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Take Control of Getting Started with DEVONthink 2, Second Edition
Take control of your PDFs, paper documents, email messages, and scribbled notes with DEVONthink 2 and Joe Kissell's expert advice!
With the information-management program DEVONthink 2, you no longer have to swim in a sea of Web bookmarks, email receipts, RSS feeds, scanned memorabilia, Post-it notes, and phone bills. DEVONthink stores your digital documents and clippings, helps you scan and store paper documents, and serves as home base for organizing and viewing all your information. But mastering all that power can take effort, and this ebook—created in partnership with DEVONtechnologies—has the real-world advice you need to understand how DEVONthink can bring order to your information.
This book got me around some suboptimal usage patterns that were holding up my profitable use of this excellent software. I'd recommend this book to any level of DEVONthink user. —Scott McGrath
After covering essential DEVONthink vocabulary and concepts, Joe helps you start using DEVONthink effectively. You'll learn how to:
Questions answered in the book include:
iPad & Kindle
About the Author
Joe Kissell has written many books about the Mac, including many popular Take Control ebooks. He's also a contributing editor of TidBITS and a senior contributor to Macworld, and previously spent 10 years in the Mac software industry.
Table of Contents
Read Me First
This book teaches you the basics of DEVONthink 2 (Personal, Professional, and Pro Office editions). You’ll learn how to find your way around, get information into and out of DEVONthink, and make the most of the program’s key features. This book was written by Joe Kissell and edited by Tonya Engst.
I almost don’t know where to begin. That’s my problem as an author, and it may be your problem as a user, too. DEVONthink is an information management tool with a marvelously deep, rich set of features, and it can adapt itself to just about any set of needs or work preferences. That’s the good news; the bad news is that this wealth of power is like a 50-page restaurant menu in which every dish sounds equally delicious. There are so many excellent choices that finding a clear strategy to make the most of the meal—or the software, as the case may be—can be a daunting prospect.
My goal in this book is to do just that: to help you wrap your brain around DEVONthink’s extensive options and figure out how best to use it to accomplish your goals. Whether you are starting out with the program for the first time or are a seasoned user looking for ways to get more out of it, I hope to show you where to focus, what to try, and how to think about DEVONthink in the most effective way.
DEVONthink already has plenty of good documentation in the form of built-in help files. The purpose of this book is neither to replace that information nor to explain the operation of every command and button. Rather than create an exhaustive reference guide, I’ve concentrated on the key tasks you’ll want to accomplish. After providing an overview of the program’s main concepts and interface, I walk you through the principal activities you’ll do over and over, such as getting information into DEVONthink; organizing, finding and working with that information within the program; and, finally, getting the information back out (exporting or sharing it).
And if all that leaves you hungry for more, I also provide a bit of dessert—a chapter that goes a bit deeper into some of the program’s advanced capabilities.
Since the first edition of this book was published, DEVONthink has had 12 (and counting) updates, meaning DEVONtechnologies is constantly working on improving the software. It also means that since the time I wrote this second edition of this book (when DEVONthink version 2.3.3 was current, and the new sync and scan plugins were in public beta testing), any number of things may have changed—new features may have been added, bugs fixed, interface elements rearranged, and so on.
Unfortunately, we can’t update this book as frequently as the software, so you may occasionally encounter something in the book that doesn’t quite match with what you see on your screen. I don’t expect these small inconsistencies to cause you any problems, but I do recommend reading the release notes for each update of DEVONthink you install for details on what’s new. And be sure to access the online Ebook Extras for this ebook and check this book’s blog page from time to time to see if I’ve added any new information.
This book helps you find your way around DEVONthink and use its most important features effectively. Each chapter builds on the one before it, so I recommend reading the book sequentially. If you choose to jump around, please read at least the first two chapters—Understand DEVONthink Basics and Explore DEVONthink’s Interface—which will help you understand the rest of the material.
DEVONthink has been updated quite a few times since I wrote the first edition of this book, and even though the software is still “DEVONthink 2” (that is, version 2.x), the latest version as I write this text—version 2.3.3—includes hundreds of differences from version 2.0. (I am reliably informed that the next major update, version 2.5—due at some point in the first several months of 2012—will still closely match what this book describes.) In addition, since the first edition appeared, Apple released Mac OS X 10.7 Lion, which introduces its own long list of changes.
Accordingly, I’ve updated this book in many ways, both large and small.
Tip: If you already read the first edition of this book, take a glance at Quicker Start for First Edition Readers!
Among the most significant changes are the following:
This ebook was released in tandem with DEVONthink version 2.3.3 and is completely up to date for that version. It covers the Personal, Professional, and Pro Office editions. Where important differences among the editions occur in the text, the ebook notes them using a yellow "note" box.
There are lots of great ways to read our ebooks on these devices. For more details, please read our latest Device Advice.
Feel free to ask us if you have a question about this title!
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March 21, 2012-- Now that we've released this new edition, we have no immediate plans to create an update.
—Tonya J Engst
March 4, 2013 --
When we released the second edition of Take Control of Getting Started with DEVONthink 2—almost exactly a year ago, in March 2012—I included a chapter about a new database syncing capability that, at the time, was in beta testing with a final release expected within a few months. On page 154, I wrote:
This book is being published before the public beta test is finished, and the sync feature is likely to change somewhat before it’s finalized. Therefore, in this chapter I provide only an overview of this new feature and omit specific, step-by-step details. Instead, I plan to create a screencast that will walk you through the entire process. I’ll make that available at some point after DEVONthink version 2.5 has shipped...
It took longer than anyone had anticipated, but DEVONthink version 2.5 finally shipped last week (see DEVONthink and DEVONnote 2.5 in TidBITS, 28 February 2013), and finally the sync feature is available to everyone. (DEVONthink 2.5 includes quite a few other changes, too, including a greatly revamped Web sharing feature.) Not only that, but DEVONtechnologies has their own screencast about using the sync feature that's probably even better than what I would have come up with myself. So instead of creating my own, I'll refer you to theirs. You can view it within DEVONthink by choosing Help > Tutorials and clicking the link to the Synchronizing tutorial (if it's not immediately visible, click the left or right arrow to navigate to it) or on the Vimeo Web site.
The way syncing works has changed a bit over the last year; the layout of the Sync preference pane (an early version of which appeared in Figure 56 on page 156) is slightly different, and DEVONthink no longer uses the term "Folder" (see p. 158) for a copy of your database on a local or network volume; instead, that's now called a Local Sync Store. Otherwise, pretty much everything I said in the book is still correct. However, there is a workaround to a problem I described in the "Syncing with Dropbox" sidebar on page 160, in which syncing with Dropbox duplicates all your data. Choose Preferences from the Dropbox menu, click Advanced, click the Change Settings button next to Selective Sync, and deselect DEVONthink within the Apps folder. That way, your Mac won't store yet another copy of your entire database locally, wasting considerable disk space.
As for Web sharing, which I discuss starting on page 178, the layout and wording in the Server preference pane is a bit different now. Apart from some wording differences, the most significant change is the addition of a checkbox: "Convert images & PDF documents to searchable PDF." If you select that checkbox, then image files and PDFs uploaded to your database over the Web will be made searchable automatically, just as if you had selected the documents in your own database and chosen Data > Convert > to Searchable PDF.
The Web interface itself—what people see when they connect to your DEVONthink server—is also considerably improved. It's more pleasant to look at, especially on an iOS device, and has additional features such as support for renaming, moving, grouping, tagging, and deleting existing documents; and adding plain text documents (not just notes).
July 25, 2012 --
Everything in Take Control of Getting Started with DEVONthink is still valid in OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion. Pretty much everywhere the book refers to “Lion,” take it to mean “Lion or Mountain Lion.” For example, I talk about Lion's Full Screen mode; in Mountain Lion, it's the same.
March 26, 2010 --
In MacVoices #1066, Joe decompresses from his many months of writing work to complete Take Control of Getting Started with DEVONthink 2 and chats with host Chuck Joiner about some unique aspects of the DEVONthink ebook project. He talks what DEVONthink is, describing it as "a centralized-storage-place, seach-tool, indexing, document-management everything, for just about any kind of information, and that's only the beginning." He also discusses various DEVONthink features and concepts, and how to get up and running with DEVONthink.
—Tonya J Engst
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