Working with existing Directory Structure

Hello All,

I bought DEVONthink Pro Office and I am trying to understand how to use with an existing directory structure. Specifically, I have a large, well-structured hierarchy of directories and files that I’d like to manage with DEVONthink. This hierarchy is accessed by other users and applications as well (i.e. I can’t just manage the actual files inside of DEVONthink’s database).

Looking at the documentation it seems like indexing is the way to go. When I do this search works great, but it seems like all other functionality is not compatible.

Examples of what I am trying to do with DEVONThink:

  1. Use a workflow to move an incoming file into the right folder on disk
  2. Move a file from one folder to another
  3. Delete a file

And to be clear, I want the files to move/change in my indexed directory hierarchy on disk (not just in the DEVONthink view).

It seems that I can export the DEVONthink folder hierarchy to disk and this is scriptable. So would the right solution here be to schedule regular (once an hour?) process of write protecting the file hierarchy, re-indexing it, deleting it, re-exporting it? That seems inelegant to say the least.

Or is the philosophy here that if I use indexing, DEVONthink becomes a pure search tool but no longer allows document management?


DEVONthink is not a file manager, ie. it’s not controlling the structure in the Finder. You can reorganize files in DEVONthink and not have the changes reflected in the Finder. (And yes, this is by design.) If you want to reorganize the structure in the Finder, it’s best done in the Finder.

If you add files to the indexed groups in DEVONthink, you can right-click the group and select Move to External Folder to make these indexed files too.

Thank you. “Move to external folder” is what I was looking for. As it also appears to re-index items in a folder when I select it in DEVONthink, that means I can keep the two in sync. Doing this automatically would be nice, but manual works for now.

You’re welcome. :smiley:

Question: When I “save as” a document (e.g., a Word docx) in DevonThink Pro the typical file directory window opens and prompts the save. I notice that the file directory folder is a number (e.g., 1 or 2 etc.) Is there a way to rename the file folder to something else? I suspect that the answer is “no” or “why would you want to” but wanted to check with the community.

Many thanks, Jim Buchanan

No and you (1) do not want to save into that folder or you’ll end up with orphaned files, and (2), you should never make any changes to the internals of a DEVONthink database from outside the application.

If you know you’re going to modify a file, in DEVONthink select a file and press Command-D to duplicate it. The new file will be selected so you can press Return to edit the name, press Return to commit the change, then open the file in the external application to modify and save (not Save As).

If you need to do a Save As because you didn’t realize you were going to make changes, save to the Desktop and import, or save to the Inbox in the Finder’s sidebar.