DEVONthink Pro Office for Historians: The Super User Guide

There is a new version of this course!

There is a new version of this course for DEVONthink 3! 

In 2019, DEVONtechnologies released DEVONthink 3, an update to its DEVONthink software. In response, DEVONthink for Historians created a new version of the Super User Guide (and Starting Up Guide) and closed this version of the course. Please click this link to view the active version.

What is a Super User?

A Super User is someone who takes advantage of a platform's advanced functions. This guide will teach you how to use DEVONthink Pro Office's most powerful tools and features to save you time and effort.

What are the powerful tools and features will I learn to use from the DEVONthink for Historians Super User Guide?

We will teach you how to use Smart Groups to pull all of your documents together using specific search terms. We will also teach you how to use two new tools that we created specifically for historians: a custom-designed SuperAnnotation template and an export script that sends citation information to Bookends, a reference and bibliography management software.

What are these custom tools? How will they save me time and effort?

This guide was created with historians' specific workflows in mind. One of historians' most time-consuming tasks is citing archival documents: not only do you have to keep the citation information in your database with your document so that you remember where it came from, but you also have to put it into a reference manager so that you can easily cite when you start writing. So many steps! Thankfully, Ada was able to masterfully and elegantly code us a solution. Historians, rejoice!

We designed the Archival SuperAnnotation template to include special fields where you can type each document's name, author, date, collection, archive, box number, and folder. Then, by using our custom export script, you can send this data into Bookends with one simple step! No need to re-copy what you've already written, or to cut and paste data into each individual field. That's annoying. And too often we put off annoying tasks until an hour before an important deadline, when it becomes both annoying and stressful. Our tools save time, effort, and anguish!

Finally, we'll show you how simple it is to cite your documents using Bookends once you start writing. 

That sounds rad. 

It is. And what's even more rad is that our SuperUsers told us they wanted to use the same process for their secondary sources, so we added SuperAnnotation templates and scripts for books, book chapters, and journal articles! The templates include fields for the most common Chicago-style citation information for each medium. 

Is there more?

Yes. In this guide we will show you, step by step, how to redesign your workflow from the archive through to the writing phase. In the last video of the Super User Guide you will learn how to make the most of an archival visit (whether it's a quick "smash and grab" trip or the "low and slow" pace of a fellowship). Our tips will help you quickly and easily get your notes and your documents into your database, and keep up with the basic maintenance that a database requires. 

Table of Contents

Downloads + Installation
How to Download and Set Up Bookends
How to Download and Set Up Scripts and Templates
Annotation + Citation
Using SuperAnnotations
How to Export to Bookends
Super Searching
How to Create Smart Groups
Miscellaneous Powerful Tools
Super User Workflows
Two Approaches to the Archive: Low + Slow and Smash + Grab
You are a Super User!

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I purchase DEVONthink?

If you have not yet bought DEVONthink, you can use this link ( to purchase it. If you use this link, we may earn a small commission on your purchase at no additional cost to you. Remember, if you are a student or work in higher education or for a non-profit organization, you may be eligible for a discount from DEVONtechnologies (

I see that DEVONtechnologies is beta-testing DEVONthink 3. If I use it, will I still be able to learn from DEVONthink for Historians?

We recorded the guides using DEVONthink Pro Office 2.0. There are some slight differences in the user interfaces between the two versions. We will update the guides when the product launches later this year.

I work in a language other than English. Does DEVONthink support OCR for multiple languages?

DEVONthink licenses ABBYY FineReader to OCR documents within its software. Many languages are supported, but a few are not. For example, Hebrew and Arabic OCR is not part of the language pack DEVONthink has licensed, because adding them would have to be passed on to the customer at a considerable cost. If you want to be 100% sure that your language(s) are supported, please feel free to email us so we can confirm for you.

How long will it take me to work through the Super User Guide?

The videos total up to 100 minutes in length, but you should budget about 2 hours from start to finish--it will take a few minutes to download and set up the scripts and templates and to get Bookends organized.

How long do I have access to the guides?

Forever! Once you've enrolled and paid, you'll have access to the material for as long as you need. So devour it all in one weekend or take things slow. It's your choice!

What is your refund policy?

All sales are final, no exceptions. Please make sure you read the entire course website, including the lessons list, before you purchase. If you have any questions, we are happy to answer them! Our contact information is below.

What if I'm unhappy with my purchase?

We want to know! You have the opportunity to leave feedback at the end of the guide. And you are always welcome to email us. Our contact information is below.

We are open to feedback and will strongly consider your suggestions. We are constantly making updates based on our users input.

I'm a broke grad student. Do you offer a student discount?

Yes, we have a 25% discount for grad students. Please email from your academic email address or with a link to your departmental bio and we will send you the code.

I still have a question. How can I contact you?

We'd be happy to answer any questions you might have. Send us an email at