Synchronize Devonthink and Scrivener

There is a small window of opportunity to make the two applications work together.The opportunity comes from the Sync feature of Scrivener.

Even if this feature oppens the oportunity, the fact that it has limited capability to sync files complicates the relationship bewteen the two applications.

The weakness of the Sync feature is; it doesn’t support multiple folders. This means that, your heirarchical organizations based of authors or topic you use inside Scrivener Binder ( Research or Draft folder) will not be available in the Sync folder. The sync folder will have only 2 folders; one for the Draft and another called Note for the rest of the files ( all the files inside the Research binder). All the items, in whatever heirarchy you put them insider the Research Binder will be put into a single flat folder. This makes things hard to identify which note belongs to which group (folder) of the Binder. In the current system of Sync, the feature is almost useless, specially if you have built complex system inside the Research Binder. Assume that you have collected your materials and grouped them under an author name inside Research Binder. Say, you have collected 50 notes, 5 PDFs and 10 webclipings under authorX. You also have 5 notes, 2 pdf and 5 clipings in AuthorY. Each of the authors have their own binder (folder) insider the Reacher binder. When you syn, all the notes, cliping and pds will mix insider a single folder called Note, insider finder. You can not distinguis which note belongs to which author then.
In ability to maintain the folder (binder) heirarchies is the main issue of the syn in Scrivener. This again makes it hard to index these notes into Devonthik because you don’t know which note belongs to which author (folder, group). So, to tackle this problem I have developed the followed the following steps. It looks complex, but, there is not better way, as far as I know.

1. Start a new project in Scriverner ( I am assuming you start from scrach, to make things simpler. If you already have a lot of folders, you have to figure out a way of dealing with it by yourself.)

2. Don’t import anything into Scrivern. First, put your files into different folders insider Finder.
Put all the author’s files inside a folder by the names of the authors.
3. Now, drag AuthorX only into the Scriverner’s Research binder
4. Now, Sync the library of Scrivener ( got to File > Sync). When you sync, Scrivern will ask you to choose a folder. Creat a new folder, probably inside Dropbox. I call the new folder ScrivenerX.
5. Now, go to the ScrivenerX and have a look at the files. Scrivener has created two folders during the sync; Draft and Note folders. Draft contains all the items in the Draft binder while Note contains all the items inside the Research binder. Now, you must be able to see all the notes of AuthorX inside the Note folder.
At this point, you can tag them all by the name of the AuthorX. This makes them searchable even in Spotlight for other times. (I have Tagger in the toolbar of my finder. i use it to tag all the files at the same time)

6. Index all the files insider the Note folder into Devonthink (hold Alt+CMD and drag them into a group called AuthorX inside Devonthink). This step is very necessary. If you import and Sync AuthorY before you indexing the files of AutorX, you will not again able to identify the files inside Devonthink.

Now, you are finished syn and tagging Author X. Repeat the steps for other authors: (drag the folder Y into Scrivern > sync Scriverner >tag the newly imported files inside Note folder >Drag them to Devonthink)

Here you go, , your Scrivener and Devonthink are in Sync finally. Anything you edited in Devonthink will be appear in Scrivener; and things you edit in Scriverner will appear in Devonthink, as far as you don’t forget to Sync inside Scrivener.


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