Tuesday Tip: Import with OCR via Drag-and-Drop

The Folder Action Scripts that we supply with DEVONthink Pro (Office) allows you to turn any folder, e.g. one on your Desktop, into a hot folder. To attach a script to a folder of your choice, do the following:

  1. Open DEVONthink Pro and choose Help > Install Add-Ons. Check Folder Actions and install. This creates the “Folder Action Scripts” in ~/Library/Scripts and places our scripts.
  2. Or, of this is not available in your version: Copy the scripts from the folder “Extras/Scripts/Folder Actions/” on the disk image to “~/Library/Scripts/Folder Action Scripts/”. If this folder does not exist, create it. “~” marks your home directory.
  3. Select the folder you want to use as a hot folder, right-click it, and choose Services > Folder Actions Setup.
  4. Choose the action script of your choice and attach it to the folder.

Your hot folder is ready now! Drop any file into the folder and it will be automatically added to DEVONthink Pro (Office).

What these script don’t yet do is import a scan, OCR it, and delete the raw scan when the import was successful. Download the new “DEVONthink – Import, OCR & Delete” script, install it in ~/Library/Scripts/Folder Action Scripts”, and attach it a folder. It moves the original file to the trash when it has been successfully imported. This script will also be come by default on the disk image of the next release of DEVONthink Pro Office.

17 Responses to “Tuesday Tip: Import with OCR via Drag-and-Drop”

  1. JLS says:


    When I go to the disk image, I see Extras/Scripts, but no Folder Actions and no Import & OCR.scpt. Within Extras/Scripts, my only choices are Mail, Droplets, and Examples. I just updated to the latest version of the program, so I’m assuming that I have a current disk image. Where am I going wrong?

  2. Eric says:

    @JLS: You are right, we recently changed this. I have revised the article. Thanks for notifying me 🙂

  3. Bud James says:

    I tried the script, but nothing happens when I drop scanned PDFs into the hot folder.



  4. Andrew says:

    Eric —

    I do not see the Import & OCR.scpt either, even after your revisions. I have the latest update.

  5. Eric says:

    @Bud James: Is the script correctly attached? Do you use the correct edition, DEVONthink Pro Office, and is it installed in one of the recommended locations, e.g. /Applications or ~/Applications?

  6. Eric says:

    @Andrew: Had you checked the option “Folder Actions” in the Install Ad-Ons… dialog? Are any folder actions installed in ~/Library/Scripts for you then?

  7. gameboy213 says:

    I have tried this as well. I just downloaded the add ons and setup the folder. Everything seems correct but there is no option to Import and OCR.

    Can this be fixed?

  8. gameboy213 says:

    I also have no Extras folder with the script in it.

  9. Eric says:

    @gameboy213: I have just deleted my folder ~/Library/Scripts/Folder Actions completely and then used Help > Install Add-Ons… from within DEVONthink Pro Office to re-install them. All are there now, including one for Import & OCR.

  10. Eric says:

    OK, great confusion here. The “Import & OCR” action was never part of the official release but only used internally. Sorry, my fault! I have adjusted the article accordingly.

  11. […] consider subscribing to the RSS feed or our free newsletter.Two weeks ago I have written about how to turn any folder into a hot folder by attaching “Folder Action Scripts” such as the mentioned “Import, OCR & […]

  12. Gordon Claridge says:

    Like much of what I try to do / install in DT it doesn’t work – as usual, it seems that the instructions were written with a different version of DT in mind than the one I just downloaded (and paid for – more fool me).
    My growing impression is that DT has become so complex and bloated that many parts of it don’t work and the “support” staff don’t want to know. First time I’ve ever come across a defensive support person with no interest in pursuing a problem apart from denying that I am experiencing it – not this problem with an add-on, something much more germane to my needs in relation to DT.

  13. Eric says:

    Well, this Tuesday Tip is over a year old and e.g. the location of Install Add-Ons has changed since then. But regarding the defensive support staff: please email me your ticket number so that I can check was was going on.

  14. Jeff says:

    I hate to resurrect an old post, but I have a problem with this script.

    Whenever I drag an item into the folder, I keep getting an annoying error pop-up saying that the document does not exist (the script deletes it too fast). It DOES exist, though, and imports into DEVONthink just fine.

    Is there any way to kill this erroneous pop-up? It’s REALLY annoying when batch processing a large number of PDF’s. A new pop-up manifests for every individual document. -__-

    Pic of what I’m talking about: http://i.imgur.com/jlKtBpt.png


  15. Randy Stokes says:

    Hi. I recently had to reformat and reinstall Mavericks on my MacBook Air. I used to have this working on my Mac, but cannot now get this to work after reinstallation. I’ve installed all the DTPO scripts and “attached” the Import, OCR and Delete script to the correct folder, but I get a notification that the Applescript failed.

  16. eboehnisch says:

    @ Randy: Public blog comments are not really suitable for customer support. Could you please send us a detailed description of what you did and what happens when you do what to our support team? Thank you.

  17. Randy Stokes says:

    Thanks. Actually, the problem seemed to mysteriously solve itself. But if the problem returns, I will go through customer support.