2.2 - Uses for DEVONthink

So let's take a minute to look at the uses for DEVONthink. I have to admit, I was hesitant to include this section because, in reality, there are as many uses for DEVONthink as there are DEVONthink users. The application is very powerful. And everybody that learns the application kind of finds their own way of using it. But either way, I think there are really three big categories of uses for DEVONthink. 

The first is file management. Now, you may be thinking you have a Finder. Finder is good at managing files, but so is DEVONthink. It's really what I consider the Finder plus because not only can it store files and keep them in nested folders or groups as DEVONthink calls them, it can also do a lot more with those files once it is incorporated into the system. For example, DEVONthink has a built-in linking system. So you can grab a link from a DEVONthink file, and then embed that link anywhere else on your Mac, and DEVONthink will jump right to that file anytime you click on that link. And those links also work on the mobile version. So it's great if you're working on an iPad or iPhone as well. Another example is that DEVONthink has a built-in rules management system that's very powerful and allows you to auto name and file and do a whole bunch of actions on your files inside DEVONthink, which are just not available in the Finder without third-party software, like Hazel. Another way that DEVONthink excels is with synchronization. You can apply your own password, so you can control the encryption of your data as it is moved between your devices. So, you know, overall, DEVONthink is a file management tool and I've just scratched the surface. In this video, as you go through the course, you're going to learn all the power tools that DEVONthink has as a file manager. 

The next use that a lot of people have for DEVONthink is as an artificial intelligence engine. And DEVONthink's artificial intelligence is quite powerful. And you see this in a number of ways beginning with the search. One of the things you'll notice about DEVONthink is that quite often when you search for a specific term, it will find documents and files that relate to that term that don't include that term. When I'm wearing my lawyer hat, I use DEVONthink to do legal research. And I've got this database full of law review articles and cases and laws. And the first time I did a search term and started realizing DEVONthink was giving me results that didn't actually include my search term, I was super impressed. Not only does the DEVONthink artificial intelligence help you out with your search, but it also helps you out with managing your documents. DEVONthink will try to figure out where your documents belong, for instance, and I'll cover that in the videos in this course. But you can have it auto sort documents for you or give you its best suggestion as to where they belong. The developers have been aggressive with artificial intelligence and, DEVONthink, since the beginning, and anywhere in the app they can find where they can put that to use to make the app make your work a little easier, they've done that. 

The third big use for DEVONthink is as a Notes app. With DEVONthink, you can write notes in rich text, or markdown, or plain text, all of the major text formats that you can think of. And DEVONthink gives you the ability to link those notes together. So in addition to seeing your resource documents, you can start writing right in DEVONthink. And it's a very powerful note-taking application. 

And while each one of these three features is powerful, it's when you take them together that you really get something special. With DEVONthink, you start with this foundation of a file system on steroids where you can add files and get additional features on them. And then you apply artificial intelligence to those file systems. And then you apply that with notes. And when you put all these three things in one application, you really come up with something quite special. And this is the reason why there are so many people so devoted to DEVONthink. 

Now, by the nature of the application, I'm going to have to break down instructing you on these elements individually. You know, we're going to talk, for some videos, about files and others about AI and others about notes. But think about this as we go through the course that these things really are meant to work all together. And as you start pulling these three, you know, legs of this pyramid together, that's when you really get the power out of DEVONthink and ... and how you balance that is up to you, and that's why everybody uses DEVONthink a little differently. But it is these three elements, files, AI, and notes, that are going to allow you to excel with DEVONthink.