When is opening and saving outside DTPO ok?

Since I am not sure if the information that can be trawled up in a search is still pertinent I would like to get an explanation of the technical background straight from the horse’s mouth.

Assuming we are not creating a document but modifying an existing one that resides inside a DTPO database, under which circumstances would I need to open a document in its native application by calling it from inside DTPO (open externally) and when would it be ok to open and save that document in its native application directly?
What are the potential caveats, what to look out for?
I know that it works when always going the going the former route, so please refrain from “better safe than sorry” :wink:

Thanks in advance

As long as DEVONthink is running, the search index & meta data storage is automatically updated after editing an internal document externally. But if DEVONthink isn’t running, then you should use File > Synchronize afterwards to update the index/storage. Otherwise search/see also/classify/condordance results might be incorrect.


I am beginning to understand. The Synchronize command “heals” whatever differences may have built up over time between the DTPO index and the actual file in the OS X file system by re-indexing it, correct? The crucial point is this file needs to be known to DTPO for this to work, so modifying a file that existed inside DTPO already is fine even if DTPO isn’t running (as long as I re-index its content using the synchronize command).

If the file that is being updated resides ONLY inside the Devonthink database, i.e. has no counterpart in the Finder, it will still re-index this file as intended. I had previously assumed this command would work only for indexed files, not for imported files. But it does, correct?

If true, this would enable me to add a small modification to documents in a large database without launching DTPO every time, e.g. by just pulling up some “Files -> Recent documents…” from my external application.


PS: Maybe I am missing something but would it not be possible to not only re-index existing documents but also index new documents? (i.e. imported documents). I keep generating them by mistake when working on a document in an external application and saving it under a different name. These documents disappear because DTPO does not know them and hence does not display them and the Finder does not reveal them either under normal circumstances.
It is a hard to brake habit but if a synchronize command could bring up these documents again, I would be quite happy. Sometimes the creation of a new template is too much hassle if you just need this kind of modification once or twice.

That’s correct. File > Synchronize can update both internal and external documents. But it can only synchronize indexed groups, not internal ones.

Tools > Verify & Repair can discover orphaned files which have been accidently saved into the database package and import them.

At the risk of sounding a bit dense, this refers to its ability to discover new content in a folder that DTPO indexed in the Finder but not in when it was accidentally saved by external applications into the DTPO database bundle?

If so, wouldn’t then be the behaviour of the synchronize command be more consistent if it did the same with new files inside the bundle (see my PS)? This would free the user from keeping track technical details of whether the file in question resides inside the bundle or in the Finder.
It may well have a technical reason, but if it is intentional I would like to understand why.

I use this command when looking after my database on the whole and also noticed the orphaned files category, but never made the connection and used it to find orphaned files that I created myself. Thanks for clearing that up.



File > Synchronize synchronizes only the selected items whereas Tools > Verify & Repair scans the whole database package and that might take a while.

Thanks for the thorough explanation Christian, I feel more confident now and I am sure this information is of use to others as well. Much appreciated