Looking to organise

Could someone recommend a Mac App.
I have a lot of research files, many of which cover more than one subject area. Therefore I would like to tag each file with the subjects it covers and then create folders for each subject, in which those files appear.
This will save me having multiple copies of each file and also let me see quickly which other subjects they are linked to.
So far I have colour coded the files - but obviously I can only assign 1 colour per file

What about DevonTHINK?

Do you think the personal edition will be enough ?

I am relatively new to Macs, having gotten my MacBook last April. I bought DevonThink because it seems to be the consensus choice as the most powerful notes/information manager… which it clearly is. However, I find I rarely use it, instead relying more on Journler (barebones.com) for capturing and organizing my information.

I find DT just a little too dense and complicated. Also, the tutorials urge you to separate your data into differenct databases, so the artificial intelligence can work more effectively, but they do not have a cross-database search. I prefer to be able to search all my information at once, rather than guessing which database it may be in.

I am not writing this to persuade not to use DevonThink, but just to let you know of my experience.

I use Circus Ponies Notebook. Before I switched to Mac last November, I used Microsoft One Note.

One think I really like about CP Notebook is that it makes an (every word) index for you (like the back of a book)–makes it really easy to find what you’re looking for.

Version 3.0 is expected to be released within the next few days…

How much information do you need to organize? My experience with tools other than DevonThink is that they are great for small quantities of material, but don’t scale. My main DT Pro database has more than two million words, and that’s on the small side compared to many other users.

Because DT can handle such large collections, I tend to make my databases pretty broad. If the difference between two databases isn’t obvious, maybe you should squish them together after all? It’s pretty easy to split a database later if you decide that the AI is having trouble with it. If you really do need cross-database searching, though, remember that Spotlight can see inside DT files.


Or Eaglefiler (http://code.google.com/p/bookwrite/, or Together (http://reinventedsoftware.com/together/), both of which handle tagging and folders (but not duplicates or clones, AFAIK).


Thanks for the replies
I am having a go at DTPro although I am already feeling it is rather an undertaking.
I have about 400 (which I suppose isn’t that many) PDF’s and RTF’s which I am slowly sorting into ‘Groups’ and sub-Groups.
It seems that I would then have to individually replicate each file that I want to appear in another group, as the aim of this was to be able to cross reference quickly. Or is that what the DTPro AI will do for me?
Is anyone aware of an Applescript or process that would let me cmd click or kbd shortcut a file and replicate it to a bunch of groups simultaneously in DTPro from Finder?

You may get the best-informed replies to your questions on the DT forums, which are pretty active and which the developers monitor.


Yes I’ve asked the question there too :slight_smile:

The Replicate To command can be applied to several files at once, depending on your selection. I think the Move To command on the Classify drawer can move a single file to several groups at once, but didn’t want to mess up my own database testing.

Depending on what you need, DTP also offers all sorts of alternatives to individual replication.

You can use the See Also and fuzzy search features to pull out things “like this.”
You can create wiki-style links between documents on the fly.
You can use the Concordance to find all instances of a particular word or name.
You can use one of the supplied scripts to create a smart folder based on your search criteria.
You can use Auto Group and Auto Classify to let DTPro find similarities among files for you.
If you’re comfortable with AppleScript, you can use it to automate all of the above.

I’m sure you’ll get lots of responses over at the DevonThink forum, too. Bill DeVille is especially good at jumping the program through hoops.

Good luck!


Good grief, don’t do a bunch of replicated groups in DT Pro. What you asked in the original post is extremely easily accomplished using any tagging software that supports saved searches. My suggestion would be to use Leap or Together to organize and tag your stuff (making sure to export your tags to Spotlight comments), then construct some Finder smart folders to sort your files.

Other alternatives would be Tag Folders, TagBot, or Punakea if you want to have the bare minimum functionality and mostly work in the Finder.

Have to agree very strongly with George the Flea. Leap and Together are both capable of doing what you want in an intelligent and aesthetic way. I use them both (along with Yep! and DT Pro). I find I am relying more and more on Together. DT Pro is excellent but there is something that does not feel quite right. I wish I could put my finger on it. It just feels, well, ‘old’. Good, but old.

So for a really excellent Mac experience try Leap and Together - or even MacJournal Pro.


Together is my notebook and organizer of choice but after I have SEEN two notes just going to nirvana – not into Together’s or the OS trash, just vanishing without a trace – I’m asking myself how many times more this might have happened without me watching.

I’m pretty scared and I really do hope this gets fixed soon. Together is just a great app, almost every function I need is in it and the rest most likely will follow.

DevonThink … yeah, like Dreamweaver – dinosaurs, old ancient animals with the widest range of functions on their fields but, like Lord Lightning said, old …


are you using mobile me?

I’ve had all kinds of trouble with vanishing data since mobile me “improved” things for me.

if you are using mobile me, that might be the source of your lost notes problem.


Rebecca, you are absolutely right.

Yesterday evening I learned from Steve – Together’s programmer, very good support too – that I not only had to disable MobileMe syncing in the OS preferences but also in Together’s library manager.

Since I did that the app does behave totally different, no weird actions whatsoever! I am SO happy about this. An app that crashes when you click a certain menu item or anything like that is bad already, but an app deleting randomly content is hell. WAS hell!

So forget my previous post and get the trial of Together now! Particularly take notice of how smooth drag & drop from Together to Scrivener works and have a look at the library folder wherein you will find all library items as single files with their distinct names. As opposed to database programs like DevonThink. Which on the other hand have a faster search function.

It’s true that the present version of DT Pro is somewhat ‘old’. But I’ve been working with it for more than two years now, and in the meantime also tried other similar applications. This has brought me to the conclusion that especially for very large databases DT Pro is still clearly the best application on the market.

And before the end of this year, in other words within three or four months, a completely new, far more powerful and flexible version should be out: see here .


DevonThink Pro is available today as MacUpdate Promo offer, 50% off.


CircusPonies’ NoteBook 3.0 is out. Looks fantastic to me.