Tuesday Tip: Use Multiple Databases

DEVONthink Pro and Pro Office come with the ability to use multiple databases simultaneously — and you might wonder what the advantages and disadvantages it may have to distribute your data over multiple databases vs. stuffing everything into one single database. So here’s a little list of the pros and cons.


• Databases can be individually opened or not, saving RAM.
• AI-related functions work much better with focused databases.
• Single databases can be easier saved to the iDisk or sent by email.


• The concordance, classification, and other AI-related functions only apply to one database at a time.
• Moving items from one database into another is slightly more work.

So, in one sentence: The main difference of multiple databases vs. one large database is that the AI functions are restriction to the contents of one database. If you create more focused databases the AI will work better.

2 Responses to “Tuesday Tip: Use Multiple Databases”

  1. Brian says:

    I own a license of DEVONthink Pro but haven’t started using it yet (but will soon). I’m not sure I “get” the importance of the cons. As someone who is not likely to be a real power user of DEVONthink, at least in the short term, can you say which approach may be better, and also expound on the cons? Also, if you start off with multiple databases, can you eventually merge them all together if you wanted to?
    Thank you.

  2. Eric says:

    @ Brian: You can, at any time, split one large database in to several smaller or combine multiple smaller database to a large one without losing any metadata.