DEVONthink To Go reviewed

From time to time I link to interesting reviews of our applications. MacStories‘s Federico Viticci uses his iPad Pro for everything and now moved to DEVONthink To Go for his document management needs:

Copy Item LinkDEVONthink To Go goes beyond Apple Notes’ simple but effective note-taking and Documents’ traditional file management features. On the surface, it’s an advanced file manager that can be used to move notes and files around, but I see it more as a powerful research tool for documents you need to reference, search, and integrate with other iOS apps.

I believe DEVONthink’s thoughtful blend of excellent capturing and search tools, unification of file formats, and inter-app document linking can help me offset the limitations of file management on the iPad. For this reason, I’m going to adapt DEVONthink to my writing workflow for longform stories I have planned this year. I’m glad I took DEVONthink for another spin. Read the full article.

Skip of GeekDad describes the DEVONthink/DEVONthink To Go ecosystem and how he uses the pair of applications:

I am a big proponent of utilizing technology to make your life more simple. DEVONthink has allowed me to stop having to spend a lot of time or significant amount of thought on managing data… it now does this for me. If that isn’t a good use of technology I don’t know what is. Read the full article.

And finally, Thyra of geekyorganizer loves DEVONthink To Go 2.1’s document provider:

Document ProviderMit ein bisschen Suchen und Probieren bin ich in fast jeder App, bei der ich das Feature vermutet habe, fündig geworden. Ich finde es schade, dass bei der Entwicklung von iOS-Apps hier nicht mehr auf Einheitlichkeit geachtet wird, denn das ist ein tolles Feature, mit dem das iPad definitiv ein Stück produktiver wird.

With some looking around and trying I found this feature in almost every app where I suspected it could be available. What a pity that this is not really standardized — every app does it a bit differently — because it’s a great feature that makes the iPad a lot more productive. Read the full article (in German language).

Thank you, Federico, Skip, and Thyra!

12 Responses to “DEVONthink To Go reviewed”

  1. Ihab Hosny says:

    I would love to use Devonthink pro office and Devonthink to Go for everything, but the lack of iCloud syncing is a big hindrance. I work at a hospital and because of security many of the cloud sync services are blocked by a firewall, except for iCloud (go figure). Are there any plans for iCloud support? or am I mistaken in thinking that iCloud is not supported?

    All the Best

  2. @ Ihab Hosny: No, iCloud syncing with DEVONthink To Go is not supported at the moment as the API for iCloud Drive on iOS side is too restricted for what we need to use for our synchronization. We’ll support iCloud as soon as we can.

  3. Emanuel says:

    Devonthink to go is quite good, but up to now it unfortunately still lacks some features that would make other apps like “Drafts” or “Evernote” obsolte, which are:

    1. Please add a widget menu for iOS asap! It would be great to have access to the last used notes or add a new note, picture or voice recording on the fly.

    2. DTTG still needs more text editing features, in particular checkboxes and way more formatting options! Yeah, markdown is great and all, but nevertheless…

    3. Please add a “real” apple pencil drawing engine, like the guys from “GoodNotes” or from Readdle do. The pencil vector engine is horrible :-/

    4th and last one:
    The PDF editing capabilities are still a little bit wonky when it comes to highlighting. The text selection method is unsuitable and it’s quite complicated to “de-colour” highlighted text.

    Apart from that I strongly want to point out that DTTG is my n. 1 file management app and is definitely worth checking out – I’m using it every day.
    But please, guys, in order to really shine and being taken seriously as a *notes* app (not only as a document management app) it desperately NEEDS such features!

  4. @ Emanuel: You mean like a widget for the notification center? We have improvements for text editing on our to-do list. Regarding Apple Pencil: What file format would you suggest?

  5. Matt says:

    Eric: I couldn’t tell you what the native format for a handwritten note file should be (although output to PDF would probably be important). Whatever format, it needs to be able to take many pages of handwritten notes without crashing or running out of memory and losing some of the notes. That happened to me recently as I was note taking by “annotating” a PDF of blank lined paper.

    Note that I do not care about searchability of handwritten text because I have terrible handwriting that no system can recognize. But that’s just me.

  6. @ Matt: The biggest problem here is that there’s no proper standardized file format except for PDF. We are looking into a few options already.

  7. Emanuel says:

    Unfortunately I’m not into technical details regarding the handwriting engine, but as an every day user I can tell you what DTTG is still lacking.
    Again: I mean no offense, DT and DTTG are one of the most powerful tools out there – and the encryption is a game changer for me; his way I’m not afraid of synching via Dropbox.

    1. The audio note and text note features are great, but it takes too much time to create a note on the fly while riding the tram or waiting for the bus. The best way would be to organize the iOS widget like a combination of Evernote and drafts. Shortcuts for creating a picture, text, handwritten or audio note and access to the last 1-3 notes.

    2. Markdown is also great but it would be great if there were more text formatting options when it comes down to simple text or rtf. Another option: Why not adding a toolbar above the standard iOS toolbar with commands for markdown? (Think of iA Writer)

    3. Afaik DTTG makes no difference between the apple pencil and your finger when highlighting PDF text. This means that I can’t highlight text and scroll through a pdf file at the same time. Take a look at Readdle’s “PDF Expert” for iOS. This is how PDF annotation in every sense (writing, highlighting etc.) should be!

    Sure, I’m aware that bringing in the features are a lot of work – but:
    If you could manage to enhance the note taking and PDF annotating features of DTTG, DTTG would be “THE” combination of a powerful database *and* powerful note app!
    By now users are still somewhat “forced” to use other apps for proper note taking and DTTG for file accessing.
    DTTG would be the most secure and powerful note taking app out there.

    Also I’d love to suggest other features regarding DT and DTTG, which are:
    – Users should be able to create and access the outline and bookmark functions in DT and DTTG. This would make navigation in PDF files in DT and DTTG way more easier.

    – How about adding a night mode to DT and DTTG? The bright white is hard to look at when working during late hours

    Eric: Thank you very much for your time and compassion! You guys are doing a great job – thanks to you my life has become a lot more structured with Devonthink!

  8. Andre says:

    regarding the apple pencil handwriting engine:
    – please improve it
    – please check good notes / pdf expert / noteshelf !
    it would be perfect to have all documents, handwritten notes in one secure app. AND what makes you outstanding: with devonthink you could put a link to a handwritten note into omnifocus / 2do to open the specified note when it comes to action later

  9. Donni says:

    I second the above comments!
    Please take a look at Notability app – ease of use/stability/simplicity/amazing Apple Pencil ways. But it lacks what dttg has for organization and syncs. It has a huge niche following in the education sector for good reason. Scrolling infinite like a notebook, smooth Apple Pencil, type anywhere quickly.
    If you are wondering about format go with PDF!
    Keep up the good work!

  10. Alexander says:


    yes, please please add Apple Pencil support, combined with a good handwriting recognition like in Good Notes. I am happy to pay for such an update. And to get rid of Evernote. And to use handwritten notes in Omnifocus via DT.

    Please! 🙂

  11. Dan says:

    Is iCloud Drive syncing supported yet?

  12. @ Dan: No, we’re afraid. We still need to find a good way to do this using the iOS APIs that are not build for this.