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Understanding DEVONthink Editions

July 13, 2021 — Jim Neumann

In our user community and in customer support, we receive reports about certain functions of DEVONthink, e.g., OCR, not working. However, after asking for a bit more detail, it often turns out the person has purchased the wrong edition. Here’s how to check your edition and a few of the specific functions in them.

If you’ve purchased or upgraded, select DEVONthink 3 > About DEVONthink 3 and check the Registered to line to see what edition you’re running. If you’re running the trial edition, you will have all the features of the Server edition available to test.

DEVONthink menu with starred items.

Starting with the Pro edition, here are some of the options we more commonly field questions about:

  • Email Archiving and Apple Mail plugin: This edition has a separate sidebar, the Import sidebar, accessible via the View menu or clicking the third icon over the sidebar section of a main window. You can also let DEVONthink install a plugin for Apple Mail that facilitates importing messages or whole mailboxes from within Mail.
  • Scanning: Also accessible in the Import sidebar, scan directly inside DEVONthink, provided you’re using a scanner compatible with Apple’s Image Capture application. Scan into specific locations or first into multipage documents (binders), then save into the database. You can even import from a connected camera or iOS device’s Photos library.
  • OCR (optical character recognition): For converting images or PDFs to some searchable content, most commonly PDF files.
  • Concordance: The Concordance inspector provides a view of the unique words in a document including information about them, e.g., the number of occurrences. See the concordance for a selected document, a group of documents, or even larger selections.
  • Custom Metadata: This allows you to define your own fields, e.g., adding a “Bassist” attribute to the metadata of a video or the latin name of animals you’re studying.
  • Imprinter: For creating and applying custom watermarks to images and PDFs. These may be things like a “PAID” stamp or a Bates number for litigators.

The Server edition has all the features of the Pro edition as well as …

  • Web Sharing: This is a built-in web server allowing you to broadcast a database, with per-database / per-user permissions, on a network. Others you’ve given access can browse, search, and potentially modify the database in a web browser, even if they’re not running macOS.

Lastly, the Standard edition is still a full-featured edition, sporting the same core functions as as well as many more powerful ones, like AppleScript support. However, none of the features listed above are available in this edition. Commands and options of higher editions will be shown with a blue star in the menu and selecting them will open the License pane. Click Your Account to log into your customer account to check license details and upgrade options to a higher edition. You can also disable seeing these unavailable commands in Preferences > General > Appearance > Show features of higher editions.

There is also a comparison matrix showing the differences of the Pro and Server editions compared to the Standard edition. It does not list all features of DEVONthink — the list would be way too long to be useful — but only what the Pro and Server editions add to the standard set of features.