Will DT3 Pro work for us?

Hello all,

My son and I want to use DT to research, plan and collate information for our new business. DT will be perfect except for one huge problem. We live 20 miles apart and we both need to be able to access the DB and change things as required. We use Evernote at the moment, but our notes are becoming cluttered and disorganised.

As far as I can make out this scenario is not possible with DT, but before I reject DT completely, and because I really want to use DT, I thought I would make absolutely sure first.

I do not understand why we would not be able to share files and folders using Dropbox or iCloud, or could we?

I’ve read many post about port forwarding and I feel we would struggle with this so that is not really an option.

Those of us that are not computer technician/programmers etc., are spoilt these days, we take it for granted that you can access everything remotely. I very nearly purchased DT3 Pro, thank goodness I read the forum beforehand.

I would like to add that cost is not a problem here, if we need to purchase the Web Server edition or a NAS drive, then so be it.

I would appreciate any advice, but please keep it simple.

If you want/need DEVONthink for this, my hunch is that you’d be served best by using the Web Server edition. I have no experience with this product other than experimenting with it when it was part of previous Pro versions.

Do you really need the functionality of DEVONthink now? Have you considered starting off with sharing files via a “cloud” service, e.g. Dropbox, Google Drive, etc. You can each (or just one of you) have your own copy of DEVONthink and can “index” these files from our own local copies of what’s in the “cloud”. That’s how I share stuff I keep in DEVONthink and in Dropbox, the latter for my siblings to access for shared family stuff. But I see and use the documents from inside DEVONthink.

My hunch is that at this stage of your startup business, your focus is on the business not the tools for documents. But that just a hunch.

Probably good, IMHO, to get out of Evernote as Evernote holds your documents inside itself in a proprietary format. DEVONthink doesn’t work like that.

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Hello Craftyfox,

sure you can use Devonthink (DT) also remotely with so called SyncStores. Which can be access by iCloud, Dropbox or a NAS server. Having said that, iCloud and Dropbox are stalling sometimes so that the synchronisation does not work sometimes. But this issue is more Apple/Dropbox related.

You can use your own WebDav server using a NAS which can be accessed from everywhere and sync your data to any remote computer or mobile device.

In relation to Everynote: You can import your notes but they should probably first sorted or you import all and sort them in DT as it got loads of features, which can help you to unclutter your files and notes.

If you need more information , you can also contact me directly under info@steffiscloud.de. On my website there are some articles also in English for your information.

Hope, that helps.


You can, as far as I can deduct from your information.

A caveat with services like Dropbox or iCloud is that other companies than DT run them, and any changes made by them or downtime on their behalf might propagate down to the experience you get with DT.

This is not very different from you internet service provider. If they have technical difficulties and your internet connection is down, you will not be able to synchronize files to and from Dropbox or iCloud and there is no way for @BLUEFROG or @cgrunenberg to solve that for you, unless they travel to your house with a giant optical wire and reconnect you to the internet. I’ve personally experienced their service to be very good, but it’s probably not that good :slight_smile:

To give one even less technical example: you might drive a car and experience bumpiness while you drive. You could conclude that the car is to blame, but not if the road you drive over is actually some small mountain path covered with rocks.

You only need the server edition to provide access to devices that cannot run DT or DTTG. So for example a laptop running Linux or Windows. The server edition has a simplified version of DT built in that you access at home as if it was a web page.

A NAS might be of interest, as it frees you from services like iCloud or Dropbox (which are basically giant NAS drives spread across the globe), but it will require you or your son to grant access to one of your home networks over the internet.

This is certainly possible in most cases, but can be difficult to setup and involves a security risk. If you do it wrong, it’s like leaving the door to your house open day and night or putting a key underneath the doormat. If you have no experience in setting up secure remote access to your home network, I would suggest using iCloud or Dropbox.

You could also synchronize large parts of your database at either you or your son’s house with Bonjour to give one of you a ‘kick-start’, assuming (and hoping) you do see each other once in a while :slight_smile: . After that, you both synchronize individual files with iCloud or Dropbox.

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Which is a very nice gesture, but might I suggest keeping most conversations on the forum?

This is absolutely not meant to insult your offer, but discussing any start-up issues here can provide valuable information to others. But if @Craftyfox might feel more comfortable discussing one on one, you certainly can of course.


The scenario you describe to me sounds very doable with DEVONthink. Judging from posts here in the forum you may find that changes you make are not reflected in real-time on the other device (and I think I would choose not to use Dropbox, and would be more likely to opt for iCloud; but: iCloud access is not available across Apple IDs, so that could be a problem for you; see pages 55 on of the DT manual. Has anybody set up OneDrive using WebDAV and used that with DT? I’ve found OneDrive to be both fast and reliable when used for backups.)

Depending on what you are doing, you might want to pick&mix, e.g. using Microsoft 365 for documents you are both actively working on, and DT for archiving etc.

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According to “the Internet”, Microsofts WebDAV implementation is kind of special (what else is new with MS’s support of internet protocols?). So it is apparently useable only with Microsoft’s operating systems. I just tried following the procedure described elsewhere by connecting to https://d.docs.live.net/
in the Finder. It just throws an error, not even asking for credentials. So I suppose that’s a no go.

Oh well, who’d of thunk it?

@rmschne thank you for your reply, our new business relies heavily upon data we collect from just about any kind of media. No data = no business. We’ve used Evernote for our other business for 12 years, and it’s okay for keeping each other in the loop, but will not suffice for our new style of business. It is also too risky to keep such important data in.

This is what I was hoping for, at the very least. I now know there is a way to share the files, someway or other and that you actually do it successfully.

Hello @SteffisCloud, I have read that this can be done, but I understood that port forwarding is needed in order to achieve this. I will have a read of your website, thank you.

Most helpful

Hello, @anon6914418, thank you so much for your very, easy to understand, explanation.
I would love to go down the NAS route, in fact, I spent most of yesterday looking into various NAS systems and manufacturers. The thought of being free from cloud based backup and syncing is very attractive. At present we subscribe to Google Drive, iCloud and Dropbox. Hence I’m looking at DT, everything is in such a mess and all over the place.

I’m pleased you mentioned that I don’t require the server addition, that would have been a waste of money for me.

We do meet twice a week, so that is another option, would my son need a separate DT Pro or could we use the 2nd seat?

@Blanc Thanks for the help, the ‘real time’ aspect is not important, we do not need the info immediately, we just need to know it is in DT and can be found when needed, (something we cannot do at the moment).

I’m just happy to know that you all think there is a way we can be sure our data is saved, searchable and shared. So I will purchase, at least one edition of DT.

If your WebDAV server sits behind a router/gateway, you’ll most probably have to forward the router’s/gateway’s port 443 (aka https) to the WebDAV server’s same port. But that should be a no-brainer for any decent router.

Here’s an explanation on how to setup WebDAV on a Synology NAS:
In this case, you’d forwart port 443 on your router/gateway to port 5006 on your Synology device. I strongly advise against using ports 80/5005 (aka http), because this is unencrypted.
For 443/5006 (aka https) to work you’ll need a certificate, which can be generated on the Synology, too:

Seems that port forwarding can also be initiated from this NAS:

Disclaimer: I’m not employed by Synology nor do I own one of their devices. It just seems that their documents popup first in an internet search. As a side note: QNAP just changed some of their policies to require subscriptions for certain services. That would deter me from buying them. Another NAS company that has a good reputation (at least as far as I know) is Drobo.

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I personally use the pro version (you will get two seats and can add further seats as required - one seat per device), as it incorporates OCR, custom metadata etc. Enjoy your work with this brilliant piece of software, supported by the great folks in this forum - let us all know how you fare. If you have time maybe post more about your use case and how you have set things up in a few months time.

yes works for us.

note that with this approach DEVONthink is not really the agent for sharing. it is the cloud service provider. in addition to a family approach now i did same with numerous clients on special projects. simple and works.

as the business grows you may wish to grow into a more robust system. i used to be close to that world of small business collaboration but no longer. surely you will get lots of diverse advice here.

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The difficulty might arise here for @Craftyfox, as I do not consider port forwarding a common procedure for a network user without experience in customizing a home network. Most gateway routers are deliberately setup to prevent access from the internet for a good reason.

What makes this complicated, is that @Craftyfox specifically mentions a lack of technical knowledge, and is looking for a simple solution. I’m trying to think of a comparison (which of course always fails) but what if the business companion needed physical access to the location where @Craftyfox stores certain equipment? Some people in a far and away location simply duplicate a key and put it under the doormat, as they consider the risk of someone entering without permission is very low. However with a network attached to the internet, the whole world is able to look under the doormat and do that automatically 24/7 across the world. Likewise, if someone keeps doing this after moving from far and away to a large city will likely find their stuff taken by someone who simply looked under the doormat.

I’ve read stories from people who exposed their NAS to the internet, didn’t take proper precautions and were suddenly confronted with the situation all of their data was transferred to some server somewhere in the world. And this is just one example of what can go wrong. If all of your data is encrypted by ransomware, and your backup is as well, it might mean the end of your business. And so on.

As I’ve mention before (I think), it’s difficult to guard against a risk you aren’t aware of. That doesn’t mean those risks actually occur, nor should one conclude from that there was no risk. Of course the other side of the story is that certain risks are in fact very low, and not relevant to the situation at hand. And of course security breaches also occur with commercial platforms that you pay for.

If you’re granting internet access to your network, either inform yourself deeply about the the technicalities and risks involved or hire someone with expertise in network security to explain what should and should not be done. This costs money of course, but loosing your data is probably more costly. This is particularly true if your running a business that relies on the availability of the data I presume.

Most (all?) modern routers permit to set port forwarding via UPnP. And as I said in my posting, at least Synology offers to do exactly that: establish the needed port forwarding automagically in the router itself.

But you’re right, of course: If they are completely illiterate in this aspect, they should get paid support to set up a NAS. Or use a professional WebDAV/cloud provider. Which of course begs all kinds of questions on data security, too :wink:


@chrillek Thanks for the links to some very interesting information. I had read that Synology allow a way to achieve this, so I’ll try to understand it better.

@Blanc I will buy the PRO edition as this seems to have all the bells attached. I would love to post on here about my experience, as a non techie getting to know DT3. I have purchased the book “Taking Smart Notes with DevonThink” so, at least I have some idea where to start.

@rmschne My son suggested this to me this afternoon. “Just get the app, dad, and make a start. You can always share with me, folders on iCloud or we can airdrop folders when we meet. We’ll work something out”.

@anon6914418 Yes, this frightens the hell out of me, and I can understand how easily someone with little knowledge can make such a costly mistake. I will research this (maybe use the research data to start off my DTDB (see, I’m learning :thinking:) for later on in my journey through this maze.

Isn’t it amazing, being able to click on any word and get an explanation of what it means. I did this with UPnP and it helps so much. I do hope you all appreciate this stuff as much as I do and not forget the books and dictionary days of old.


@anon6914418 @Blanc @chrillek @rmschne @SteffisCloud
Thanks to one and all for today, I have enjoyed your replies and reading the links sent. All in all, a very productive day for me.



I would suggest to also/first read the e-book “Take Control of DEVONthink 3” which is sponsored by DEVONtechnologies and can therefore be downloaded free of charge since DT version 3 was launched.

You can find it here, or click Support in the menu bar on the DT website and choose “Handbooks and Extras”. As you might have guessed, the DT manual can be found there as well.

And when I get the opportunity I usually mention “Take Control of Backing Up your Mac” which is one of the other books @joekissell wrote, although you need to buy that one:


Backing up your data might seem simple, but is often done in such a way that actually retrieving the backup when it’s required might be more difficult than need be or can even be impossible (which is something you were trying to prevent with the backup of course).

(And while you can buy many other books at the Take Control website, there’s yet another free book that you can download there called “Take Control of Working from Home Temporarily” which might be a guide to all people who were suddenly setting up an office in their house the last couple of months).