Can Scrivener and DevonThink work together?

Can Scrivener and DevonThink work together?

Q: linn

[i]I designed it to work on the project level - as opposed to DevonThink, where you would want to maintain research for various projects in the same database. Scrivener is not really a database program like DT - in fact, the focus is supposed to be the Draft. It is about generating text. The Research folder is there as support. So, you can drag your media files from the Finder (or from DevonThink), where you have it stored, into your Scrivener project for reference as you generate a specific text. You use it to help you build up your draft.

That said, you might also use it to write a collection of short stories or articles, but they would presumably have something in common. So, whereas in DevonThink you might bring in everything, in Scrivener, you might have a project for your short stories, another for your technical articles, and so on. Or you might have a different project for each article.

Hopefully it is flexible enough for users to find their own modus operandi, but from my point of view, I definitely designed it to be used on a project-by-project basis (hence the “project” terminology) - be that project a 1,000 page novel or a 5 page article.
A: Keith

Lord Lightning, I bought DevonThink a year ago thinking I would use it to work on the project I’m currently immersed in – a nonfiction book with a lot of MS Word notes and web pages and PDFs as sources. Instead, I’m using Scrivener, mostly because the documentation for DT is so impenetrable I’ve never been able to figure out how to really take advantage of its powers. Scrivener does almost everything I need, and I was able to figure this out because the documentation is so great.

My question is: should I just mothball Devonthink? Under which scenarios is it more useful than Scrivener? How do people use it?

The docs are not that hard to understand. Devon Academy provides several clear tutorials and usage scenarios, plus video demonstrations. Bill DeVille has a nice clear tutorial on his home page, which demonstrates how you can build a web site from a DTP collection. … 20Pro.html

Scrivener is a writing tool, while DT is a warehouse of data. The more you store in it, the more powerful it becomes when you search and use those See Also and Classify commands. (But, to each his/her own.)


I think it is a matter of the size of research and, as mentioned in the earlier post, a question of whether the research is limited to one project or a larger range of projects. I have databases which serve at once a lecture series, a book, as a dictionary for terminology in several languages and as a resource for material for several articles.

I also appreciate that DT is able to capture the URL of a Web page when I clip RTFs.

The See also option is great if you work in mostly one language, but was even helpful in my case more often than I thought.

Although I am more leaning to the tag-solution in recent days, the Replicant-concept is great. You could not do so in Scrivener.

I never tested the speed and reliability of Scrivener in Gigabyte projects, but there is no reason to think it should not be reliable. I tried similar software to DT like Eaglefiler, but the speed is just not comparable. Christian does a great job in that field, and I could not manage these amounts of data in any other application.

The of DT drawback is that it is not spotlight searchable. The data are isolated from the rest of the system. This is said to change with the next version, but when? It is a serious problem.

To summarize, Scrivener is not a database, which is a good thing. It is a beautiful and friendly environment, and if the amount of research material is not too large, I would prefer this environment to keep my data as well, particularly as they are spotlight searchable. But when it comes to larger collections, I keep with DevonThink because of its specialized features.

I found a good way for my own work flow in collecting, evaluating and exporting the necessary material in DevonThink, copying that to the Scrivener project just to have it at hand for certain checks while writing.

This means, in my workflow, I have already “digested” the material in a first step in DevonThink.

Hope this helps,

I just found a rather simple solution to make Spotlight work with part of DTP. The ‘part of’ here refers to attachments and files such as pdf, tiff, jpg, etc.

What I did was this: I opened the DTP database (right-click–>show package contents). In there you’ll find a folder that contains all of the imported pdf’s, tiffs etc. I made an alias of that folder and placed it in the same folder as the DTP database (the location of the alias is irrelevant - I just like to keep things neat!)

With that done I downloaded SpotlightIndexer. This little gem will let you index files and folder that Spotlight does scan. I let it index the alias folder and - boom - my DTP attachments now show up in Spotlight. As I have a fair number of files in this folder, I’m very happy with this solution It may not be perfect, but it’s simple and it works!

Although Devonthink is quite an amazing program, I must say I love the interface of Scrivener. If only I could capture web archives (via a hot-key) directly into Scrivener, I would switch immediately!

I found this a huge problem too. Macsterdam solution didn’t cross my mind, really. However, I found out (via DT forum) a nice application that searches and previews packages contents – it’s called FoxTrot and I’m really happy with it. Basically it indexes all the usual files in the volume/folder you select (.doc, .rtf, .pdf, etc.) and everything is searchable. The greatest thing is that it preview the files also… and that’s great when you are searching for some words in more that 1700 pdfs!

Here’s the link to FoxTrot if someone is interested:


– MJ

I started out using DevonNote, then added Scrivener last year, and recently dropped Devon and now use only Scrivener. Scrivener seems powerful enough for me to store and access the research I compile for various articles in various publications.
For longer pieces, I use one Scrivener project per article.
For short, recurring stories (e.g. reviews and columns), I set up a Scrivener project for each publication and keep individual stories and their research in separate folders within each project.
The advent of Spotlight has made it easier to do without Devon’s functions, but I’ll have to see whether Scrivener will be sufficient when I go back to writing my book. For a project of that scale (hundreds and hundreds of individual notes and scores and scores of sources), I may need to return to Devon, but I hope Scriv. will be enough.

Instead of Foxtrot there is Devon’s EasyFind. It doesn’t create an indexed database but does search everywhere, including packages and invisible files. It’s free as well.


I tried EasyFind before I bought FoxTrot… and I so wished it worked for me! :slight_smile: That could have saved me some money. But, alas, its search capabilities where much thinner than FoxTrot’s. :frowning:

– MJ