Workflow - updating indexed items


I’ve been “playing” with Devonthink for a while and with the recent purchase of a new Scansnap scanner it’s now time to get serious! One thing I’ve really struggled with is finding the best workflow with regard to document and scan storage. I’m not keen on importing all my scanned documents directly into the database and would prefer (I think) to keep everything external and use the “index files” function. However this method seems slightly inferior as the index doesn’t appear to update automatically? Why is this and how do people currently workaround this?

Before I launch into a major scanning session I really want to be sure I’ve got the best workflow/settings. It feels a bit like when I converted all my CD’s to MP3’s all those years ago - it’s a job that I only want to do once!

Thanks for any insight


DEVONthink should not be that intimately tied to the filesystem.

In practice this is really not an issue.
You only need to select the top level group and choose File > Update Indexed Items. You wouldn’t do this after every scan. You could scan in a session then update the indexed items.

Also, ask yourself why you’d want to index the files. You should have a good reason for indexing. Importing creates a portable self-contained database, one you could copy to a thumbdrive of sufficient space and take with you.

Thanks, updating the index manually wouldn’t be such a chore then, but I’m a little surprised it’s not automatic or available as a scheduled task.

I think I feel safer leaving the files external simply because they are then much more “visible” and can be backed up easily. The other reason is that I will also need to be accessing this database from a Macbook with limited storage. If I import directly then that database may get too large to replicate onto the Macbook.

“More visible”, indeed if you need to see them in the Finder or have them shared to other applications / people en masse.

“backed up more easily”? A DEVONthink database is a single package file so there’s only one file to back up, not a file plus other directories scattered about.

This will obviously require the MacBook to have access to the location of the indexed files. If you index files on one Mac then Sync the database to your MacBook, you wouldn’t have access to those files unless you mounted the drive of the first machine. If you stored the indexed files on an NAS, the MacBook would only have access when you’re on the same network unless you configured the NAS for external access (and that isn’t something that is On by default).

Just things to consider.