Manage your information with the powerful tools in DEVONthink 3

Take Control of
DEVONthink 3

Joe Kissell
(3 customer reviews)

DEVONthink 3 offers a slew of features for defeating information overload, but mastering its power is easier with real-world advice from DEVONthink power user Joe Kissell. He helps you understand the best ways to put information into DEVONthink and how to organize it so you can find it later. He also covers syncing DEVONthink databases among your Apple devices and using DEVONthink To Go in iOS and iPadOS.

All Take Control books are delivered in three ebook formats—PDF, EPUB, and Mobipocket (Kindle)—and can be read on nearly any device.



With the information-management app DEVONthink 3, you no longer have to swim in a sea of web bookmarks, email receipts, RSS feeds, scanned memos, and downloaded bank statements. 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 book—created in partnership with DEVONtechnologies—has the real-world advice you need to understand how DEVONthink can bring order to your information.

You’ll also learn how to extend your DEVONthink experience beyond your main Mac with detailed coverage of the many ways you can sync DEVONthink databases to other Macs and to iOS/iPadOS devices using the DEVONthink To Go app.

After covering essential DEVONthink vocabulary and concepts, including the completely reworked user interface of DEVONthink 3, Joe helps you start using DEVONthink effectively. You’ll learn how to:

  • Decide how many databases you need and set them up
  • Determine whether to input or index data
  • Configure where incoming data will go
  • Import data from many different apps
  • Import data from a scanner, including OCR options
  • Use grouping and tagging to organize data
  • Add and work with DEVONthink 3’s expanded metadata capabilities
  • Use simple (and sophisticated) techniques for searching
  • Create smart groups that automatically gather newly imported data
  • Use smart rules and AppleScript to automate countless activities within DEVONthink
  • Create documents in plain text, HTML, Markdown, and more
  • Edit documents in DEVONthink (or externally)
  • Find the best way to sync DEVONthink data with other devices
  • Work with reminders, smart templates, and other sophisticated tools
  • Convert documents between formats
  • Effectively use the DEVONthink To Go iOS/iPadOS app
  • Share DEVONthink documents with other people
  • Export documents from DEVONthink
  • Back up and maintain healthy databases

Questions answered in the book include:

  • What is DEVONthink good for, and what should be left to other apps?
  • What kinds of data can I import? (Short answer: Nearly everything!)
  • How can I display my data in a way that works well for me?
  • When I import documents from different sources, where do they end up, and why?
  • Is it better to sort imported documents right away, or leave them for later?
  • Should I group my data, tag it, or both?
  • What are duplicates and replicants, and how can I tell them apart?
  • Which types of data can be created or edited within DEVONthink?
  • How do I make my DEVONthink database accessible via the web using DEVONthink Server?
  • How do I move documents out of DEVONthink using the Share feature?
  • How do I use DEVONthink To Go on my iOS/iPadOS device?

Plus, we now plan to update this free book approximately four times per year for the foreseeable future to cover ongoing changes in DEVONthink and add new tips and advice!

Joe Kissell

About Joe Kissell

Take Control publisher Joe Kissell has written more than 60 books about technology, including many popular Take Control books. He also runs Interesting Thing of the Day and is a contributing editor of TidBITS and a senior contributor to Macworld.

What’s New in Version 1.5

This fifth quarterly update (for Q1 2021) adds information about changes in DEVONthink 3.6.2 for Mac and DEVONthink To Go 3 for iOS/iPadOS. The most significant changes are:

  • Described somewhat different behavior when searching; see “Do an Advanced Search”
  • Covered the new iCloud (CloudKit) sync method; see “Sync Locations”
  • Revised my advice for which sync method to use; see “Choose Your Sync Method(s)”
  • Completely overhauled the chapter “Use DEVONthink To Go” to cover version 3, which contains many new features and significant user interface changes

What Was New in Version 1.4

This fourth quarterly update of this book brings it up to date with DEVONthink 3.6.1 and DEVONthink To Go 2.7.8, as well as reflecting a few changes in macOS 11 Big Sur. It also removed a few remaining mentions of iOS 12, and now covers iOS 13/iPadOS 13 and later. Apart from an assortment of minor corrections and clarifications, notable changes include:

  • Added a link to information on simulating the old Three Pane view; see “Missing Views”
  • Mentioned improved handling of incoming and outgoing document links; see “Document Inspector” and “Create a Standard Link”
  • Described new DEVONthink services; see “Use the Services Menu”
  • Included the Resolution setting in “Configure OCR Preferences”
  • Added new methods to duplicate and replicate documents; see “Duplicate and Replicate Documents”
  • Included new search options in “Search Within a Document”
  • Added information on making high-level changes to PDFs; see “Edit PDFs”
  • Covered additional conversion options; see “Convert Document Formats”
  • Updated a handful of the graphics to reflect Big Sur’s appearance

August 13, 2020—We plan to release updates to this book approximately once per quarter for the foreseeable future, to cover changes to DEVONthink and add more details.

3 reviews for Take Control of DEVONthink 3

  1. Magnus Laubenstein (verified owner)

    Great addition to the Manual. Love the app, really like the way Joe Kissell explains things. The app can do so much for you and it is really worth finding all out.

  2. Alfonso Campuzano (verified owner)

    If you generate a lot of documents, this is the right app, and this book explain all the functionality clearly and easy.

    Excellent work

  3. James Schmidt (verified owner)

    I’m afraid what is really needed right now is yet another update that will help those of us attempting to deal with the data losses associated with rollout of DevonThink to Go version 3.

  4. Joe Kissell

    Hi James,

    I have not experienced or heard of data loss problems when moving to DEVONthink To Go 3, but that sounds like the kind of problem you’ll need to contact DEVONtechnologies for help with. We don’t claim to offer solutions to every problem or workarounds to every bug—all we do here is explain how to use the apps. (And, if there’s a problem DEVONtechnologies can’t help you with, I’m sorry to say that there’s nothing we’ll be able to do that goes beyond that.)


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