • imported emails get marked as “unread”, which is a flag
  • Labels are added according to my preferences
  • there are three “Marks”: flagged, unread, locked. If you use the view column “Flag”, all these 3 appear there.

Indeed the view column “Flag” displays all three marks and in this regard it should better be called “Mark”. On the other hand you can only sort items by flags and not by their read or locked states. If the view column was named different to the sorting attribute it displays that could be confusing (too).

Anyway: All three of the marks are binary: flagged—unflagged, read—unread, and locked—unlocked.

They are independent from each other, and while two have a specific, self-explanatory meaning flags can be used for whatever the user wants to.

For example, I’m using them as “rule breakers”. If an item meets the condition of a Smart Rule it gets processed in a certain way … unless it’s flagged.

To get less abstract: Amongst many other things I use DEVONthink to collect research material for a monthly magazine. After the deadline the Smart Rule moves the research material to an archive group because the research material has to be fresh to be of use for a text. But sometimes, even if it is a bit older, I still might use it and then I flag it and the Smart Rule does not move it into the archive group.

When importing e-mails—you didn’t mention that in your first posting and I did not think about e-mails in my reply—DEVONthink might automatically flag mails. Like Christian said (and who would know better?) that depends on your e-mail settings in DEVONthink.

Emails flagged in Apple Mail retain the flagged state when imported into DEVONthink.

good suggestions, suavito, I might incorporate them into my workflow