Integrating DEVONthink and Scrivener 2.0


I am using DEVONThink to organise groups of notes, which I then want to drag into the Scrivener Research Section. When I drag a group to my Desktop it creates a folder with all the RTFs in, but when I drag the group to Scrivener it just creates what looks like a text file which contains the name of the group (when I would like a folder with RTS in). Of course I could drag the folder to the desktop first and then into Scrivener, but as I will be doing this a lot, I am looking to get a better DEVONThink to Scrivener workflow. I am not sure if the ‘issue’ I am experiencing is related to DEVONThink or Scrivener, but would be interested to know if there is a way of getting this to work as I would like,



This may not quite address your question, but should help.


No, because of the way DT places files on the pasteboard, there’s no way to drag them directly into Scrivener (because they don’t actually become real files until you drop them into the Finder). So the only way to do this is to export to the Finder first and then bring them into Scrivener.


Which version of DevonThink are you using?

In DT Pro 2.0 and later, there’s a direct correspondence between DT data files and Finder items. So just use the “Show in Finder” command and drag from there.


Thanks for these responses. Because I would be looking to have groups and subgroups of articles in DTP show up in the Research section of Scrivener, the ‘Show in Finder’ method wouldn’t really work.

I can of course drag groups out into Finder and then into Scrivener, but then it wouldn’t be possible to sync.

The other method I thought of is to index my articles rather than import and then use the indexed folder as my Scrivener sync folder. There are two issues with this method at present though:

  1. DTP doesn’t copy new notes created in indexed folders in DT back to the indexed folder.
  2. Scrivener doesn’t support syncing to subfolders in the Notes folder at present. I have submitted some feedback about this here:

So seems like dragging to Finder with no sync is the best solution for now.


Keith has confirmed that syncing of subfolders isn’t possible, so that leaves me with the following options of integrating DTP and Scrivener:

  1. Keeping all the research in DTP, and just dragging the quotes I need from research articles/books into Scrivener when I need them. I can still sync the draft section of Scrivener with either PlainText or DEVONThink Pro/DEVONthink To Go, with the proviso that if using DEVONthink I would need to use a script to make sure new files created in DEVONthink Pro get added to the index folder, as per this thread that I started over on the DEVONthink Forum:

Pros: No duplication of files, No need for any syncing, Advanced search/tagging features in DTP.
Cons: Have to keep two apps on the go. Research notes will sync to iPad via DEVONthink Pro to DEVONthink To Go, meaning not all files I need will be in the same App on the iPad.

  1. Dragging folder/group with subfolders/subgroups in DEVONthink Pro to Finder and then dragging in to Scrivener Research Section.

Pros: All files in one application
Cons: No syncing with DEVONthink Pro, so if more files are added to folders and groups in DEVONthink Pro, they will need to be manually added to Scrivener. Only text files are synced, no PDFs. Duplication of files

I think I will stick with option 1 for now, but would be interested to hear about how other people manage this integration.



FWIW, I just keep all my research in DTP. I’ve played with synchronization between Scrivener and DTP, but find it really isn’t worth the bother most of the time. If a project has a few documents that I refer to often, I’ll drag them over, but that’s an exception rather than a rule.

Now, this approach obviously works better if you do most of your work on a single computer, as I do. But if you use two different Scrivener/DTP-capable computers, it’s not that much more difficult to sync both the Scrivener project and the DTP database.

Things get even more complex if you’re doing some of your work on an iPad, but then you’re not going to be using native Scrivener anyway. Pulling your Scrivener draft into DT to Go seems to make the most intuitive sense, but that’s just speculation as I haven’t played with DTG. The point at which all this becomes too painful would be the point at which I’d retreat to the laptop anyway.


Thanks for sharing your thoughts Katherine. Like I said, I think I am going to stick to keeping research in DTP as well. For now I will use dropbox with PlainText for working on Scrivener drafts on the road. I like the simplicity of the Plaintext app, and the fact that it automatically syncs any changes to Dropbox.

If DTP adds MobileMe syncing (which is in the pipeline), as well as the ability to sync new files added back to the indexed (Scrivener sync) folder, then I will probably switch back to using DTTG for working on Scrivener drafts on the go, so that everything’s in one place.

Question. Why bother to do this at all?
It’s easy to keep DT and S open in separate windows.
Or one parked below on the Dock, until needed.
I rarely use the Research folder, since the database properties of DT are better.
So, I’m just curious as to why you prefer your method.
If you don’t mind my asking.

As should be clear, I am essentially coming round to the why bother at all camp.

The advantages of having everything in Scrivener 2.0 is that I could work more effectively on the iPad on the road (as everything I need for the project would be synced to the same App - at the moment, PlainText).

For simply working on the Mac it now makes sense to me to keep research in DTP and drag quotes/text as I need them into Scrivener.

For the road, PlainText with Dropbox sync wins for now for the Drafts section, with research synched to DTTG and thus available on the iPad, which will work better once iOS 4.2 comes to the iPad later this month (for having multiple Apps running at the same time).

Once DTP syncing improves (i.e. both two-way syncing for index folders and syncing via MobileMe) I will probably switch to using DTP for syncing the drafts section of Scrivener, for the convenience of having everything in one App on the road, despite PlainText’s simple elegance.