DEVONthink and Bookends

DEVONthink and Bookends work nicely together: DEVONthink Pro and up come with a smart template for quickly linking to references in Bookends, accept references dragged over from your collection, and Bookends can store “item links” for any document in DEVONthink. Just recently Sonny Software released Bookends 12 with an exciting set of new features. Check it out!

PS (1): If you had already downloaded Bookends 12 and it broke the drag-and-drop feature with DEVONthink please simply re-download it. Sonny Software have fixed this issue with a silent update.

PS (2): The next release of DEVONthink Pro and up will offer even better integration with Bookends.

19 Responses to “DEVONthink and Bookends”

  1. Ihab A Hosny says:

    How to integrate articles in DEVONthink pro office into Bookends? Do I have to manually import each article? or the entire database at once?

  2. eboehnisch says:

    @ Ihab: Importing the whole database doesn’t make too much sense. We’d recommend building a material collection and adding references where necessary either by drag-and-drop or smart template.

  3. jlstaats says:

    Is there anything special about Bookends that makes it easier to use with DEVONthink than Sente?

  4. eboehnisch says:

    @ jlstaats: We have a more direct integration with Bookends like that it’s possible to drag references from Bookends to create a document in DEVONthink that links back to it. We cooperate directly with Sonny Software to create a useful integration of the two apps.

  5. John says:

    I’d love to see an integration of import from Bookends references that works the same way as with Scrivener or Mellel: A keyboard shortcut (cmd-y) in DEVONthink that makes Bookends the frontmost application.

    Then in Bookends you choose a reference and hit cmd-y once again and now DEVONthink becomes the frontmost application and the interim citation—like {Miller, 2005}—gets pasted at the insertion point.

    This is what you get with drag & drop already, I know, but keystrokes would make it so much easier.

    The detailed reference you get when you import from Bookends via the Apple Script is great but not everybody needs that. Me, I always use the short interim citation because that is enough for me as an identifier. Only later when I copy the exerpt the reference belongs to into the writing app and the text is finished, I scan it with Bookends to give it its final format.

  6. jda says:

    @ John

    Although it’s not a smooth as the workflow you’ve outlined, you can get the basics of your request to work now.

    In Bookends, set DEVONthink as your linked application (you can do that on-the-fly in the File menu, no need to set it in preferences). When you press Command-Y in Bookends, it will copy the temp citation to the clipboard and switch back to DT. Press Command-V and the temp cite will be placed at the insertion point.

    Sonny Software

  7. eboehnisch says:

    @ John: Using System Preferences you could assign a shortcut to the “Reference from Bookends” smart template. This would work almost the same: select something in Bookends, switch to DEVONthink Pro, and hit the shortcut. Done.

  8. Alex says:

    The integration DEVONthink and Bookends is great. I use Bookends for organizing my references and citations as notecards (I also use Bookends on Tap for reading and write notecards). In DEVONthink I organize my excerpts. I use the “new file: reference from Bookends” and write there my summary. I only miss the import of the notecards from Bookends. With the update I saw the Abstract is copied to DEVONthink, but not my notecards. So the citations I have, I have to copy them manual from Bookends into my excerpt.
    Perhaps this is a point for the next update or is this function already there but I don´t find it?
    Go so on – science work makes much more fun with Bookends and DEVONthink!

  9. eboehnisch says:

    @ Alex: Which field exactly do you want to get copied? “Notecard”? Bookends has, literally, hundreds of fields that one can use. Feel free to email me (use our contact form).

  10. Jon says:

    @eboehnisch He wants the Notes field. This is N1 in the RIS output.

  11. jmm says:


    Dragging a reference from BookEnds to DT creates a document, but I can’t see it linking back to BD, does it?

    As for the AppleScritp, I use a similar one with BibDesk. But where is it exactly in DT? I can’t find it!


  12. eboehnisch says:

    @ The URL should link back to Bookends, see e.g. navigation bar. You have to hold the ⌘Command and ⌥Option keys while dragging. Alternatively import multiple references via File > Import > References from Bookends…

  13. Paul Mann says:

    I really like this feature linking DT and Bookends, but it seems that when you run import references its only brings in the RTF file and not the attached pdf? Am I doing something wrong. The real advantage of bringing files into DT is to allow full pdf searching with ‘AI’, so I find it strange that it doesn’t also index the pdf file?
    Is there anyway to do this?

  14. eboehnisch says:

    At the moment the script only creates an RTF from the information in Bookends; it does not import attachments as this is not easily possible with the API available in Bookends at the moment. We might support importing attachments in the future but need to talk to the Bookends author first.

  15. Guilherme says:

    Here is my scenario:

    I have a single library with all of my bookend references in one place (no groups, no nothing…all in the ALL group os Bookends). Some reference I do have the PDF…while I don’t have for some others…

    And then…

    I have my database in DT PRO. What I want is import a reference (with or without PDF, don’t care) to Bookends library from PubMed, Scopus, Google Scholar (doesn’t matter either)…
    then each time I do this…automatically send a .RTF to my DT PRO database.

    I know that we have the “Import > references from Bookends…” but the thing is that I Don’t want to manually do this everytime I put some reference in Bookends…

    Hope I was clear in my question!!

    Thanks in advance!!!

  16. jneumann says:

    Thanks for your question, Guilherme. Could you open a Support Ticket at so we can better help you with your request? Thanks!

  17. stringer says:

    Do people store and annotate their pdfs in Bookends or in DTPO? I had thought to keep pdfs in a dropbox folder allowing sync with Bookends to go and any other app if needed, and then index this in DTPO. Would there be any advantage to storing the pdfs directly in DTPO and placing a link to them in the Bookends notes field (as above) for instance? Presumably I would then need DT to go to sync and access on iOS.

  18. Yossi Chajes says:

    I have the same question as stringer. My PDFs are now in The bookends iCloud – but perhaps dtpro would better index them, etc.?

  19. Jim Neumann says:

    @Yossi: This question is better asked on our Forums ( Thanks!