DEVONthink - worth the investment

I don’t use them both. Although I’m scanning all my documents. I’m saving the OCR’ed pdf-Files on my Macbook or iMac with syncing to my Synology NAS via Synology DRIVE and from there to my other Macs. Then I use Leap for viewing and searching and sometimes I only use finder. The power of spotlight is enough for me.

I’m also not a notes-guy. I. tried it, but I don’t see big benefits. I do not save any blog posts or articles for later usage. The internet is my notes-App. If something is very important, I make a bookmark. The most hateful thing on all solutions is to hold them clean. I hate it, if there is too much rubbish of growing older and older stuff. So I try to minimize the need of taking notes. Either its in my mind or it’s not important enough, that’s the rule for 80 to 90% of my beliefs to need something sometimes later.

What’s your way to hold the evernotes of this world clean? And do you really search for notes older than 2 or 3 years?

1 Like

Hello (first post here)
I must admit that’s exactly my point
I’m currently an evernote premium user, mostly for the search fuctions not for taking notes, but I’m dropping it because I noticed

  1. high corrupted notes here and there
  2. poor OCR reliability

incidentally a couple of monts ago I switched back to mac and found spotlight quite powerfull:

so my question is, considering

  1. devonthink OP is not the cheapest software around
  2. most of reviews talk about a steep learning curve (which is scaring: the software should save my time not spending it!)
  3. tags are already in spotlight
  4. search inside documents is already in spotlight
  5. data on my mac are synched with my iphone with icloud

BUT still every DT users are in love with it

can somebody explaing what is the value over spotlight that justify the effort in terms of time and money?

I personally didn’t think DevonThink had a steep learning curve at all. Throw your documents in it and figure things out as you go. I wonder how many people with a steep learning curve read the manual though, because whenever I’ve had a question I’ve been able to find the answer either in the manual or on their forums. (Not that you need to read the manual in advance, but skimming the table of contents is a good idea.)

Advantages over Finder for me:

  • Tags, it’s much easier to tag/flag items on iOS in DevonThink vs the Files app.
  • Multiple DBs, I could simulate this with folders perhaps, but I like being able to sync my work DB via our work servers and my documents via Dropbox or iCloud.
  • Easy scripting options - if you want or need to automate things then it’s very easy to do so in DevonThink.
  • Links to files work across platforms.

There is a very generous 30-day trial for DevonThink. As with any software, use the parts that make sense to you. Then gently explore the other features. I barely use 10% of Affinity Photo, Pixelmator, or Photoshop. But it’s nice to have that power.

I think users want to see a modern day interface. It ain’t as pretty as Things or Agenda but DevonThink does the job well.

You’ll find out what DevonTHink features you’ll use the most and stick with that.

There is a Take Control tutorial for $15 that is worth looking at.

…and a sample PDF download…

1 Like

I’m thinking I need to dive into DevonTHINK as a result of this thread. I’ve been considering going back to Evernote for reference material only. I love the web clipper. However, it’s Evernote. Seems like there’s not a lot of DevonTHINK resource out there either. Thoughts? It is a pretty expensive investment.

1 Like

Alongside the numerous videos on the DT site and the Help documentation accompanying the app, a good resource up till now has been the Take Contol book on DevonThink 2.

But personally I share the view above that DT isn’t difficult to learn. Using it follows the principles of most databases - like the macOS Finder, or your local town or village physical library.


What’s that? :joy:

I’m officially taking DevonTHINK on as an experiment. I’m sure I’ll write something up about it at some point :stuck_out_tongue:

Incidentally, when you do invest in DevonThink, I’d go for DevonThink Pro Office if you want to enjoy all that DT can offer - unless the items in your database(s) are likely to number in the hundreds rather than the thousands (or the tens of thousands in my case).


1 Like

I purchased this, about 100 pages in, its okay, but lacks any workflow guidelines and examples so far. Hopefully it will deliver soon.

I don’t think that it’s the best of the Take Control books - but outside of DevonThink’s own resources, it’s the only guide that I know of. The chapter on the differences between indexing and importing was particularly useful, as I recall (from several years ago).

1 Like

It’s not all bad, it’s just after reading Creating Flow With Omnifocus it’s hard for any other systems based book to be as good.

1 Like

There are three video tutorials here.


Thank you for the link! :+1::smile:

I seriously considering devonThink (over EN)

I’m wondering would DevonThink replace a read it later service like Pocket ? do you guys use it for this too ?

There is the blog post that talks about DEVONthink as a read-it-later service.

With any read-it-later service, the key is to keep biting away at the read-it-later articles. Many will lose its value in a week (or even a couple days) because its relevancy fades over time. I like to spend 15-20 minutes a day to chip away at it. Otherwise it becomes an overwhelming monster that we’re scared to look at.

Welcome @steve7 :slight_smile:

Do you have any other uses you’re considering for DevonTHINK over Evernote? I’ve recently begun experimenting with EN again and am curious to hear your thoughts.