Tuesday Tip: Export your data transparently

When you add your documents and clippings to DEVONthink, you’re never locked in. DEVONthink provides you with a variety of export options based on standard file formats, not obscure XML constructs or even proprietary file formats. Whatever you store in DEVONthink, you’ll get it out in exactly that format again.

To export documents as standard files, select them in your DEVONthink database and select File > Export > As Files and Folders. DEVONthink recreates the group structure in your database as closely as possible, additional metadata is added in the form of harmless ‘DEVONthink_storage’ files (simple text files).

Alternatively, DEVONthink can export your documents in a number of formats that require conversion, e.g. as pure text, rich text, or OPML. Multiple selected email messages can also be exported in the standard Unix mailbox format. You can find all export options in the File > Export sub-menu.

Additional tip: DEVONthink Pro and Pro Office also offer a number of convenient scripts for exporting your data e.g. as a backup archive that contains all your documents in their original file formats, i.e. DEVONthink-independent. You can find them in Scripts > Export (note: the Scripts menu shows a stylized ‘S’ instead of the word ‘Scripts’).

8 Responses to “Tuesday Tip: Export your data transparently”

  1. Richard Davidson says:

    I wish to save all of the actual documents in my data base to another disk or possible to Dropbox. I realize some of the backup features in Devonthink are for index saving only and some are for both index and actual documentation. How can I save the documents and indexing on another drive on a regular basis?

  2. eboehnisch says:

    @ Richard Davidson: To save the complete database to another Mac simply copy the .dtBase2 package to your other Mac or to Dropbox. It contains everything that makes up the database including importing documents and the index. Just make sure that DEVONthink Pro (Office) is closed before you copy and that all files have been fully copied before you open the database on the other side. Dropbox is a bit tricky as you need to check if there are still transfers in progress both on the sending and the receiving side.

  3. Thorsten says:

    I wish to export all files automatically. The function File > Export > As Files and Folders is that what I need. But I want to do it periodically using a script. Is there option to do that?

  4. eboehnisch says:

    @Thorsten: Yes, DEVONthink Pro (Office) is fully scriptable. You could write a script that exports what you want and use a third-party utility to run it on a schedule.

  5. Thorsten says:

    Thanks for the clarification. Do you have a PDF or a URL for me as entry for learning how to script this.

  6. eboehnisch says:

    @ Thorsten: Our user forum is a great start with boards dedicated to scripting. The build-in help of DEVONthink Pro (Office) also has a chapter about scripting including tips and links.

  7. Mike says:

    I’m managing a large indexing project. I receive new entries in the form of spreadsheets, and I use the Concordance tool to identify potential typos. How can I share the Concordance with the contributing indexers. I would like to send them parts of the Concordance display in a common format (e.g. text file or PDF).


  8. jneumann says:

    What would determine what “parts” would be needed? (I’m thinking “parts” wouldn’t be very easily done.)