Omnifocus vs. DEVONthink

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by Michael73, Mar 7, 2013.

  1. Michael73 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2007
    #1
    I'm an Omnifocus user and noticed that DEVONthink is included in the latest Macupdate promo bundle.

    For those with experience with both let me know what you like and don't about the programs. Do you use both at the same time or has one replaced another? Let me hear your experiences - go!

    From what I can tell already, the DEVONthink iPhone app is pretty weak and one thing I definitely like about Omnifocus is the seamless sync between my MP, MBP, iPad and iPhone.
     
  2. rocknblogger macrumors 68020

    rocknblogger

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2011
    Location:
    New Jersey
    #2
    I have Devonthink Pro Office and Omnifocus and I use them for completely different purposes. DT is an extremely powerful application and to be honest I don't use it to it's full potential. They have a trial version that allows you to use all functions. I recommend you download it and see for yourself. When you get to the end of the trial period you can request more time which they always grant you. Give it a try and see what you think.

    I use it for storing all my purchases, research (notes, links, web pages etc), school notes and assignments, business documents, all my PDF files and some other things. DT's strength is it's search function for the databases that you create. There are a number of ways to catalogue your data so you have options. You can set it up any way you want or need. It really is an awesome application.

    When you download it make sure to check out all the tutorials to get a feel for what it does and how to set it up.

    Good luck and I hope that helps.
     
  3. Zerozal macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2009
    Location:
    PA
    #3
    I have both and use both all the time, but you have to realize that they are completely different and should be used for different things. OmniFocus is a task manager and DevonThink is a document database.

    If you are familiar with GTD methodology, DevonThink stores what David Allen calls "Reference" information--it is basically an electronic filing cabinet for PDFs, other documents, notes, etc. A filing cabinet doesn't replace the need for a task management system (OmniFocus) or a calendar.
     
  4. santaliqueur macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2007
    #4
    I have a toaster oven (I love it!), but my local bike shop has mountain bikes on sale. Should I even bother getting one, given I already have this awesome toaster oven?
     
  5. jojoba macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2011
    #5
    This. Both are excellent apps. I use OmniFocus to manage all my to-do lists, and DevonThink to go paperless with personal admin, store a bunch of web clips for future research project, and store all my research notes. I've written a bit about OmniFocus here.
     
  6. rocknblogger macrumors 68020

    rocknblogger

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2011
    Location:
    New Jersey
    #6
    Hilarious but they are THAT different#
     
  7. Michael73 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2007
    #7
    I see some of you out there never miss a chance to poke a little fun :D

    The reason I asked about the two apps is that I have a bit of association going on. I started using Evernote to capture thoughts which mostly were to-dos like 'follow up with this person per their email request' or 'research the answer to this question and get back to so-and-so." The vast majority of the items I was jotting down stem from work and email and making sure certain things didn't fall through the cracks.

    Jumping back a bit in time I needed to buy Omnigraffle for a business project. I discovered that Omni offers a discount in their online store that for each additional app you buy, take an additional 5% off your order price up to 30%. At the same time I had a friend raving about Omnifocus so I thought "what the heck" and bought Omnigraffle, Omnifocus and several other apps to maximize the discount.

    Fast forward, I found some limitations in Evernote and remembering that I had Omnifocus, tried switching. So far Omnifocus which has fulfilled my needs very nicely.

    When I saw the bundle with DEVONthink I did a couple of web searches and it seems like there was a lot out there on DEVONthink vs. Evernote. In a classic case of "if A=B and B=C then A=C" I thought, "if people are using DEVONthink to replace Evernote and I used Omnifocus to replace Evernote, then maybe DEVONthink and Omnifocus overlap in their functionality.

    Thoughts?
     
  8. James Craner, Mar 8, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2013

    James Craner macrumors 68000

    James Craner

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2002
    Location:
    Bristol, UK
    #8
    Evernote is a document storage system that also allows you to create text notes that can be used to create simple to do lists.

    DEVONthink is a document storage database with built in intelligence to help you locate documents stored in it. DevonThink does have some rich text note creation facilities, which could be used to create a basic manual to do list, but is not its primary purpose. Evernote does have some additional checkbox type functionality to create simple to do lists.

    OmniFocus is a very powerful GTD (Getting Things Done) Task and project management App. It is way more powerful than a simple to do list that you can create in Evernote. Devonthink does not have to do list functionality, although you could have a task document (word, excel or text file for example) stored in it.

    So While Evernote has some basic functionality shared with OmniFocus, OmniFocus and Devonthink have nothing in common. It's a bit like saying a document folder is like OmniFocus, because you could store a to do list in it.
     
  9. MathRulz macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2011
    Location:
    Atlanta
    #9
    Others have well noted the major differences between OF and DT. One other tip is that DT Pro is on sale in the MacUpdate Promo, not DT Pro Office. If you already have a good scan and OCR set up, then no worries. You should also be able to upgrade later if you want to the Office version. I use DT Pro Office in conjunction with the Fujitsu ScanSnap 1500M. What a combo for going paperless!
     
  10. jojoba macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2011
    #10
    Both OmniFocus and Evernote can do some task management, and both Evernote and DevonThink can serve as a notes repository. But the leap from OmniFocus to DevonThink is huge.

    DevonThink is excellent IMO, and if you need an app to help you go paperless, and store, organise and easily retrieve all kinds of files, then get it.
     
  11. shutterstation macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2009
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    #11
    OmniFocus and Evernote

    If you use OmniFocus and Evernote together, I think the best way to do it is to keep them specific for different things. For example, I keep only projects and tasks in OF and all reference material exclusively in EN. Then I just copy/paste the link to the EN note into the OF task. The link above explains it in a bit more detail.
     
  12. rhett7660 macrumors G4

    rhett7660

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
    Location:
    Sunny, Southern California
    #12
    For those that use DEVONthink, does it allow you to keep the Database and it's contents outside of the default location? I have tried another item like this and it would only allow me to save in the default location.

    I have a boat load of PDF files that have scanned in and keep them in a encrypted dmg file that I save to. But it is resides on an external drive. Was wondering if it allows you to save the DB and it's files outside of the normal/default location or if you can customize where you want to save said files. Hope this makes sense.
     
  13. BayouTiger macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2008
    Location:
    New Orleans
    #13
    I keep my Devonthink databases (I have several) on external storage. It's also nice that you can always dig up the original with a "Show in Finder" option, much like iTunes.

    I use Devonthink as my ultimate replacement for Paperport which I used for years until Nuance screwed it up completely, only DPO is MUCH more powerful.

    One of those apps that has no equal as far as I am concerned and I have tried several others.
     
  14. rhett7660 macrumors G4

    rhett7660

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
    Location:
    Sunny, Southern California
    #14
    Thank you for the response. After looking at the comparison sheet looks like I would have to go pro if I wanted to be able to scan in my documents.

    If I was to use their software, I would still have to scan in via Acrobat Pro plus one of their other products, if I wanted to scan all in one, I would need DEVONthink Pro Office which is quite expensive.
     
  15. BayouTiger macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2008
    Location:
    New Orleans
    #15
    If you scan a lot of documents, I can not stress enough how great the Fujitsu ScanSnap 5100 works with DevonThink Pro Office. Best document scanner ever!
     
  16. rhett7660 macrumors G4

    rhett7660

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
    Location:
    Sunny, Southern California
    #16
    I scan pretty much everything that doesn't come electronically (with the exception of a few legal documents). I hate paper. This would be an investment to say the least if I was to pick up both but I am wondering if it would pay off in cutting down the amount of time it takes me to scan in everything.
     
  17. coachingguy macrumors 6502a

    coachingguy

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2003
    Location:
    The Great White, Albeit Frozen North
    #17
    Evernote tie in...

    I had Omnifocus and got Devonthink pro in a bundle last spring after reading about it for years.

    I agree with what others have written about Omnifocus and Devonthink having two different applications...

    I have found the learning curve quite steep on Devonthink pro and know that I'm only using it in a basic level.

    I find myself still using Evernote as my go to for 1 main reason and a side reason. The main reason is that Evernote is with me everywhere and Devonthink is not on my phone or iPad. I know I can BUY Devonthink To Go for $14.99 but like that Evernote is free and seamless right now.

    The side reason, now, is that Evernote has added reminders which helps cover some of the Omnifocus areas...

    Coachingguy
     
  18. flynz4 macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2009
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #18
    The combination of a ScanSnap + DTPO brings it to as close to zero time as humanly or technologically possible.

    With me feeding the ScanSnap... and my wife feeding the high capacity shredder... I can out run her by a fair margin.

    I love using the "magic hat" to just see how good DTPO is at knowing where to file things.... so it takes me a couple of second to file each item. DTPO is so good that you can forego all filing and just search if you so choose.

    /Jim
     
  19. Sital macrumors 68000

    Sital

    Joined:
    May 31, 2012
    Location:
    New England
    #19
    The ScanSnap iX500 is even better and scans wirelessly. :)
     
  20. Mike Boreham, Sep 26, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2013

    Mike Boreham macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2006
    Location:
    UK
    #20
    I have DEVONthink Pro Office and ScanSnap iX500 and agree with nearly all that has been said about both.

    However, what has not been pointed out is DEVONthink's achilles heel and the reason why I have finally given up on it.....SYNCING between devices, other Macs , iPads and iPhones. iOS 7 has killed syncing Numbers docs, which was the final straw for me.

    Sync'ing can be done, but compared to best practice it is clunky, limiting and has problems. Spend a few minutes in the DEVONthink and DEVONthink to GO (iOS app) forums to see what I mean.

    I am finding that the iX500 with its ScanSnap Manager and built in ABBYFinereader OCR, combined with full and proper use of Spotlight, and syncing with Dropbox is working better overall for me.

    Not having to first save something to the Database, then file it within the database is speeding things up for me. A DEVONthink superuser would have some answers to this as there are features which help.

    DEVONthink does actually store your docs in its database in their original file format, but Evernote converts them to a proprietary format I believe.

    EDIT: The other drawback to putting your docs in a DEVONthink database is Time Machine. TM does back up the databases and does so incrementally (so TM doesn't re-backup the whole database because you changed a comma), but you can't search TM for a particular file you are trying to recover...you can only restore the whole database.
     
  21. BayouTiger macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2008
    Location:
    New Orleans
    #21
    to me, the OCR and spotlight option is certainly viable IF your collection is you are very disciplined. For me the beauty of having everything in DTPO is that I can dump everything in the inbox and still search and find what I need, but organize it later. I do not use it as a research tool as many do, for me it's where I keep all my filing. Bank statements, tax records, owners manuals, receipts, basically every piece of paper in my life.

    I do not use them as live documents so the ability to restore a single document from TM is not important. My live, working files are all in dropbox so I can access them wherever. For the same reason sync is not important to mobile devices.

    I have most of the other products as well and use them for other project oriented uses, though I find the combination of Filemaker and Go to handle most of my project needs really well. You would think Bento would be good, but it was so limiting across multiple computers and devices.
     
  22. kytiger macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2011
    #22
    Recently gave up on DevonThink

    DevonThink is great on one Mac. But iOS app is very bad and the sync kept losing files. I gave up on it. I'm using a Fujitsu scanner and using OCR. Then just using the Mac file system and Dropbox. Still paperless but it's far more reliable.

    Anyone using DevonThink and the sync function beware. It'll show the file is there but no data is actually there.
     
  23. flynz4 macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2009
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #23
    I could not say it better. I use DTPO the same way as you. I do not want to sync my DTPO to my MBA or to my iOS devices. The sensitivity of that data is too extreme to want in my mobile devices.

    Like you, I use dropbox to sync everything I possibly want while mobile. That includes stuff like owners manuals to my equipment, trip itineraries and associated reservation confirmations, etc. It DOES NOT include things like my tax returns, property deeds, medical lab reports, etc. I do not want that equipment in the hands of strangers if my mobile devices were lost or stollen.

    /Jim

    ----------

    I assume you are narrowly describing the sync to mobile devices. As stated previously, I do not use the mobile features... I too like dropbox but for very limited items.

    However... DTPO has an absolutely fantastic syncing options between full Macs running DTPO. There are several mechanisms to do so... both locally and globally... but I only use the local LAN option... and it is fantastic.

    I have DTPO installed on both of our (my wife and myself) iMacs... and out DTPO database stays exactly in sync. Each of us has the database resident on our own machines... but if either of us make changes, it is replicated across both of our machines. She uses it much less than I do... but it is great for us both to have full synchronized access to the data. I have it set up to sync every hour... and it typically takes a second or two to sync.

    I wish that Apple database products (iTunes, iPhoto, Aperture, etc) worked like DTPO... and from the MANY posts here on MR of people trying to share such data (along with the numerous database corruption when they try)... I think that bringing these Apple products up to the level of DTPO would be one of the greatest services that Apple could provide.

    /Jim
     
  24. kytiger macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2011
    #24
    To clarify

    I should have been more clear in my post as I was making two separate points. First, the iOS app is not very useful. It's just not real good for someone wanting to have access to data away from home.

    The biggest issue for me though was the sync of DevonThink across multiple Macs using Dropbox. Supposedly, it's officially supported but I couldn't get it to ever be reliable. The worst thing was you never found out something was wrong until you stumbled across a document that was there with no data in it. It wouldn't give you an error or any notification during the sync process.

    The sync across multiple Macs using the LAN sync worked very well.

    Unfortunately, the sync using Dropbox is critical for me. So that not performing well was a deal breaker.
     
  25. flynz4 macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2009
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #25
    Thanks,

    I've never tried DTPO sync via dropbox. Sync via LAN has been rock solid.

    /Jim
     

Share This Page