DEVONthink alternatives?

With DEVONthink one can also have all the files conventionally organized in the filesystem by indexing them into the database(s) rather than importing them. I do this with all my databases. If one chooses to import documents into the DEVONthink database(s) instead, documents are also 100% accessible and/or exportable. There is no proprietary data format system in DEVONthink that holds the uses’ data captive. Happy user of DEVONthink here for over 16 years now…

That feature is precisely what attracted me to FileCenter on the Windows platform. In spite of moving to a Mac and likely to EagleFiler, my data is all backed up in a non-proprietary folder/file system which will allow me to easily migrate it to my new system.

I don’t want to use any more applications in my paperless workflow that have proprietary databases. This system is going to be perhaps my largest archive next to my photography work and I don’t want to find myself one day unable to access it without extensive conversion to another format.

If all else fails, I would just use the native Mac file structure for document storage. It’s not as elegant or full featured, but at least I maintain access to my data in a standardized format!


Even though you have your data as conventional files, you will - I believe - still have to import or capture them into EF; but I suspect this can be done folder by folder; and is straightforward in either case.

Suggest putting your situation to both the EF and DT (against which I have absolutely nothing: great company!) folks and see what they say.

What I like about EF (and DT may well do the same) is the balance it achieves by managing (indexing, allowing searching, organizing, importing, allowing opening from within the application, cataloguing, segmenting by colour, tagging, assigning status to, intelligently taking care of metadata etc) your docs and files with the fact that they remain docs and files completely accessible in the future.

Anyone using keep it by reinvented software?

There’s some discussion about it here:

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I think I found a serious alternative to DEVONthink called keep it. It’s far less powerful and barely has any of the bells and whistles that DEVONthink has but it sports a modern UI and works pretty well.

I imported a big DT database to give it a try but the app couldn’t handle the amount of files and got very slow. I messaged the dev and about a week later a few performance updates got pushed (very likely unrelated to my message but still), now everything works fine.

I’m going to try to use it instead of DT over the next days/weeks but so far I like what I’m seeing. I miss e2e encryption and Dropbox sync though. Jumping around folders and moving files quickly in big databases needs a bit of work.

/ edit
Oh I just noticed that someone mentioned keep it already before here. Whoops

I too use DEVONthink, but I really wish they would upgrade the software. Because I want to keep my databases on my iOS devices, DEVONthink is really the best alternative out there. I can do a direct sync without having to put any information in the cloud.

I also use a Synology NAS, and I’m going to investigate whether there is another tool that will allow me to sync information across devices using the NAS. My only other requirement is that it must do more than just manage files, otherwise I’ll use Finder to do that. I like the auto-classify feature of DT. I wish Omni would come up with something in this space.

I use both DEVONThink and Tinderbox. They serve very different purposes. TB is excellent for making and managing notes; DT is great for general information storage and retrieval. Neither is an alternative to the other

Since this old thread got revived:

With DEVONthink 3 released it closed the search for a new app for me. DT3 is excellent and does almost everything I want it to do. It’s my most used app these days and no other app I tried comes close. (Keep It is getting there but I had performance issues every time I tried it)

The new UI is sleek, smart rules are powerful and a lot of shortcuts got added for quickly navigating and moving things around. If I had to really nitpick, DEVONthink to go is the weakest link but I’m sure they’re working on something new already

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