How I Use DevonThink Pro Office

Taking note of my previous Time Sink usage, DevonThink Office Pro has days worth of usage associated with it. It’s my central hub for information and getting work done. It’s advertised as a note taking tool, but that is like saying a Lamborghini is a neat car. DevonThink Office Pro is a document management tool that I use as a repository for notes, PDF files, Jira tickets, test plans, web page archives, and RSS feeds, just to name a few.

It should be noted I am using the DevonThink v2, while v3 is the current version. Once I get on board with the new Apple Silicon, I will make an upgrade. However, version 2 is still amazing and I’ve yet to hit a barrier to it’s functionality.

DevonThink Office Pro can have as much or as little organization as you like. I currently have 6 databases. One is for RSS feeds and Internet information. Another is for my QA work with folders for each project. One is for development, with another for general notes and information.

For my QA database, I have a folder for each site I work on. Within there are all the important notes for how that site works, PDF files, requirements documents, spreadsheets of calculations and products, links to important pages, emails, test plans, screenshots and most importantly Jira tickets I’m working on.

Anything and everything related to a project is stored together. Whenever I start a new Jira ticket, I create a new TaskPaper document inside DevonThink Office Pro, then list out all the steps I need to work on. I also have a running tally of all the tickets I need for the sprint or deadline that’s coming up. I don’t have to go Jira, or emails, or my Documents folder. Everything is available in DevonThink.

My development database includes Katalon code, Groovy examples, SQL queries, AppleScript and Shell examples. Any code or discussion I find that’s useful and worth keeping either gets stored as the code fragment, or the entire page gets archived so I will always have a copy.

For example, I have a Katalon folder. Within there are folders with examples for working with Data Files, setting up API testing, connection strings for databases, Custom Keyword examples and links to useful documents on the Katalon site. There is a similar layout for Groovy, Shell scripting, Keyboard Maestro and Alfred. This can be as a granular or consolidated as I like since everything can be moved. With the search feature, I can always fine what I’m looking for.

The Internet database contains all my RSS feeds. DevonThink Office Pro is an amazing RSS reader since it has extremely powerful filtering features available. I subscribe to several RSS and read them all within DevonThink. As you might have guessed there are several Mac related sites in there. I keep track of new posts for Katalon, DevonThink, Scrivener, Popclip, QA Resources, and automation related sites.

Since that is a lot of information coming through, I use the Smart Group features to grab articles interest. For example, I’m amused by “Today in Apple History,” so those articles are filtered into their own folder so I can jump right to them. There are similar filters for “Apple Silicon” and “Mac Pro” just to name a couple. This saves massive amounts of time. I can find those articles right off the bat, then scan through the entire feed as time permits. The filtering is extensive so you can literally only read articles that truly interest you.

There is also a general database where I keep important notes about work. This would include review items, future goals, training I’ve completed, topics for 1:1 meetings, notes from team meetings, company holidays, and relevant company websites.

For my home machine, I have a database for my blog articles and research. It lists the subjects I’m interested in, screenshots, list of topics to cover as a TaskPaper document, links to sites and products, and any examples that might be relevant.

I’ve also created a dozen templates for new documents that can be created right from DevonThink. I’ve set up templates for LibreOffice, TaskPaper, Mellel, Jira tickets, blog article outlines, and Markdown documents. By using it this way, I can create the correct document type in DevonThink with the information I need, then launch the parent application. From the start, verything is grouped together, so I don’t need to make a file then import it.

Finally, at the end of the week, all the databases are copied to Dropbox using SyncFolder Pro. That same day, they are imported into my home machine so I have a backup if needed and all my notes are available in case I have to switch machines. This was more important 9 months ago, but I keep the processing running.

Apps like DevonThink Office Pro are a reason to buy a Mac. It is so incredibly powerful and feature rich it has become a critical part of my workflow. I use DevonThink every day, dozens of times per day. It is my central hub of information. It contains all the information about my daily tasks and is a vital part in how I get my work done.

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