Seamless integration of Papers and DEVONthink

Two of my favorite programs on the Mac are Papers and DEVONthink Pro Office. Papers provides a terrific interface for storing and organizing journal articles, and DEVONthink Pro Office offers powerful indexing and searching of PDF files.

Recently I was thrilled to find an easy way to use the two programs together. If Papers is configured to store your PDF files in its library (the default), DEVONthink can index these without duplicating them in its database. To configure:

  • Launch DEVONthink
  • Open an existing DEVONthink database or create a new one
  • Choose “Index…” from the “File” menu
  • Locate and select the folder where your Papers library is stored (by default the folder is called “Papers” and it’s stored in the “Documents” folder in your home directory)

If you have a large number of papers, it may take a while for DEVONthink to index them. Once indexing is complete, you’ll see a folder structure that mimics the structure of your Papers library. You can now search your PDF files in DEVONthink!

To update your DEVONthink index (e.g., after adding articles to your Papers library), click on the “Papers” folder in your DEVONthink database and choose “Synchronize” from the “File” menu.